Katy Trail – Day 3 – Hartsburg to Hermann

Day three started with a much warmer night than day two, and with the forecast calling for a high in the upper 70’s, we were looking forward to the day. The night did however cover everything in a thick layer of dew, so we spent some extra time that morning drying out our tents before heading east.

The trail was chock right full of people this morning. A large group passed, and then another, and then another. There were also many people out around Jefferson City, running, biking, and walking. The state capitol stands out in the distance as you roll across the north side of Jefferson City. The town itself is never approached by the trail, so if you’re thinking that a gas station or a store will be close by, you’re rather bummed when you’re suddenly back into the woodland.

We’d only eaten whatever we could find at the golf course last night: hot dogs, snickers, chips. Nothing but quality right there. We were starving now, and running low on drinks and snacks. We rolled into Mokane to find absolutely nothing in town. There were some closed restaurants, and a gas station that only had gas pumps, no sort of store connected with them. Luckily there was a man pumping gas, and he was able to tell us that there was a Dollar General less than a mile north. Tah-Dah! We headed north, dreaming of a cokes and sandwiches. We loaded up at Dollar, and sat out front on a low retaining wall, eating and enjoying the quickly warming sun.

Our destination that day was Hermann, a town of Germanic influence and flare. Well known in the Midwest for its lively Octoberfest, Hermann has some unique architecture, and more importantly, a really nice camping area right in the middle of town. Hermann is not officially on the Katy, but there’s a spur trail that will lead you there. This trail quickly spits you out onto a well used highway. There is a very wide shoulder, but after the serenity of the trail, finding yourself being passed by trucks snaps you right back to reality. This highway takes you to a protected bike lane on the bridge over the Missouri River, and then the traffic through Hermann is slow and controlled.

We find the city park that contains the campground, and there are several RV’s, but only one tent. We were able to snag one of the tent sites that had a small covered picnic table, and wasn’t too far away from the rather small shower house. We set up camp in 2 minutes flat, and then go off in search of our first real meal in 24 hours. A local points us to a pizza place that has “the best pizza I’ve ever had.” We each order a pizza, shrugging off the servers insistence that the pizzas are large, and that we could probably just share one. “What we don’t eat, we’ll have for breakfast.”

We hit a Casey’s on the way back, shower, and relax at the campsite. This was the warmest day of the trip, and we were sad to see it end. Another cool night was ahead of us, and we cursed the cold front, but were happy that there was no rain.

Katy Trail – Day 3 – Hartsburg to Hermann – Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Supply points are thin on this section. Your luck will greatly improve on weekends, as most of the small town diners are open, and there’s a small store in Claysville. You can stop at the golf course in North Jefferson for a small assortment of snacks and drinks, and there’s a Dollar General one mile north of Mokane.

We camped at the Hermann City Park for $15/ tent. (573) 486-5400. Keep in mind that their extremely popular Octoberfest takes place every weekend in October. If you’re arriving on a Friday/weekend during this time, expect the campground to be full. The campground is flanked on the east side by the main road through town, so road noise can be an issue as well.

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