Thursday, April 13, 2017

William M. Klein Park: Cave Spring Park

In looking through the Kansas City Visitor Guide that we had acquired at the Missouri Welcome Center a few days back, I noticed that there was a listing for a place called Cave Springs Park that was a stop on the Santa Fe Trail, and had a cave and some old stone ruins. I was intrigued, and so today we made the short drive over to the site, which is officially called William M. Klein Park.

We arrived at the park to find the visitor center closed and no maps of the trail system. Despite the lack of a map, there are some signs to park destinations like the cave scattered throughout the trail system. The signs weren't always clear, but they tend to point one in the right direction. We started out following a wide mowed trail, that seems to get occasional use as a road. 
Noelle and Sierra walk trail
The trail led us past blooming redbuds
to a small lake.
at wetland
We explored the lake a little bit and discovered a few frogs with their heads sticking out of the water.
Then we continued on to a small picnic area where we found the first of ruins, this time in the form of a tall, stone chimney.
chimney 1
There was also a small "nature play" area with a small shelter
nature play area
 and plywood "cave" that Sierra checked out.

Just below the picnic area was the small cave with a small stream of water flowing out of it,
Noelle and Sierra at Cave Spring
the Cave Spring. There was a stone foundation nearby, perhaps a trough for watering cattle that once roamed the property. We continued on past blooming violets
through a forest that was much like the one we had seen at the Owens Nature Park yesterday, lots of bush honeysuckle.
walking trail again
Another cool feature was a very large Osage Orange tree.
big osage orange
A feature signed as "the Cascade" was nothing more then an old stone dam.
old dam

We traveled further into the park passing by several more stone chimneys
chimney 2
chimney 3
chimney 4
and then found ourselves at some more substantial stone ruins.
We explored the ruins for a short time
Noelle and Sierra in ruins
3 chimneys
and then headed back towards the car. A sign pointed the way to a Santa Fe Trail marker and I made the short walk to it, lying in the overgrown weeds off to the side of a busy road.
Santa Fe Trail marker
At that point it was time for lunch, and so we headed off on our search for Kansas City Barbecue!

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