Number Fifteen: Missouri

The Katy Trail is a long, skinny Missouri state park and our new favorite trail. After a small sample, what we saw is good enough to be in Minnesota or Wisconsin. It could be on the Cedar Valley, Root River, or Sparta-Elroy Trails. This is longest and one of the oldest, but not The oldest, rails to trails conversion. The name comes from the name of the railroad, Missouri-Kansas-Texas. English speakers have trouble combining ‘M’ with other consonants so instead of “MKT”, they just went with “KT”.

The bridge shown at the top was the largest and most interesting of thirteen we crossed; none crossed the Missouri. The name of this river is not particularly creative but not the first time I have seen a river by that name. I did not notice a sign telling us when we entered the Nuclear Power Plant Emergency Planning Zone but maybe we didn’t want to know that.

This is an unsolicited  testimonial although we had the weather forecast wrong and it started raining an hour and a half sooner than we expected, which put us 15 miles from the car.

Most wildlife know enough to stay in out of the rain but while hurrying along, we rounded a bend and met a large family of skunks apparently enjoying the trail and the rain. They were in no hurry to move and we waited. One kit in particular seemed very curious about what we were doing there. We waited. We escaped. I forgot to take pictures.

These were taken before the rain; the limestone (and the bike) had gotten a little messy before we got home. The picture of us was taken by a couple who were thinking they had bitten off more than they should. They were doing as we do in those circumstances and treat it as an educational undertaking and stop at every sign, marker, overlook, etc.

For something entirely different, we spent much of a day at the University of Missouri, in particular the Museum of Art and the University bookstore. We didn’t buy any textbooks but we did buy a magnet.

The story of Abraham sacrificing his son always brings me back to the question, Is an act moral because God ordered it or is it moral because God wouldn’t order anything that wasn’t?

The Museum had an extensive collection of Kachinas, which I associate with places further south and west. They are effigies, not dolls or toys, that act as intermediaries between humans and the sacred world.

They were not common until the mid-nineteenth century, so well after the arrival of Christian missionaries. They are still made and used today in some Native American societies, although the subject matter and artistry have evolved and some are clearly for tourists. Who dreams this stuff up?


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