Trails Traveled: Bear Creek Trail at Carwina Park
Difficulty: Blue (Moderate)
Distance: 4.5 miles / Elevation Gain: 900 feet
Time: 2 hours
- Winter Hike
- Panoramic Views
- Tree Cover
Something I have loved doing in recent years as often as I can, and as weather permits, is to go for winter hikes. I have a traction device and some good hiking boots and as long as the snow/ice isn’t too deep, I can get a real good workout on even shorter hikes.
This was the first time I have tried this trail at Carwina Park and I loved it. There so many beautiful views and even walking on the trail with the trees and snow, it was all so excellent. I want to check this hike out from one of the other parks too. The trail is a through trail from Carwina Park and Lair o’ the Bear Park on the north side, and will take you to O’Fallon Park on the west side and all the way to Pence Park on the south side if you take the trail all the way to its end. Starting at different trailheads will give you different views and the length of hike will also change.
Like I said, the views were excellent and there is a quiet you get on a winter hike that is different in the spring, summer or fall. There was a time on the hike when it was absolute quiet and all I could here was the breeze in the trees. I wrote a poem about it.
Actually, I wrote 5 or 6 poems on the hike. Hiking is one of those activities that lets me truly unplug and disconnect from everything going on. My thoughts “turn off” and I can truly enjoy the nature all around me and I often have sweet times connecting with God too. It is also an ideal time for me to write. There aren’t any distractions, the ambience is unbelievable, and I feel like the words really flow out in nature.
My second book of poetry, “Seasons of Nature,” was written mostly on various hiking trips. After my wife and I divorced, I found that out on a trail was one of my favorite places to grieve and recover and process things that I just didn’t have the space for anywhere else.
Do you have a place like that? If not, I would recommend finding a local park, out of your immediate vicinity, to see if the fresh air and quiet helps you. The Japanese have a practice called, “forest bathing” where they connect with nature without a specific goal or destination in mind, as a way of rejuvenating themselves. Oftentimes, my solo hikes feel something like that.