The Missouri Conservationist magazine recently carried an article that was essentially a guide to wildlife along the Katy Trail, the nation's longest rails-to-trails project stretching nearly 240 miles across Missouri. Writer Teresa Nelson described it as follows:
Our bikes let us coast through nature without disturbing or scaring off wildlife. We left all electronics at home, except for a cell phone, so silence and peacefulness enveloped us. We'd ride miles and not see anyone. We felt like we were in a different world where time slowed down. It was a great escape from modern life.
The birdwatching was excellent. Hawks, eagles and vultures circled overhead, woodpeckers drilled for insects, ducks and geese swam in ponds, blue herons and egrets fished in vast wetlands, and lots of bluebirds, goldfinches, cardinals and songbirds darted through the green canopy around us. Rabbits raced through the underbrush, woodchucks stood to watch us pass, and deer and turkey foraged in the fields. We saw more turtles dozing on logs, frogs, grasshoppers and salamanders than we could count. One day we saw a large black snake contentedly sunning itself on the rocks near the trail.
If you're a wildlife lover, or have thought about riding the Katy Trail, check out Nelson's article. Her piece describes a bike trip she and her daughter took to celebrate a high school graduation and details the wildlife they encountered along the way as the trail passed through wetlands, riverbottoms, hardwood forests, prairie and farmland.
- Katy Trail ride journal - five days across the state of Missouri
- Bike tour packing list
- Katy Trail State Park website
- Is a bike tour right for you?
- Survive and thrive on a long-distance ride
Photo credit: David Stonner/Missouri Department of Conservation.