Windows are something people take for granted. When we find ourselves in a situation in which we spend over 8 hours a day without them, we understand their true value. I am convinced that a "windowless life" is no way to live. Yet, I do it every school year. Yes, for over two decades I have taught in classrooms that lack windows to the outside world.
One of the best cures for my condition is 14 miles from my driveway. Robertsville State Park has saved me from the blues associated with many a windowless day. Granted, this is a smaller state park at roughly 1,225 acres, but it packs a big punch.
Do you like to fish? This park, bordered by Calvey Creek and the Meramec River, is a spot to enjoy. The boat ramp to the Meramec stays busy year-round. There’s also a large pond (that some consider a lake) near the park office with parking spots and benches along the bank to fish from.
Is camping your hobby? The campground has 12 basic and 13 electric sites, bathroom and shower facilities, a wood lot, and typically one or two campground hosts on duty. In recent years, I have watched the park install more camping platforms that resemble high-quality decks and a beautiful new special use camping area. During November, I noticed that a new fire pit and seating area had been installed near the shower house.
Recent improvements to the park do not stop at the campground. For decades I have found their original trail, Spice Bush, to be an enjoyable little walk in the woods. The trail is just an .8 mile loop, but it’s a place I see beauty in during all four seasons. (Spoiler alert: if there’s a lot of rain, you may want to wear waterproof boots.)
However, in May of 2016 I noticed there was some serious activity in the wooded area near the campground. That is when I walked part of the unfinished Lost Hill Trail. Now that this new 2.6 miles loop trail is complete, I must find the time to cover it all. I am very excited this second trail has been constructed. It is located in an area of the park I have walked in the fall, winter, and spring looking for Geocaches and wild mushrooms. I’ve never found any morels, but I sure have found Geocaches! There are several located in the park. I have found most of them, but there is one that still escapes me. One day the find will be mine!
Like most parks, there is a playground and day use area, picnic tables, grills, and more. However, one unique aspect of the park is that there are two cemeteries on the property. The one I have seen most visitors pay their respects to is the Roberts family cemetery. The family cemetery of Edward James Roberts is located in the heart of the park. His family moved to the area in 1831 when he was just 14 years old. Robertsville (the town and state park) is named for him, which isn’t too much of a surprise because he was one of the largest landowners in the county for many years.
The park also hosts several events for campers and day visitors. My daughter and I have enjoyed several educational programs, including presentations by the World Bird Sanctuary out of St. Louis.
My windowless life as a teacher has led me on many weekend and evening visits to Robertsville State Park. I find beauty there in all the seasons and the memories I have made are countless. From my daughter’s first camping trip to long walks practicing my acceptance speech for a national teaching honor, the memories are many and the joys are in abundance.
As you make your 2017 plans, I hope you consider a visit to this little gem called Robertsville State Park. You’ll be glad you did!
Starting year 25 as a Journalism educator. Photographer. Mom. Nature-Junkie. Super Fan of Missouri State Parks and Conservation Lands. As a wise BJJTV alumni says, "Treat People Like People."