Daylight Saving Time and spring have arrived. With longer days and warmer weather to look forward to and within my reach, I'm looking forward to spending more time outdoors. I am eager to get back to my warm weather hobbies which include nature photography, camping and fishing.
This year I have a new camera to take with me on my travels along with a bucket list of places that I'd like to go. Maybe I'll get to these places this year, maybe I'll get to them in a year or two. In any case, here are a few places on my list.
I enjoy going to Long Branch Lake and State Park every year. It is just west of my hometown. I've seen deer grazing and squirrels playing as I walk the trails in the tall native grass near the campgrounds along with butterflies. Plenty of room to fish, both along the shore and in a boat. Perhaps if I find myself traveling southeast from home, I'll spend some time at Mark Twain Lake. Or about 30 miles north of home is Thousand Hills State Park in Kirksville, Missouri. Learn more about Missouri state parks.
Once in a while, I find myself in Iowa. I would love to spend some time at Oakland Mills Park, in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, in one of their 400-square-foot recreational cabins. I don't know about anyone else, but there's something about log cabin living that appeals to me. Learn more here. Brushy Creek is also in Iowa, and the park includes equestrian trails along with equestrian camping and non equestrian camping. Check with their website first to see if those trails are open before you go.
I've added a few conservation areas to my bucket list. Fishing for catfish at the Atlanta Conservation Area and Bee Hollow Conservation Areas; and perhaps canoeing at the Hunniwell Access. Shelby County has the Fred Bollow Conservation Area that allows camping. One of these days, I'll pitch my tent there and if I'm lucky, I'll snag a few good photos of the fish that I catch. Learn more here.
So the next time you find your email is getting the best of you, you find your children spending way too much time playing video games, the dog barking wanting to go out, then grab the dog, children, fishing gear, binoculars, etc., and do just that. Go outdoors. Who knows, perhaps we'll see each other there!
A view of Thousand Hills State Park, near Kirksville, Missouri. Photo: iStockphoto.com/James Carroll