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Another warm Saturday afternoon, so I drove off to a nearby park, Greensfelder County Park, for a hike and some bright fresh air.

There were a few people out today. I saw this rider shepherding two ponies down a trail as I got out of the car. A good day to be on a horse – and a good park to be riding on one too. Lots of steep ups and downs made for a demanding hike.

Especially with a heavy backpack full of lenses. I always take them with me but usually end up using hardly any of them. I guess I like having the option available. It certainly makes my hike more of an exercise than it might be.

The forest was almost completely bare. But a little blossom was out to add some color to the gray-brown hue of the forest.I walked on to a lookout area. Apart from a few pines, the forest was as naked as that I'd found at Pickle Springs Natural Area a couple of weeks ago.

A few rocks here, nothing as grand as those at Pickle Springs, but attractive nonetheless.

I scrambled down from the lookout to get a view of the rocks from below.

Mostly all bare, but as I got closer to the ground it was easier to see that spring was bubbling through.

Green shoots and opening buds on the bushes, rushing to get a little uninterrupted sunlight before the main tree canopy formed.

Those early buds may get a rude shock next week as it is supposed to dip below freezing again, but I suspect they'll come through it just fine. Any plant growing in Missouri has to roll with rapid weather changes.

As I was photographing from below, a woman walking her dog leaned over. She assumed I had just climbed up from the valley below. A truly strenuous exercise!

We exchanged a few pleasantries and then I climbed up the few meters that I had descended. That, with the backpack, was quite enough. She'd gone when I reached the top again, and I turned back to return to the car.

The sun was lower now, and the shadows were lengthening in a delightful criss-cross way. I reached the car and drove further up the scenic drive that takes you on a circuit of this park. Every once and while I had to stop and look at the view. This is a very attractive park to my mind, with the steep rises and falls and a lot of interesting trails.

The road descended into a valley and then up again to a pavillion. Here I stopped to look around – a great place for a large party I would say. Not that there were any parties today, for despite the warm weather, it is too early in the season. Ironically, most of the social events will occur on hot, sticky, bug-infested summer days. None of which are likely to be anything as nice as this particular afternoon.

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