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US (Missouri) US Travel

La Petite Gemme Prairie: like none other in Missouri

A short afternoon outing west of Bolivar, Missouri

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Today after lunch, my husband, daughter, son and I ventured out to La Petite Gemme Prairie just a mile or so west of Bolivar. My son told me recently about this nature preserve, but we hadn’t taken time to go see it until today. We decided to take a short jaunt out to see what we could.

And honestly, this is likely NOT the prime time of year to see this sight.

It takes a keen eye, an ability to notice subtle colors and textures, and an open mind as to what exactly constitutes beauty.

Must a landscape always contain exotic foliage, flaming sunsets, and towering mountains to be considered beautiful? Can the somber, drab colors of deep December reveal their own beauty?

I’ll let you decide as you peruse the shots I took as we walked the 37-acre preserve.

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There’s a gravel parking lot sized for about four vehicles just in front of this sign. We parked here and then took out walking.
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Unspoiled prairie land…

For more background on the preserve, here are some details from the yellow informational sign that appears near the end of this post:

“The 37-acre area was purchased by the non-profit Missouri Prairie Foundation in 1977. It is owned by the MPF, and co-managed by the MPF and the Missouri Department of Conservation. A botanically diverse and scenic upland prairie on soils derived from shale and limestone, La Petite Gemme is a beautiful spot in which to relax and wander. The name is French for “the little gem” and recognizes the French influence on Missouri as well as the gemlike quality of the prairie wildflowers.”

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First, you walk up this mowed path to the top of the hill.
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The curly lines of these silver-hued leaves caught my eye.
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Francie, our Jack Russell-Rat Terrier, burned off some energy this afternoon.
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The dark dots positioned against the golden vertical lines of the grasses is a nice contrast.
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The color of these delicate leaves!

Here’s an impressive list of flowers and creatures that make this preserve their home. All of these are listed on the yellow sign that appears at the bottom of this post.

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Here is the view of the countryside further west of Bolivar.
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Once you’re at the top of the hill, the mowed path takes you back down to the other side.
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These unspoiled prairie grasses grow off to the side of the path.
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I love these roller coaster blades of grass that careen over, under, and around the tufts of native grasses.
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Wild rosehips dot the walking trail.
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This nest appears to have been built in the middle of the path. Either it blew onto the path from a breeze, or this place sees little traffic this time of year. Either explanation sounds reasonable.
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My daughter noticed this deer trail veering off from the walking path.
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At the bottom of the hill, you’ll meet an asphalt path that travels north and south. It’s the Frisco Highline Trail, a “national recreation trail that connects Bolivar and Springfield, Missouri,” according to an informational sign along the trail. The trail is 35 miles long and follows the former Springfield and Northern Railroad tracks. The trail is managed by Ozark Greenways, a non-profit organization working to preserve and enhance the Ozarks’ natural heritage. Open from sunrise to sunset, no motor vehicles are allowed on the trail. 
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Ahhh, siblings!
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Here’s a trail marker along the asphalt trail heading north. 
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These signs can be read as you approach the prairie from the north. Some close-up shots of the signs are below.
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Signs provide information about the flora and fauna… 
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…of the native prairie.
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I took this one final view after taking our walk through Le Petite Gemme Prairie.

Thanks for reading! It was a mild 65 degrees F when we started out for the prairie, but as we walked, the temperature cooled, the wind picked up, and as we loaded into the car, a misty rain settled in. Back home now, I can still hear the rain gently falling outside. 

 

 

 

 

2 replies on “La Petite Gemme Prairie: like none other in Missouri”

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