My time in Lindau reminded me that there are plenty of adventures to be found close to home. Returning to St. Louis, I was inspired to find new experiences in the St. Louis area. After a quick internet search, I found the Wabash Frisco and Pacific steam train in Eureka,MO (20 miles southwest of St. Louis). I’d never been on a train ride through the woods, so I thought that it might be great fun. And I was right.

My fellow riders were families with young kids. It was fun watching the little ones get excited as the train pulled up to the “station.” One little girl sitting in front of me wasn’t that excited about the train ride, but she was a good sport. When our train stopped in the middle of the woods to let another train pass, she asked, “Mommy, are we going to have to walk all the way back?” Mom reassured her that the train would take us back.

The scenery wasn’t too special (typical Missouri cliffs, a view of the muddy Meramec River, and the usual trees). What I did find fun was the sound of the train in the woods. I’m used to the rustle of a squirrel bounding over leaves or the crunch of sticks underfoot as I’m hiking. The chugga-chugga of the engine and the whoo of the whistle was both foreign and familiar…and just plain fun. Here’s a photo of the volunteer operators reversing the engine after our trip.

We’ve had a string of 100+degree weather here lately, so I’ve been trapped inside near the AC. When the temps have dropped some, I’ve been exploring different hiking trails around the St. Louis area. When Chris and I leave Missouri next month, I’ll put my book of area hiking trails in the Moeller lab library for other grad students to use. I should include an appendix with information about the steam train too!

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