Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Valley View Glades in Spring

Valley View Glades Natural Area is the cathedral of glades around here, where on a perfect April day you can see Birdsfoot violets (Viola pedata) and, in yellow, a Hairy Buttercup (Ranunculus hispidus) (see the hair?) and the valley vistas. Glades are stony outcroppings on south-facing hillsides that have their own specialty ecosystem, with unique glade wildflowers and creatures in spring; and in summer, glades recarpet themselves in new wildflowers and creatures: precious native Missouri features fortunately preserved from development and cared for, mainly through the removal of red cedar trees, invasives that threaten glades. Valley View Glades Natural Area is on Highway B in Jefferson County near Morse Mill. The trail, a loop 2.6 miles long, leads the hiker through hill, dale, vistas, and over brooks. You'll enjoy peace and quiet, and feel at one with the universe.

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