Registrants topped 200 for the 10th annual Cabin Fever Hike hosted Saturday by city of Wildwood representatives. In addition to , residents from Brentwood, Ballwin, St. Louis, Ellisville, Florissant and O'Fallon, MO, participated.
"This hike was one of the first recreational events we hosted after Wildwood incorporated," said Joe Vujnich, director of planning and parks for the city.
After breakfast offerings of bagels, bananas, energy bars, juice, coffee or tea, hikers took off on self-guided paths. Gary Crews, Wildwood superintendent of parks and recreation, said there were two courses: a nine-mile roundtrip or a six-mile roundtrip. "Hikers can do either, both, or anything in-between really," he said.
Crews said registration for the event filled up almost immediately when it opened three weeks ago.
Themed T-shirts were for sale, and each hiker received a water bottle holder and a city-branded clip with compass.
"We've been coming for four years," said Ryan Peterson, of Wildwood. He and his wife, Kristy, attended before they had children. Now they brought 3-year-old, Andrew, and 1-year-old, Kyle.
"We love the activities that Wildwood has to offer. We love living here," said Peterson. "We can walk to Town Center from where we live, and we try to do as many Wildwood activities as possible. It's our life."
Wildwood Mayor Tim Woerther said the meaning behind the hike is great every year, regardless of the winter weather. "People love it. This is as family-friendly of an event as it can possibly get. It may be cold, but people still like to get out and say hi to others they may not have been able to see in the past couple of months," he said.
Christina McConnell and her son, William, who is in the eighth grade at , make the hike an annual mother-son special time. These Wildwood residents said they have attended the hike when it was raining and colder than 30 degrees. McConnell said she used to walk the Al Foster Trail daily, and this was the first time to return to the trail after some health-related developments have prevented her. This year was their fourth or fifth annual hike.
This was the third hike that the Hunt family, also of Wildwood, attended. "After the 5-degree weather we just had, today's 31-degree weather isn't so bad," said Craig Hunt.
He and his wife, Patti, said the distance their family would walk depended on how warm and how tired their daughters would be. Alison Hunt is 6 years old, and her sister, Rebbeca, is 4 years old.
Additionally, other hikers tucked infants into baby backpacks and away they went.
Brittany Barton, project manager for The Open Space Council of St. Louis, said the council was very pleased to be a hosting guest of Wildwood for the hike. "The council helped to found the city of Wildwood, and we were one of the components who helped start this hike 10 years ago. We're big advocates of this type of activity and believe it's great," she said.
The Meramec River corridor is one of the major focal areas for The Open Space Council. The group services projects in St. Louis, Jefferson and Franklin counties.
A new addition to this year's hike was that the Rock Hollow Trail was open. Participation is free, but pre-registration is required each year.