Or Doggy's Day Out.
Today was the perfect spring day. 75 degrees, sunshine, a light breeze, birdies singing in the trees, flowers and trees in bloom.
Sassy and I decided (well, actually, I decided and Sassy is always up for any adventure as long as she can ride shotgun and stick her head out of the car window) that today we were going to take a walk on the MKT or KATY Trail.
(Yes, I took this picture).
The KATY is a spurline of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railway, which was abandoned in 1978. I believe, and don't hold me to this, that Columbia was the first city in the state of Missouri to develop this trail into a hiking-biking-fitness trail. To date it spans the state from Sedalia in the west all the way to St. Charles in the east (200 miles). In Columbia, one can catch the trail in many locations throughout the city. The ten foot wide trail is enclosed in a canopy of trees and traverses water in many places.
(Yes, I took this one, too. And to reduce redundancy, let's get it over with and just say I took all of the pics in this post. And, SERIOUSLY, check out that sky!)
The thing about the KATY is that regardless of where you are on the trail, you get a sense of being engulfed in wilderness. However, it's more like a bubble of wilderness surrounded by metropolis. And if you think about it, how absolutely splendid is that?!!
I've picked up the KATY in downtown Columbia and been immediately transported from hot concrete jungle to cool, peaceful wilderness. I've seen snakes intertwined and sunning themselves on rocks beside the Flatbranch stream. There have been woodchucks warming their fat bellies. And huge, seriously HUGE, frogs singing in the cool mud. And I've dodged swallows guarding their nests in the underpasses of busy city streets.
Today, Sassy and I set out on a branch of the trail closest to our home, which is more rural. There were the usual suspects...Cardinals, Chickadees, Titmice, Goldfinch and Wrens...all singing as if their lives depended on it (maybe they do). Woodpeckers of all sorts pounding away at the trees for the tastiest buggy morsels. We heard, but couldn't find, a couple of Barred Owls having a deep and serious conversation, which echoed along the stream bed. There was one nuthatch-like bird I couldn't identify, singing a song I've never heard, and I decided I needed either Mr. Eagle Eye or Mr. Bird Identifier Extraordinaire (you both know who you are) to assist in that regard. What we did not see, which we really, really wanted to see, were Bluebirds, Indigo Buntings and Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks.
The entire trail was adorned with these guys taking advantage of the filtered sunshine through the not-quite-fully-leaved trees:
We stopped, or rather Sassy stopped, and sniffed, and spritz on various locations along the way. We chatted with a rather lovely elderly pup and her human. We sniffed the cool green air, and listened to the cacophony of birds and frogs and rushing water, and soaked up the sun, and reveled in the lushness of nature left to its own devices.
And then, we were tired, and hungry and thirsty. So we went here:
(Okay, no, I didn't take this picture).
Sassy had a plain cheeseburger and a cup of water (an ENTIRE cup of water)...I had a wonderful slushy strawberry-lemonade concoction.
Then we went home and visited with the most wonderful creature....
I'll tell you about him later.