I spent the afternoon and early evening at the Busch Wilderness Center, exploring the 35 lakes contained within the area. For an out-of-water nymph like myself, just drifting between the lakes — small and large — was like coming home. What was especially delightful, wonderful, and surprising is that each lake has it’s own personality — no two were alike.
Most of the lakes weren’t much more than larger ponds, though Lake 33 was quite large, with it’s own overflow area, associated stream and wetland. Big enough for several boats, and the Wilderness Center rents boats for fishermen — fishing is quite popular, as you can imagine.
Some of the lakes were pure catch and release, while others you could keep what you caught up to a limit. No bass under 18 inches, I remember that one, but what the heck are ‘crappies’? Regardless of the rules, the fishermen I saw seemed to be happy just to be out, in the sun, line in the water, eyes half shut looking at the far shore.
But what the heck are crappies?
There were so few people that many of the lakes I visited had no one else around and I could sit by the water, watching the birds and the fish jumping at the dragon flies overhead. The weather was warm but not hot, and though there was some humidity I think I’ve adapted to it, because I’m finding that I enjoy it.
It’s a serene feeling, walking by the lake, warm humid air wrapping around you, sweat on your upper lip, and trickling down the small of your back — holding the cool breezes blowing in across the water.
I was surprised at the plant life at the Center, and I’ve seen enough Missouri Green to know what I should have expected. I expected the bushes and trees and grasses, but not the tiger lillys, yellow daisies, purple thistles, and pink primroses.
Still, the stars of this show were the lakes, bright saphires among the green.
The road leading to all of the lakes is yet more crushed limestone, with some pretty significant pot holes. If the view didn’t slow you down, or the road didn’t do the trick, the baby rabbits that positively crawled all over the place would. I got to the point that I almost ran off the road, peering into the bushes on either side to see if a bunny was going to run in front of the car.
Can you imagine how bad you’d feel, running over a baby bunny? Well, I can. I got so paranoid at one point, I stopped for a brown leaf in the road.
I didn’t walk through the trails too much, because they were so badly overgrown. Not being afraid to walk during the summer is one thing — walking into a thicket of tics is another. My mama raised no fool.
But there was an honest to goodness stand of pines, I had to explore. It was so unusual to see the tall evergreen tress, with little of the traditional Missouri undergrowth. I’ve become so used to the persistent, all over pervasive green.
But, back to the water. Water water, everywhere.
Me and my love of water. I can’t go near water without using all of my ‘film’ — space on my digital chip — on pictures of the water, near the water, boats on the water, and so on. Cute bunnies and pretty flowers may come and go, but there’s always more room for yet another reflection, or another boat.