Pickle Creek At Hawn State Park



Starting at the lower picnic area, Pickle Creek Trail, you guessed it, follows along Pickle Creek, which is a beautiful sandy-bottom stream. The creek carves through massive stones to create some of the most beautiful views in the land. In no other park do the scenic trails change so quickly.


Pine and oak forests, sandstone bluffs, canyons, clear water streams, and abundant wildlife make Hawn one of my favorite winter hikes. Designated as a state natural area, Hawn never disappoints. It’s an excellent hike for nearly all ages. So to put my theory to test, we found a local family who put their hikers to the path.


Meet Danielle and Chad Carron

Chad and I have been married for twelve years. We were high school sweethearts, and he stuck by my side through my education and career, including two moves for my job. We even grew up together. He proposed to me atop Longs Peak during one of our successful attempts summiting the mountain. My parents were able to summit with us and witness the proposal! We married during my final year of med school. I am a physician and trained at UMKC’s 6-year combined BA/MD program. I completed residency in family medicine at Cox in Springfield. Afterward, I did full scope family medicine with OB for about seven years in Farmington at a private practice. I loved delivering babies and caring for women and children. Two years ago, I joined a clinic only-based practice at St. Francis Farmington Physician Associates to improve my balance between work and family, and I have not regretted it.


Chad is a lead survey technician and is working towards earning his full surveying license, which is a long process. He waited to go back to school for his surveying license until we were settled and I transitioned my job. We have two biological children, nine-year-old Claire and seven-year-old Paige. After having two daughters, I knew I did not want to birth any more children—not because pregnancy and childbirth were hard. I felt like life was too easy, and when you truly serve God to your potential, he asks you to do uncomfortable, hard things. I love children, and I see kids and families struggling all the time as a physician. I think the most significant difference you can make in someone’s life is to love them. I wanted to love kids who needed it, so I discussed my idea with Chad. We decided to foster children and then adopt. We’ve been foster parents for three years now. We are proud to have found long-term placement for two girls we consider our own, and we still see them all the time. Their family is awesome and allows us to continue our relationship with them. We are working towards the adoption of another child and accepted short- and long-term placement of two other children.


I love children, and I see kids and families struggling all the time as a physician.

Our family is very outdoorsy and thankfully we live in Farmington which offers lots of trails and parks. Our kids enjoy hiking, camping, blazing trails, and making tree forts in the woods behind our home. Chad has always been a woodsman. He grew up in a family that enjoyed hunting, fishing, and gathering mushrooms. My family always camped, but we lived in the Fenton suburbs until I was in sixth grade. We camped at Hawn State Park one weekend, and on a whim my parents stopped to view a property that was for sale. They decided to buy it, so we moved to Ste. Genevieve County. I started running in seventh grade and found one of my passions. To train for track and cross country, I would run from the house down to Hawn State Park with my dad. Soon I started running the trails there and loved that even more. To this day, I love trail running, and my parents still live right next to Hawn. We now take our girls there to hike and play in Pickle Creek.

To this day, I love trail running, and my parents still live right next to Hawn. We now take our girls there to hike and play in Pickle Creek.


I am a marathoner with hopes to qualify for Boston.

We hiked the Kalalau Trail out and back in a single day and hiked from rim to rim of the Grand Canyon in one day. We climbed Longs Peak several times with alpine start up and down in one day and up Rainier with IMG company in a 3-day climb. We’ve gone on many other long hikes in Glacier National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Chad loves to mountain bike and is trying out sprint triathlons. I am a marathoner with hopes to qualify for Boston. I hit just above my qualifying time, but you need to be several minutes under the qualifying time to even have a chance at getting into Boston. I ran marathons in St. Louis, St. Charles, Springfield, and Washington D.C. Claire is my artsy animal lover. Paige is my easy going but sensitive soul who loves gymnastics and basketball. With all our varied interests, we share a love of swimming. In fact, I assist the swim team. All these activities make us hungry! Luckily, Chad and I love to cook. He perfected grilling, and I like trying out various ethnic foods and recipes. We are definitely foodies.

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