Warning this post is really long but gets pretty good by the end I think.
It’s certainly not as scary as this picture.
Just before noon Heath called to let me know she was in the parking lot at my office. She was packed and hungry but had no idea where we were going from there. There was nothing special planned for lunch and we were in a hurry so we picked up some Taco Bell and hit the road. Just outside of Kansas City Heath took a look around and admitted she thought we would be heading toward St. Joe but it was not this way. She didn’t really have any other ideas of where we were going and I was not ready to tell her. We headed west and saw many signs saying how far it was to Columbia and she asked if we were going there. I told her no and that we were not going that far. As we got closer and closer we saw parts of the Katy trail and she talked about hiking or biking it sometime and then asked if that is what we were doing. I admitted that was the plan for Saturday. We drove over a big bridge over the Missouri river and she asked if we were close and I immediately exited. Right off the exit is the Winery and she knew. We were a little early so drove past it and into town to look around. The town is small so we saw most of it after just a few minutes. We drove past our bed and breakfast a few times and Heath commented on what a big house it was but I didn’t tell her.
Then we showed up for our tour and found out there were no tours on Friday. But I got an e-mail confirmation and everything I said. I found out I was signed up for a tasting but not a tour. I was a little discouraged at first but it turned out great. Marilyn gave us a taste of every wine they make. I would guess over 20. We talked about each one and how it is made and what tastes come from what and how they do everything. It was really interesting and she had answers for all our questions. It may have been because the samples were small or it may have been because we heard about all the work that goes into each bottle but everything I tasted was pretty good. Or maybe everything they make is pretty good. After all our tastes we decided to get a few bottles and it was hard to choose and we both liked so many.
We made our selection and then headed back into town. We had a little more time to kill before we could check in so went and explored around the trail some more. By this point Heath knew about everything but where we were staying.
Our check-in was at 4 and just before then started driving. I drove past the bed and breakfast again and Heath again mentioned what a nice place it was. Then I did a U turn and pulled into the parking lot. “Are we staying here in a bed and breakfast?” she said
Neither of us had ever stayed in one or really knew what to expect so we left everything in the car and went to the front door and knocked. Mary came to the door and gave us a little tour of the house and all the info we would need. It was pretty simple, we got checked in, paid and were given a key.
It locked and unlocked the front door and our room. There was an area to hang out in downstairs and upstairs both with mini fridges full of free drinks. There were also lots of movies and books we could borrow. But all we really cared about was the room.
It had a fireplace and a nice soft bed and most importantly a huge triangle tub.
Mary then headed downstairs and we didn’t see her again till breakfast the next day. We had almost 2 hours before dinner so broke out some beers and filled up the tub.
The tub was pretty awesome and we stayed in as long as possible. We barely made it to dinner on time.
I put in too many bubbles so we had to shower and then we decided to dress up fancy for dinner at a nice restaurant overlooking the bluffs on the river.
We split a bottle of wine with dinner and planned to get an appetizer but nothing sounded very good. Heath got scallops and I got a cornflake battered chicken breast. They were both awesome and went really well with the bread and wine we had. It was a filling meal but we were able to eat everything. Once all the food and wine was gone we headed back to the room and of course filled back up the tub. The room had a TV and DVD player but we just turned on the music station when we got there and never touched it again. We played cards and hung out in the tub most of the night.
The morning was a lot brighter then I like and we got an earlier start then I had expected because of this and the noises of other guests taking showers. We messed around the room till 9 then headed downstairs to eat breakfast and meet the 2 other couples. We had OJ and coffee followed but waffles covered in strawberries and blueberries followed but baked egg dish with potatoes and bacon. It was all every tasty but I probably could of eaten more. Everyone else acted stuffed though.
After breakfast we got showered and packed and partially dressed for our hike and checked out.
We headed back to the trail and moved a few things to our backpacks and put on a bit more clothes then locked the car and left Rocheport heading into the sun.
It started out bright and fairly warm and stayed warm all day but we lost the sun after an hour or so.The trail is flat and a fine gravel and the section we hiked stays pretty close to the fast cold muddy river.
On the other side of the trail there was lots more interesting stuff. Instead of taking forever to describe every mile I’ll just list the coolest stuff.
It was almost entirely huge rock walls along the whole way and some were really cool and super high.
The rocks had a lot of icicles and the ones along the sides were pretty cool.
However some were super high and on rocks way above us and it was warm out. So we had to be on the lookout because lots of scary ice daggers were falling.
I guess there were lots but we only saw a little bit and they were always way high up on the rocks. See all the red stuff above. Well it looks like this stuff from the sign.
With all this big exposed rock we saw tons of caves way up high but there were several pretty big ones down low.
When taking a break or checking on blisters and things we stopped at caves several times.
Caves were more work to break at then the benches along the trial but they were always worth it.
I’ll have more about a cave later.
So Saturday we hiked from 11 am till about 3 and went 6.62 miles, so about 4 hours.(we hiked more later) Sunday we hiked from 8:30am till 10am and went about 5 miles, so about an hour and a half. What took us so long Saturday?
We had a bottle of wine in this blatter that slowed us down some and we took tons of breaks.
And we did lots of horsing around.
But we made it to Huntsdale
and the location of our campsite.
However once there we decided not to stay. The ground was really wet and soggy or covered in snow. We explored the site and no one was camping but lots of people came by and were not real friendly or anything. We carried gear that would work for this but we wanted something better.
So we strapped the packs back on and went almost 2 miles back and found our home for the night.
In a small cave.
It was the perfect (though not exactly legal) setup.
In this video you can have a tour of the trail then the path to the cave and then a 360 look at our cave.
The cave was completely covered overhead to block rain and snow but was open enough to get us light. The path in zig zags and keeps all the wind out. It was early but we were tired and once we stopped for the night we got hungry. So we got out some food, dishes and cook stove.
Tuna was the main course and we had 2 bags with about 7 servings between them. We boiled some brown rice and then mixed in one bag and some sauce.
This was really good, warm and flavorful and we engulfed it.Then we had part of the next bag of tuna on some crackers mixed with ranch sauce.
This was not going to be enough so I made more rice.
And we mixed it with the tuna and ate it all. We also had some jerky, fruit snacks and a bagel. It seemed like it took forever to get dark and we were tired but wanted to wait a little while to go to bed. We set up our bed and gathered some wood and at dusk started a small fire in the mouth of the cave. We used it to dry our clothes and warm ourselves a bit.
Then at 7:30pm we got in bed. We were not real sleepy but ready to lay down and be warm and relax. We laid down a shinny emergency blanket then a small blue blanket, the zipped 2 sleeping bags up half way and put one inside the other.
Then we wrapped a 2nd blanket around the top. This gave us 2 bags and a blanket underneath us to give us some padding and block the cool rock, a ton of warmth around our feet and good cover above us.
I was a bit sweaty but Heath was perfectly warm. Though both of our hips were aching in the morning from carrying a pack all day and sleeping on a rock all night. Though our bed was pretty good we had a tough time getting to sleep. Besides being so early about 30 minutes after laying down we started hearing noises. The first noises were like a cricket but not exactly. It’s too cold for crickets I thought, maybe a bird was outside the cave? We ignored it at first then we heard more noises and they got louder and more squeaky. After each noise Heath turned on her light and examined the cave. After doing this a couple times We discovered a small bat next to a crack above us.
I was really surprised that bats would be around in the cold but they were. We discussed packing up and hiking back to the car and sleeping it but but decided it was unlikely the bats would bother us. They did not bother us but their squeaking was pretty annoying and seemed like they would be quiet for a long time then start back up and they made a lot of different squeaks. And we could sometimes see and hear them flying around. We are pretty sure there were only 2 bats but maybe 3. We did both fall asleep and stayed in the bags from 7:30pm till 7:40am. We would sleep a few hours then turn over and sleep some more over and over. We both were sure we heard a rain shower in the middle of the night but when we got up there was just a light dusting of snow.
We packed up all our gear and trash.
Heath brewed up a nice hot bowl of coffee and chocolate.
And then we hit the trail.
The forecast was a lot colder on Sunday but it was not bad when we got started. There were some small flurries falling but we felt good and it was nice. I shot a little video of the snow and hike.
Each mile the snow started to fall harder, the temp dropped and the wind got stronger. We were carrying some heavy packs and were motivated to get done though so we didn’t really stop. We never took off our packs but both our camel packs froze early on so we did break a few times to sip some water from a bottle that was starting to ice over as well. But before we knew it we saw the sign for Rocheport.
We tiredly hiked over to the only Katy Trail sign on the whole trip and got a picture.
Then over to the car to get rid our our packs. I had a decent ice beard going.
And Heath’s boots had done some damage to her ankle.
We drove to Boonvile and changed clothes and went to a Chinese buffet to unleash. It was just after 11am but we did some serious eating. We burned some serious calories this weekend but between all the wine and Chinese food we probably ended up about even.
We were crazy stiff when we left the restaurant and hobbled to the car. We drove home and showered and spent the night on the couch making Pumpkin laugh and giving her hugs.