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Zachary Snead

Nestled in the hills surrounding Clinton Lake, west of Lawrence KS, is where my girlfriend and I found ourselves hiking through the brush to try out our new camping gear. We have always been interested in backpack camping and we decided this was the year we would start so we purchased some essentials like a hammock and several accessories for it and headed out to the far side of the lake. Woodridge public use area is perfect for people who want a more rustic and authentic type of camp out, no real room for campers or RVs this is a tent and hang out or hike and hammock type of place. The entrance has plenty of space for people looking to tent it and cook out with nice little grilles and fire pits aplenty but if you go a little bit east of the entrance you’ll find a very fun little trail with plenty of camping spots scattered up and down it. We made it to campsite 3 which is down by the lake and pretty wide open but has just the right amount of tree coverage. We got a small fire going at one of the three pits and had a wonderful night just the two of us enjoying the sound of the water sloshing up against the pebbled beach. When the sun came up the following morning it was a beautiful view of the lake and the hike back to the car was a nice little jaunt. Overall it’s not the most breathtaking of spots or the most technical of hikes but for 0 dollars to get in and the ability to camp wherever you want it is a hidden little gem. Too many times I feel like people these days are looking for the biggest or best or the baddest places to take a selfie at or Instagram post and we lose site of what makes camping and hiking fun, the ability to get out there and experience the world in all of its natural beauty. It ain’t perfect but who the hell is.

Being a couple of idiots from Kansas on vacation we came a little over prepared and naive to what was about to unfold. The highest I have ever been out doors (this isn't innuendo) is hurricane ridge over in the olympics but I drove up that and walked around, this was a whole different beast. A beautiful trail of non stop switchbacks, it was soggy from the rain but my oh my was it still breathtaking. At the top although I wanted to my girlfriend did not want to summit the haystack which was probably for the best seeing as it was beginning to sleet. Although I missed out on the normally amazing view which were shrouded in clouds and mist it made for an awesome atmosphere. Overall it wasn't too busy but the weather and the fact that it was a weekday probably contributed to that. Great hike can't wait to do it again

I live about 30 minutes south of Weston, however I have never made my way up there. My close friend and I, itching for a little adventure to kick off the season, woke up at the crack of dawn and decided to drive up and see what the fuss was all about. On first look the trail we found ourselves on seemed like any other trail you can find anywhere on the eastern side of Kansas or western side of Missouri, honestly I was a bit worried that it would turn out like every other slightly hilly trail I had ever traversed, but as the title may suggest I was pleasantly surprised when we finally got on the dirt paths and started climbing. I wouldn't say the view is spectacular but for what it is, it is well worth the trip up. It features a great view of the Missouri River bend and if you look hard you can see Leavenworth KS to the southwest. I'd imagine the perfect time of year to go if you want the view is early spring as the leafy growth had already started filling in the gaps from which you can see the view. All in all a lovely little park and an especially lovely trail with plenty of elevation for us flat landers.