Exercise a Fun Adventure? - My Family Travels

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     Exercise. This word is not often seen in the same sentence as “fun for the entire family” or “an enjoyable scenic trail”; unless, however, you are talking about the Katy Trail. Located along the Missouri River in Missouri, the two hundred and twenty-five mile long Katy Trail is a white limestone trail that takes you through many historical and rural Missouri sites. Some of these sites are of quaint, little towns nestled beside massive bluffs or perhaps a city with sites such as “Lewis and Clark stayed here” or “in 1993 the Great Flood came up to here”. All of these can be found along the Katy Trail.

     To fully experience this free to use historical trail you will need to plan. The trail starts at St. Charles and ends at Clinton; however, you can get on the trail at any of the forty-three trailheads. The trail can be used by walkers/joggers/runners, cyclists, or in some areas horse riders, and it is open from sunrise to sunset everyday. The best time to use the trail would be between the months of April and October. In addition, you will need to keep track of how many miles you will be going. This can be helpful if you plan to return to your vehicle. However, if you do not plan to return to your vehicle you will need to have prearranged another method of transportation, such as by Amtrak or a shuttling service.

     Another helpful planning aspect is by researching some of the towns you will be passing through. Many of them have rich historical backgrounds that will be worth a visit; additionally, they will often have services to cater to your needs. However, it is important to check (before the trip) if they have the services you need (hotel/bed-and-breakfast, Restaurant, Bike Rental, etc.). Furthermore, they often have local events, such as, craft shows/pumpkin fests or heritage days, which you are welcome to attend.

     Now that you have planned, you will need to gather some of the gear needed for the trip. Your gear should include a good pair of walking shoes for all activities, walking/jogging/running, biking, or horse riding. Additionally, if you are planning to bike the trail you will need a good bike, an air compressor (that works), and possibly a spare tire(s) (depending upon how far you plan to go).

     Finally, the most important part of your gear¾ your camera. This will be a handy way to record your trip or family fun times. You will see many sites along the way, whether it be “wild” animals or the many historical sites on the trail. There are also natural and manmade wonders, such as, an old railroad tunnel through a bluff, a natural arch, old Indian paintings, a natural salt spring, a gigantic rock, pieces of the old railroad, or just old Katy Depots, to name a few.

     While the Katy Trail is very enjoyable, nevertheless, I have learned several important lessons. One of these is to plan. This can be from planning to remember drinks on a hot summer day, planning to pack the umbrella on a rainy day, or planning to pack an air compressor that actually works. While planning is an important skill to have, I have been changed by realizing that family time does not have to be drudgery time. It can be fun and interesting. So whose to say that exercise and family fun can’t appear in the same sentence? Why don’t you go out and enjoy the Katy Trail? Have fun!

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