Saturday the weather was perfect to be outside so we packed up a lunch and took our girls for an outing at Prairie State Park.  There are lots of state parks within easy driving distance from here, but this is one of the closest, and also one that is different than most others in Missouri.

Although I couldn’t get either of the girls to wear their blue t-shirts to the football game the night before, they insisted we all wear Carthage Tigers shirts on our hike. That morning I had put on an MSU shirt in honor of my bears first home that day, but the girls said that I needed to wear a Carthage shirt like them “because we are a family”.  Can’t argue with that I guess, so I caved.

Although most of prairie state park is as you might guess, prairie, there is a small forested spot with a nice picnic area.  Emma and I had a nice picnic here several years ago, so it was fun to revisit this spot.


After lunch the girls played near a small stream the runs beside the picnic area.


We hiked the Coyote Trail (did not see any coyotes), which forms a 3.25 mile loop. The girls had fun running along the trail and looking at abundant flowers.  The tall grass prairie was over their heads so they couldn’t enjoy the expansive views that an adult might see.


The trail winds up and around a few hills and crosses a couple streams. While it might sound boring to hike out in a wide open prairie, I find it very peaceful and relaxing. The wide open views and the sight of the tall grass waving in the wind. Until Steph spotted the bison on the trail just ahead of us. Although I have never heard of any dangerous encounters with Bison at this park, I didn’t want to take any risks so we cut a shortcut across the field to avoid crossing paths.



We routed the hike so that we reached the visitor center a little over 2 miles in, proving a nice rest stop.


After the visitor center we had about a mile back to the truck.  We passed through a wet low area that was an explosion of flowers, which attracted tons of butterflies, moths, and bees.  I thought this one was particularly interesting.


I knew we were getting close to the finish when the trail winded its way back into this little wooded area along the stream.  Really pretty spot!


The bridge crossed back into the picnic area where our adventure started! What a great family outing in such a beautiful setting.