The summer arrived here in the metro area, and the weather turned hot. Not dry, just hot. In the heat, my walking group starts earlier and finishes earlier, trying to be inside by the time the thermometer almost melts and we have to slide into a café in our perspiration. We still walk every week, though. If it’s too hot for man or beast, we walk indoors. The Oak Park Mall is one of our favorite walking places whether it’s because of too much ice or too much sun on the trails. We’re not the only ones. There’s a space filled with tables and chairs and a lovely little coffee shop where many walking groups or couples meet to walk. Then it’s down the hallways and up the escalator and around and around. It’s fun for window shopping, stopping at the restrooms, and finding whatever we’d like to eat at Panera or in the food court. Ah, air conditioning, aren’t we lucky?!
I’m not saying we have to walk indoors every week. We aren’t completely allergic to sweat. One day we rubbed on the sunscreen and the insect repellent and struck out on the Gary Haller Trail. We met at the parking area near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Midland Drive and walked south toward Shawnee Mission Park–a nice shady walk with some invigorating hills, bluebirds, and some relaxing flat path. This trail is asphalt and therefore easy on the feet and joints. When we got back to the cars, one of our members told us about a place to eat in Bonner Springs. We popped into one of the cars and over to that little town where we hiked a little path starting in the city park and snaking along a creek at the edge of town. Then we walk to the business district where we found the Cowtown Cheesecake Company. Inside are a few tables and a choice of tasty sandwiches for a reasonable price to eat before enjoying a piece of their cheesecake of the day or a piece of pie. How fun to find new places to eat and to explore new suburban towns close to the metro! Yummy cheesecakes for sale there, people.
Of course, after all the rain, we had to walk the Indian Creek Trail starting at 103rd and State Line. We’ve walked that trail many times, but the water was higher and faster than we’ve seen it. Pretty!
Ah, springtime. Time to get out of the malls and into the great outdoors. This winter we often hiked at Oak Park Mall and Crown Center. Once we went to Independence Center. Those are the three indoor malls big enough for a good walk left around the K.C. Metro. Crown Center and over the skywalks makes for a dandy walk. Union Station always slows us down because there are so many things to see. It was beautiful at Christmas time. The shops at the Mall draw our attention, too, but we try to wait until after the walk to do our shopping.
On one of our Crown Center walks, we drove out of the free parking after three hours and drove to Thirty-ninth Street where we ate some fabulous food at The Blue Koi. At the Oak Park Mall we usually eat at Panera, always a good choice for nutritious soups and salads. Independence Center is farther for all of us, but it was fun because it was different for us. We traveled to downtown Independence and found a nice restaurant new to all of us.
That’s not to say we were too wimpy to walk outside during the winter. Everything looks stark, but one can see more of the surroundings on winter walks because of the lack of foliage. The gray and brown landscape has a beauty of its own. Indian Creek Trail can be good in winter when it’s dry. The Basha is a good choice for a place to eat after a cold hike. All the outdoor trails can be walked in the wintertime. Just be careful of ice and wet places, and dress in layers. Enjoy.
There is an advantage to walking a familiar trail during the winter–no leaves. During the summer, leaves shade the trail and provide pretty surroundings. But they block the view. During the winter, the hiker can see back into the woods, the streams, the stumps, rocks, and hillsides.
Indian Creek Trail from the tennis courts at 103rd and Marty, East to Roe, and back provides some shelter from the cold winds and nice views of the creek side during the winter.
After a winter walk, a person is hungry. We found a good Mediterranean restaurant called The Basha. We each ordered the yummy lentil soup and shared the appetizer sampler, a feast of hummus, pitas, Baba ganouj, and stuffed grape leaves. The location at 7016 W. 105th Street, tucked away inside the block of businesses, is hard to find but worth hunting down. Pretty décor and excellent food.
What’s better than walking a lovely trail along a gorgeous creek on a beautiful day? Too gooey? I couldn’t help myself. Indian Creek Trail from Leawood City Park east to Wornall Rd. (where one must stop for a restroom break and a bottle of water, at least) and back is a short but nice walk. The views of Indian Creek from the trail, the water birds, and the varied terrain made for a nice walk in September.
A morning snack at SmallCakes in the Mission Farms shopping center can be a follow-up to this walk, or it could be a stop on the walk with a bit of a detour north along Mission Rd. Cupcakes, muffins, and coffee are the fare.
My sister-in-law found an article which makes me feel better about the mistakes I make when I write. An area man wrote to the Kansas City Star Watchdog about a discrepancy in the signs which tell when the Indian Creek Trail opens and closes. The Watchdog not only found out the truth, but also that Detective Dog found out that the Leawoof Dog Park has slightly different hours than the trail. (Also, see my Post about the Indian Creek Trail and the Leawood Dog Park.)
Read the article to find out: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/news-columns-blogs-the_watchdog/article2072294.html
Follow the Indian Creek Trail east of Leawood City Park into Kansas City, MO, and you will be delighted by the foot-friendly path, the variety of wildlife, and the convenient QT at Wornell Road where you can stop to buy a bottle of water or an iced tea and use the clean restroom.
A bridge across the creek on the east side of Leawood Park leads to a new fenced off-lease dog area. Lucky dogs!
Enjoy this part of our wonderful Indian Creek Streamway Trail system!
Besides being beautiful, Leawood City Park is a useful place for hikers and bikers to meet in the parking lot near the swimming pool and tennis courts. There are three different routes one can take from the park–east on Indian Creek Trail to State Line into Missouri and on southeast toward I-435, west on Indian Creek Trail under Mission Road and on as far as Olathe, or southwest on Tomahawk Creek Trail.
Today we chose Tomahawk Creek Trail and walked toward 119th Street through Tomahawk Creek Park. We walked across Indian Creek.
There are side nature trails along the way, but we weren’t prepared with bug spray and long socks.
Huge oak trees and smaller trees of every type line the trail.
The confluence of the two creeks can be seen along the way, but only if one looks for it. Especially in the summer, hikers must leave the main trail and walk toward the creek on a little unmarked side trail. Look for it not far from the bridge.
It was a lovely walking day; so after one of the group left, the rest of us walked westward on the Indian Creek Trail, crossed the road on an access trail and ended up at Small Cakes in the Mission Farms shopping center. The cupcakes are beautiful, and they have muffins, too. I guess the coffee is good, but I’m a tea drinker, and the shop has no hot or cold tea.