The weather is beautiful in St. Louis in May. Spring time is a great time to go camping before the intense heat of summer hits. My family and I took advantage of a beautiful early spring weekend in February and went camping at Dr. Edmund Babler State Park. The state park is in St. Louis County and has a campground! We had a spacey corner camping spot. Being February, the trees were still leafless. But it was a beautiful weekend with temperatures near 70, which is perfect to me. Although, some people gave me a funny look when I said we were tent camping in February. =) The campground is open year round. Some of the facilities are not available though. We were taking one last hike before we left when I finally read a sign saying that the only water was at the campground hosts’ site. I wish I had seen the sign earlier! We ran into town to buy water. Also, the bathroom in the main picnic area was open but everywhere else you had to use the vault toilette, otherwise known as an outhouse.
We set up camp at one of the tent camping spots. Most of the campgrounds have electricity and water at each site (in the summer months) except for a few tent sites that are cheaper. We brought our bikes. And the kids enjoyed riding up and down the tent sites. Babler is known for its difficult bike paths and many people come to train on the steep hill roads. We went on two bike rides with the kids. The bike path was closed so we had to ride on the road. Remember to drive slowly if you are in the park. I am hoping that they will reopen the bike path so the kids will be able to ride without worrying about cars. We all took at least one spill =S. But mine was the worst, I ran into the guard rail going faster than I should have been going. I was lazy and wanted speed so I could get as far up the next hill as possible! I seemed fine after but two days later I took a throw in jiu-jitsu and tore my knee in the spot I hit it. So be careful out there!
We also tried two of the hikes in the park. The kids and I hiked Hawthorn Trail, a 1.25 mile trail. The hike is a circle and comes back to the beginning point. It runs through two different forest areas. One side is covered in PawPaw trees. I want to go in spring sometime to see it all in bloom. When we were there the trees were bare still. But I did see a woodpecker. It had red on its head but I am not sure if it was a red headed wood pecker.
The next day the whole family hiked the Dogwood Trail. This was an enjoyable hike, although I remember there being some steep areas. Make sure to stop and see the CCC era buildings in the middle of the hike and the cemetery and spring. The equestrian trail crosses Dogwood Trail several times but we were able to stay on the trail by using a map and following the signs.
In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, I would love it if people would share some of the favorite foods that their mother’s would make while camping. My grandmother always sliced ham and cooked it on a grill over a fire along with several cans of green beans and potatoes wrapped in tin foil and placed in the fire. My mom made packets with steak, zucchini, onions, carrots, potatoes, and sometimes peppers. You cut them up, sprinkle them with oil and season salt and then wrap them in tin foil. You place the tin foil in the coals of the fire and cover them with coals. I think it usually took about 20 min, although we often ran out of patience before it was done. =)