As you reemerge from your winter shelter to greet spring, you’ll find exciting changes and challenges afoot. And when those April showers arrive, settle in for some adventures just waiting to be rediscovered.

Photo courtesy of William Vanderpool


Spring is the ideal time to commit to Shaw Nature Reserve’s 40-Hike Challenge. The picturesque nature area at Gray Summit features 17 miles of hiking trails that meander through a diverse variety of native habitats, so you can connect with the flora and fauna as you build muscle and endurance. The staff at the reserve’s visitor center will help you sign up for the 2024 challenge and log your hikes. Those who successfully complete the challenge will receive a custom patch.

Visit for challenge requirements.

Photo courtesy of Lisa DeLorenzo Hager


The Ozarks Coffee Trail is brewing up a big year. In 2024, coffee lovers can visit 37 different coffee shops in and around Springfield to earn points toward a prize.

Participation requires a smartphone. Use yours to visit, then follow the directions to sign up. Trail sippers earn 10 points for every participating coffee shop they visit between now and September 30. Once they’ve accumulated 150 points, they can claim a limited-edition T-shirt as a reward for their caffeinated accomplishment.

Photo by Freepik


The federal governmen has kicked in an additional $92.8 million to add to the state’s $2.8 billion commitment for a multiyear project to widen I-70 to three lanes from Blue Springs to Wentzville. The first phase of the project, which could start as soon as this summer, will run from Columbia to Kingdom City. Next in line are the stretches from Warrenton to Wentzville and Blue Springs to Odessa. You can follow the progress of the project at

Photo by Shutterstock


Thanks to a new five-volume anthology, The Collected Works of Eustace Cockrell, a pulp fiction pioneer is getting some long-overdue recognition. Warrensburg native Cockrell found success in Hollywood, first as a prolific writer of short stories in pulp fiction magazines during the 1930s, then as a television writer for programs such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Cheyenne, and Naked City.

Elizabeth and Roger Coleman, Cockrell’s daughter and son-in-law, tracked down 134 of the writer’s short stories for the collection. “Eustace Cockrell was the Mark Twain of his time,” Roger says. “Many of his stories, written during the Great Depression and World War II, are set in his home state of Missouri with particular insights into small town life.”

Learn more about the life of Eustace Cockrell and explore his writing at

Photo courtesy of Roger and Elizabeth Coleman

Feature image photo courtesy of Lisa DeLorenzo Hager

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Article originally published in the March/April 2024 issue of Missouri Life.