Today was a beautiful summer day. The temperatures stayed in the low 80’s and the humidity was lower . I finished work about 7:00 and the outdoors was calling to me. There is a wonderful walking trail right in the center of Joplin. I drive by it almost every day and see people walking, runners running, and dog lovers strolling along with a dog or two trotting beside them. In all my years in Joplin, I’ve never walked on that trail. For my first today, I changed that, and walked a loop on the Campbell Parkway Trail!
After a quick dinner and a change of clothes, I drove to the trail. Located near Connecticut and Murphy Boulevard, the trail is bordered on the north by Campbell Parkway, hence the name. Connecticut Avenue cuts the trail in half, with a loop on each side of that street. I chose to walk on the western portion because the bridges in that area hint at water.
The sun was just starting to set. It was a perfect evening for a walk. The trail is gravel and winds in a loop over two bridges and across manicured grass. A couple strolling hand in hand met me going the opposite direction. I didn’t see any other walkers on this loop. That was okay.
I stopped on the first bridge for a picture, and discovered there is indeed water present. In fact, the creek has a name, Joplin Creek. That was something else I didn’t know. Benches are placed conveniently along the trail. At the eastern end, before I started down the home stretch, I sat for a few minutes. The sun was now behind the trees. It was so gorgeous, so peaceful. I could have relaxed there for a long time, enjoying the end to this day.
I was curious though about a section in this parkway that I see as I drive by every day. There is a fenced off area, with tall grasses and plants growing within it. I speculated it might be a marshy area, fenced off to keep people out. I followed the trail to see what it was. To my delight, I discovered a rain garden. There are a couple of signs nearby that explain the plants and the cycle of the garden and pictures that show the wildlife that frequents such a place. Also included are brief instructions on setting up a rain garden. The fence actually has a large opening for anyone who wants to wade into the tall grasses. I found it to be a beautiful sanctuary. I might have to incorporate a rain garden into my backyard someday.
I stood on the second bridge, at the other end of Joplin Creek, and looked back down the parkway. Such a wonderful walking trail. It is amazing how one can drive by a place and see it every day, and yet not really know it at all. It took leaving the confines of my car and getting out into the space to really see it and experience it. Such a good comparison to life. I can watch from the sidelines and think I’m living. Or I can actively engage, participating full on, and truly know and experience life.
I look forward to many more trips to the Campbell Parkway Trail. This evening I only explored the western trail. I intend to walk there often, increasing the number of loops that I walk and also include the eastern section on the other side of Connecticut, making a larger loop. The fresh air and exercise are good for me. The way my soul expands when I’m in such a beautiful space is even better.