A Little Ozark Lovin’

March 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Airfare to St Louis is pretty cheep these days. And I gotta say, it is really nice to have grandparents around for a little break now and then. So, I invested $150 and flew a kicking and screaming toddler back to Missouri (thank God it’s a short flight) for a week with my family in a cabin at Montauk State Park.

Grandpa and G throwing rocks in the river

My parents have come down to this state park with their big group of friends every spring for probably more than 15 years now. They rent out a 4-plex of cabins, drink lots of Missouri wine, hang out, play games, laugh a lot, and, of course, go fishing. Because that’s what Montauk is all about – fly fishing for big, beautiful, rainbow trout.

Fishing the current river

I never got into fly fishing. Even though I’d travel each spring to these rivers, I always found the act of fishing stressful. In these clear waters, you can SEE the trout. You can see your fly land right in front of them. You can see them look up at your fly, look at you, stick out their tongue and swim away. I always found the judgmental and dismissive nature of trout difficult to handle. So, I let them be caught by those who are clearly better at it than me.

Jim's heavy stringer!

When I was a kid, I used to wander the woods, bored out of my brains and desperate for some kind of adventure. There was a hill I’d hike every day to get enough cell signal to call my boyfriend. Another one where I found a USGS marker on the summit. I found an old deer skeleton in a ravine with my friend Amy one year. I’d poke sticks down in the bubbling sand springs. Show my friend Matt how to catch crawdads (you have to pick them up with your fingers behind the pincers so they don’t get ya). Or poke through little limestone cliffs above the river looking for caves and bats.

Trees in bloom

While doing all of this, my mom was usually back in the cabin, cleaning, drying waders, cooking dinner and drinking wine. This year, I was invited to participate in the activities of the adult women. And, now that I am a mom myself, I spent a great weekend cooking paleo food, flee-market shopping with the ladies, making my first basket, and drinking lots of wine!

The Licking Exchange

My basket and glass of wine (for scale)

G had a great time as well. He threw rocks in the river, played on the playground, visited the trout hatchery, took about a million walks, and found out that yellow dandelion flowers give him hives. We’ve been home for two weeks now, and he still comes up to me every hour or so and says “Wan go WALK!”

It ended up being a beautiful weekend in Missouri. Much better than last spring when a tornado hit the airport right before we were supposed to head home. On the flight back to Denver, I gave G a little more Benadryl (for his hives!) and he was a much better traveler. I actually hope we get to do this again next year!