Pomme de Terre State Park-Hiking Indian Point Trail

What to do on a beautiful April day???!!! Take a hike!!! So cliché, I know. After trying to coax my son Cole and my coworker Laura out for the morning, I gave up and shoved my German Shephard, Sammy into the car and took off for the 50-minute drive to Pomme de Terre State Park. Why 50 minutes for a 28 mile trip you may ask? Well I headed out in the wrong direction!!! I don’t know what I was thinking but I headed West instead of North. Just goes to show you that you can live somewhere for years and still get turned around especially when distracted by loading an excited animal into your vehicle and forgetting to check Maps.

One of the Indian Point Trailheads at Pomme de Terre

Much to my dismay, Sammy gets carsick. She’s about 10 years old and hasn’t done much traveling, only short trips to the vet. So, I’m driving along, and she is puking in the backseat. Now normally I would have not been pleased, and may have had a few choice words for her, but this was my bright idea to take her for company so it’s on me.

Pomme de Terre is located in Hickory County north and slightly west of Buffalo, Mo. It’s a two-finger lake, beautiful any time of year and generally crowded in the summer with campers, boaters, and lake people in general. The Indian Point Trail has several trailheads, a map may be accessed here: https://mostateparks.com/page/89776/pomme-de-terre-state-park-trails and is a 3 mile moderately rated hike. The trail was generally well blazed with blue markers except for the jaunt out to Indian Point. Blue blazes were nowhere to be found, but the trail is well used and being on a point, well we just went with it.

Sammy attempting to chase that mysterious noise while at Indian Point.

One of the best things about hiking in the middle of the week in the spring is the absolute absence of any other person on the trail. We encountered no one, not one single soul. It was glorious, quiet except for birds and the occasional boat motor of enthusiastic fishermen and women. I found the trail easy to navigate and not difficult at all with a few damp spots from recent rains. Generally, I wear tennis shoes when hiking and a good pair of boots would have been welcome with this terrain which was also rocky in areas. I did remember to take my snacks this time and plenty of water for me and the dog. She does not like to drink out of the bottle, but I managed to get some fluid into her mouth during our rest breaks. 3 miles was a good prep for the Mother’s Day hike I’m taking in Arkansas this year to Hemmed In Hollow. I was hoping to get there last year, but circumstances with my car prevented that trip.

Not a lot of cover this time of year, but beautiful regardless

One thing I love about the Missouri State Parks website is that you can click on an icon for whatever you’re interested in doing at a particular park like hiking, fishing, or boating and it will immediately take you to that particular page on the website. Pomme de Terre has two hiking trails listed for their park, but Indian Point was the longest. Stockton Lake is my favorite along with Bull Shoals in Arkansas, but Pomme de Terre in the spring is quiet, waiting to come to life and ready to welcome us all.

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Kayaking Springfield Lake

Springfield Lake Boathouse

Kayaking has become one of my favorite outdoor activities over the years and I always make plans to do more of it whenever possible.  Last summer I was able to get in a session of stand-up paddle boarding with ShowMe SUP (https://howtodotheozarks.com/2021/09/12/paddle-boarding-the-finley-river-ozark-mo/) and I was also able to kayak Springfield Lake with my youngest son, Cole.  Unfortunately, that was all I was able to get in last season, due to working full time and other obstacles like not having my own vehicle for 5 months or so.

So, this year I am making plans to get out in a kayak more often!!!  I am making a promise to myself to use my days off in the middle of the week to do some serious searching of awesome kayaking experiences and letting you know how they went!  For now I will share my last kayaking trip on Springfield Lake.

Small waterfall from runoff

The thing I love about kayaking on a lake is that you are bound in and the currents running under most lakes are less dangerous than on rivers.  I have been on some hairy, scary float trips (https://howtodotheozarks.com/2018/03/03/first-scary-float-trip/) that had my adrenaline burning through any alcohol I may have consumed, so now I don’t even bother having a drink while floating on the rivers anymore.  It’s just not worth it.  In my opinion lakes are also great learning experiences for new small craft boaters to learn how to maneuver their craft whether it’s a canoe, kayak or paddleboard.  Lakes are also a great opportunity to work on boating skills with a partner if you have a dual seat craft before having to rely on each other in a crisis elsewhere.

Cole and I met up at Lake Springfield Boat House located at 5324 S. Kissick Ave Springfield MO on a warm September day 2021.  https://parkboard.org/255/Lake-Springfield-Park-and-Boathouse?loxi_pathname=%2Flist%2Ffuture%2F1)   I made sure to bring plenty of water for this trip as well as snacks and sunscreen.  When you’re paddling and getting wet from splashing, deliberately or accidentally, you can easily forget the sun beating down on your exposed legs and feet.  Lake Springfield Boat House has reasonable prices for single and dual craft and provides everything you need to get out on the water safely including help shoving off.

Leaving the boathouse and heading north then east toward the Missouri Veterans Cemetery we passed bluffs, herons, and picturesque homes perched over the lake, some with their own dock access.  We squeezed into some inlets that were muddy and shallow to get a closer look at some flower or fauna that attracted our interest, both of us in single kayaks.  We passed fishermen angling from the banks and from their own kayaks along the way.  I think what I love most about kayaking is the quiet at certain points of traveling on the water and being able to stop along the way without worrying about a propeller or the depth of the water.

Heron are plentiful on Lake Springfield

Lake Springfield Boathouse opens April 15 and operates through October 15, weather permitting.  For about 2 hours for $25, kayaking is a great shoulder workout and an opportunity to spend time with people you love doing something different and sometimes challenging.  I will always jump at the chance to get out into nature with family or alone whenever possible (unless it’s really awful weather-wise).  Cole and I visited Galloway Grill after our lake trip, which gave us even more time to talk and support a local eatery.  I highly recommend them, especially for lunch.  So get down to Springfield Lake Boat House when the weather warms up and have some fun on Springfield Lake.

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Dinosaurs, Minecraft® and Giant Legos® at Discovery Center

Discovery Center 438 E. St. Louis Springfield MO

Looking for a fun and educational weekend hangout?  Look no further than Discovery Center in downtown Springfield MO (   https://www.discoverycenter.org/  ).  Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and for a reasonable fee, your kiddos can enjoy hours of hands on electrical, engineering, natural science stations and that’s just the beginning.

Minecraft play area

In February, I spent two hours with both grandkids building bridges, hanging out with dinosaurs, and exploring 3 floors of activities.  It wasn’t enough time.  I had to pull them away from the Minecraft® room to meet my granddaughter’s other grandparents to ensure she got home on time.  Minecraft® is an exhibit that has taken over the 5 year old and under room and involves building structures with sturdy blocks and other activities in an enclosed space.   This is a great place to take a break from the more open areas, especially with younger children who keep their parents hopping.

This new to me Dinosaur exhibit was pretty cool.

Discovery Center is relatively small for a children’s science museum in comparison to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry or other large city museums.  But for the price:  adults $12 and children $8 with discounts for seniors and veterans, I believe it’s worth it.  The staff is friendly, helpful and takes an active role in showing off the various experiments, helping children’s excitement about science grow.  Some exhibits require staff to be present, like the giant hamster wheel that generates electricity to power a Jacob ’s ladder electrical arc, and the Tesla experiment. 

One of their favorite areas!

My grandkids are hands on building types, so the water table, giant Legos®, and bridge building area were their favorites.  They were less interested in the space and chromosome exhibits, though we learned fun facts about planets and the Star Chamber was a hit as well.  Sage always has fun with the magnetic car racing and Olivia did not want to leave the water table. 

Older children may be more interested in the high wire bicycle, weather, mechanical and engineering stations throughout the building.  The high wire bicycle costs a little extra, takes some bravery and will be saved for another day for my grandkids.  There is also a mini golf course that was not open on the day I visited in February, but would definitely be worth a look in the future when the 2 kids have a little more patience.

Sage obviously has an electric personality!

I do recommend that you bring a snack or two as this place burns some energy.  Everyone should wear clothes that can get dirty as some experiments and exhibits required being on the floor to build, dig and get a little wet.  Parents, be prepared to get involved and have fun!

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