The Ozarks is a great place for winter fun. From hiking chilly trails, hunting back acres, kayaking quiet rivers, enjoying indoor sports like SkyZone, mini golf and antique shopping-there is plenty to do if you just look around. This time of year Chili Cook offs for charities abound and the circus acts are in Springfield and other cities.
Today, I wanted to get out to Pomme de Terre (pronounced “Pumeley Tar”-yeah I don’t get it either) and hike, but a nagging pain in my lower back and high wind conditions changed my mind. Instead I spent time with my youngest daughter, talking about college plans, driving back roads, and taking pictures of the Pomme de Terre State Park waiting for spring to bring it back to life. I kept an eye out for bald eagles, a bird that moves through this part of Missouri during January and February but found only Canada Geese, perched precariously on thin ice on the windy lake. Still, seeing the partially frozen water, trees completely bare of leaves, and the quiet that winter brings reminds me that we all need downtime, Sunday drive time, breathing room.
If bald eagles interest you, check out the Springfield Nature Center, Stockton Lake or Dora. Eagles tend to visit the same areas every year and these spots have watch areas leading to some excellent photography opportunities.
So get out there, take a drive in the wind, roll through those empty back roads and wave to a farmer bringing hay out to his cattle. Find some rural grocery store with a deli and stop in. Say hi to the locals, they don’t care that your a home state or out of town tourist, they’re just happy to take your money this time of year. Remind yourself that there is more out there than 9 to 5, kids schedules, and payments to the bank.