WILDWOOD, Mo.—June is officially National Trails Month. But a group of ambitions hikers and 105.7 FM The Point Radio Station fans decided to celebrate early and went on a group hike May 11 at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Rockwoods Reservation Conservation Area in Wildwood.
The hike was led by Point Radio on-air personality Jeff Burton, a member of the popular Rizzuto Morning Show heard each weekday on the St. Louis radio station. He invited Point fans on air and via social media to join him for the group hike event, which ended up being rain-soaked adventure.
“We had a ton of people sign up. And then the rains came, and we were very concerned about that,” Burton said.
But hikers and Point listeners are evidently a hardy sort because nearly 50 hikers managed to show up, despite the constant rains. The group included hikers of all ages, both kids and adults. There was even a canine hiker named Luna.
“We had about half the people show up who signed up, even with the rain,” Burton recalled. “It was fantastic, a great experience.”
After posing for a group photo, the hikers took the Trail Among the Trees, a two-mile stretch that traverses some of the area’s hilly terrain. On this day it offered a fog-shrouded overlook, a few mud-slick slopes, and a wet creek crossing or two. Nevertheless, the group wrapped themselves in rain coats and ponchos and took the damp shoes and socks, and a few muddy puddles, all in stride—literally.
MDC naturalists also attended the hike to offer educational insights and answer questions the group had about the flora and fauna they encountered along the way.
Burton is no stranger to Rockwoods Reservation. He treks the area’s trails regularly as one of his favorite hiking destinations. For him hiking is more than a recreation, however; it’s been pivotal to helping him turn the corner on a health crisis.
“I have a chronic condition called Crohn’s disease, and one of the thing you can get with that is high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” explained Burton. He said a couple of years ago his doctor did inform him he had high blood pressure.
“He prescribed pills, but they didn’t do anything for me. Then I started hiking, and now I no longer have high blood pressure,” Burton said.
“Now I always say don’t take a pill, take a hike.”
To enable people to get out and enjoy discovering nature through hiking, MDC offers the Mo Outdoors app, a free mobile application available for Android and iOS. The app uses smartphone GPS technology to suggest trails close to the user’s present location. It will also allow for searching out MDC hiking trails anywhere in the state.
The app includes driving navigation to the trails, and interactive maps that let hikers see their progress in real time along the trail. There’s even the capability to save favorite trails and download maps in advance for use in places where there might not be a strong cell phone signal.
“I’m not great with directions so if I didn’t have that thing I might still be in the woods somewhere,” Burton joked.
Mo Outdoors can guide users to great places to explore other outdoor adventures too, such as birdwatching, camping, fishing, hunting, and shooting ranges.
As National Trails Month, June is an ideal time to get started with the app. More information and links for download can be found at https://tinyurl.com/y4cew6ne. Naturally, Mo Outdoors works just as well the other 11 months of the year, too.
“Hiking is great for you physically and mentally and it doesn’t cost a whole bunch,” said Burton.
“Wear a decent pair of shoes, the right clothes for the weather, and get out and enjoy yourself!”
Rockwoods Reservation is located off Highway 109 in Wildwood, at 2751 Glencoe Road. The 1,880-acre site was one of the first conservation areas purchased by the Conservation Commission in 1938. It offers multiple trails suitable for hiking.