Mondays–V2E29–Castlewood State Park

Castlewood State Park located in the southwest corner of St. Louis County has been on my Mondays list for several months. Since we haven’t planned anything together for a while, the Great Hunter and I decided to take our Millie for her first walk and visit this park.

The house I grew up in was just three blocks from Missouri River and this historic area of St. Charles which was the first State Capitol of Missouri. Because the river was so close, I mistakenly thought everyone had a river in their city. I don’t know when I realized that wasn’t true, but I remember being surprised when I did. (Sort of like thinking everyone has a large airport twenty minutes from their homes).

We have a lot of rivers on this side of Missouri; the Mississippi (divides Missouri and Illinois), the Missouri (divides St. Charles and St. Louis Counties), the Cuivre (divides St. Charles and Lincoln Counties) and the Meramec which divides St. Louis and Jefferson Counties.

The Missouri and Mississippi Rivers are big rivers and this is what I am most accustomed to. The  Meramec which runs through Castlewood  State Park is much smaller. The Meramec is:

… one of the longest free-flowing waterways in Missouri … wandering 218 miles  from headwaters near Steelville to where it empties into the Mississippi River near St. Louis.

It was a beautiful, warm sunny day and the tree-shaded trail we walked along the river was either paved or hard-pack dirt, so it was a really easy walk.

But overshadowed by this serenity of this place was the unfortunate truth that the Meramec is an extremely dangerous river.

“It (Meramec River) looks calm on top but there’s snags, there’s undertows, washouts, and everything underneath that can be treacherous,” Division Chief Scott Barthelmass said.

Unfortunately, the Meramec River has been in the news several times recently. Within the span of a week, both a sixteen-year-old girl and a 34-year-old man drowned in the river.  In July 2006, five children, four of whom were siblings, drowned while on a church outing. Although there is signage all around warning against swimming in the river due to its strong undercurrents,  people were still swimming in the river.

I, for one, would not get in this river. Ever.

We only walked about a mile and a half, but our young, not so little Millie, was completely worn out. After a big drink of water, our poor baby went right to sleep as soon as we got her back in the car.

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