Archive for the ‘Historic Mills’ Category

Current River – Akers Ferry to Round Spring, pt. 2

After exploring the Current River State Park, and then eating lunch, we continued down the river for our last 5 or so miles.
It wasn’t long before we floated under the Hwy 19 bridge and were then exiting the river at the lower Round Spring access. The other four guys hung back and relaxed while Tommy and I got his vehicle and then drove on up back to Akers Ferry to pick up my vehicle and the canoe trailer, and then head back to Round Spring to pick up everything and everyone. We checked out the spring real quick before we left, and we even saw a small pack of wild horses that had a foal with them. These wild horses are one of only two groups of wild horses found in Missouri.

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Soon, we were in Eminence to stop for some dinner and to pick up a few supplies. We ate at the Ozark Orchard Restaurant, and the food was very good. They also have many interesting historic photos on the wall of Eminence and the surrounding areas along the Current and Jacks Fork rivers.

After we ate and picked up a few groceries, we headed west a few miles to stay at the Alley Spring campground. It was another quiet and relaxing night, this time with the Jacks Fork river and Alley Spring for music in the background.

I awoke early the next morning, while everyone else slept in, and headed over to the spring and old mill. I spent the next hour and a half taking pictures and simply enjoying the area. I had it all to myself the entire time I was there.

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I headed back to the campground around 8:00, relaxed for about half an hour, then started fixing some camp doughnuts while everyone was waking up. We were out of there and on our way home around 10:30, and I pulled in the driveway around 2:00. I was about ready for a nap when Kasie called and wanted me to meet her after work at Table Rock Lake to swim. So I did. That lake water was so warm compared to the spring-fed Current River! It almost wasn’t even refreshing to swim in, but I was just happy to see my beautiful bride again!

It was a GREAT trip, and I hope we make time to do this at least once a year from now on.

Missouri Waterfalls

I was up at four yesterday and on the road before five to head to the eastern side of Missouri for some waterfall pictures. I had been watching the radar off and on Thursday to monitor just how much rain was falling on the eastern portion of the state. There were several waterfalls where I have been waiting for the right amount of rainfall to head over to and photograph.

The main waterfall I had been waiting to photograph after a lot of rain was Mina Sauk Falls, which is the tallest and longest waterfall in Missouri, and is located on Taum Sauk Mountain, the highest point in Missouri. Kasie and I had been here several years ago, but there was only a trickle of water then. Plus, I seem to have lost my pictures from then, which is upsetting because we visited there just after we first got married and we took a nice photo together at the base of the falls.

My first stop of the day was at Rocky Falls, located east of Eminence and within the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. I have visited these falls several times, and in fact Kasie and I swam here back in 2011, but I haven’t visited them with this much water before. Simply beautiful area!

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After Rocky Falls, I headed a few miles down the road to Klepzig Mill, to see how high Rocky Creek was. I had been here back in November of 2011, but again, never with this much water. Along the gravel road to the mill, there are several small fields with very scenic backdrops along the creek. Also, I ran into a small group of wild horses as well. There are several small groups of wild horses that roam around the Scenic Riverways, and it was a real treat to see a group of them up close.

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From here, I made way over towards Taum Sauk Mountain State Park to hike the 3 mile loop down to Mina Sauk Falls. A portion of the loop trail follows along the Ozark Trail, and it is all very scenic hiking, offering numerous scenic vistas and following beautiful flowing streams. On my over to the state park, the clouds started breaking up a little, and even more so by the time I reached the falls. I was still able to get a fair amount of pictures, but I had to wait longer and longer between shots for the sun to hide behind some clouds to get good pictures. If I had waited any longer to get over here, it might have been just a little too late, and would have been too sunny.

Highest Point in Missouri marker

Highest Point in Missouri marker

View along Mina Sauk Falls trail

View along Mina Sauk Falls trail

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Located right next to Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, there is a small piece of land owned by the Missouri Dept. of Conservation, and there is an old lookout tower that you can climb almost all the way up to the top of. I took a few snapshots up there…

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From Missouri’s highest point, I next made my further east, almost all the way over to Ste. Genevieve. My last two stops of the day were Pickle Springs Natural Area and Hickory Canyons Natural Area. Kasie and I visited both of these places back in 2011 when we were over this way to visit the Missouri Whitewater Championship Races.

The waterfall at Pickle Springs NA, called Headwall Falls, must really take A LOT of rainfall to get it flowing good, so it wasn’t at its best, but I took a few pictures anyways, since I had come this far!

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The lack of water at Pickle Springs made me a little nervous about the waterfall at Hickory Canyons NA, since they are only within a few miles of each other. But, to my surprise, there was much more water at Hickory Canyons, and in fact the sun was starting to hide behind the hillside some, providing enough shade to take some decent pictures down in this canyon! What a beautiful location to end the day!

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Missouri Ozarks Ramble, Day 6

Day 6.
After a great night’s sleep, I headed back out once again, for probably my last day of exploring for a little while (chores are piling up around the house, especially with winter approaching).
My first stop of the day was Klepzig Mill, which is not too far from Rocky Falls. It is an old mill, within the boundaries of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, that also sits within a very scenic shut-in along Rocky Creek.

Klepzig Mill along Rocky Creek


Klepzig Mill


Small cascade in Rocky Creek


Small waterfall in Rocky Creek


Waterfall in Rocky Creek


Klepzig Mill and Rocky Creek


My second stop for the day was at Powder Mill campground and access.

Current River at Powder Mill


Powder Mill Spring


From Powder Mill, I headed just down the road to Blue Spring Natural Area, on the Current River. I had been here in January of 2010, but wanted to return again. The water from this spring is so blue, hence the name.

Where Blue Spring meets the Current River


Blue Spring branch


Blue Spring


View from the overlook platform


After Blue Spring I headed back towards Alley Spring, but stopped at a few other places along the way, such as Log Yard access, Two Rivers, which is where the Jacks Fork enters the Current, and I also stopped at Shawnee Creek access, where the creek flows into the Jacks Fork.

Current River at Log Yard


Fall colors at Log Yard


Two Rivers, where the Jacks Fork meets the Current


Picnic tables and fall colors at Two Rivers


Where Shawnee Creek meets the Jacks Fork


A sycamore along Shawnee Creek


At Alley Spring, I checked out the swimming area by the campground on the Jacks Fork, then headed on over to check out the spring and old mill again. I have been to this one a few times in the past, but always love seeing it again. There were no clouds, and the sun was just too darn bright to take any real good pictures of the spring branch.

Alley Spring Mill


Alley Spring branch


Alley Spring


Alley Spring Mill


From Alley Spring, I headed towards a couple of swimming holes/access points along the Jacks Fork east of Eminence and south of Summersville. On my way there, I passed by another lookout tower, called Flat Rock Lookout Tower. It is located at the corner of Hwy 106 and Hwy D East of Summersville, right on the edge of the Angeline Conservation Area. There was no one at this one, so I decided to climb to the top for a view. It was pretty windy, and the old tower swayed a little, but not too bad. The door/hatch into the room at the top was locked, so I just took some pictures from the highest stair steps that I could.

Flat Rock Lookout Tower


Highway 106 from the tower


What a view!


After descending the tower (and feeling the burn in my legs!), I headed to my next stops.
Along the way, as I passed through Summersville, I passed by the old mill, and stopped to take a few quick pics.

The old mill at Summersville


After Summersville, my next stop was a swimming hole/access called Bluff View. It was basically right across the river from the Blue Spring access, swimming hole and primitive camping area (This is on the Jacks Fork, not to be confused with Blue Spring on the Current). I had planned to drive there next, but since it was getting late in the day, and to save myself some time, after getting the pictures I needed, I just waded across the creek to the Blue Spring side. Kasie and I had been on a float trip through here back in 2010, and we stopped at the spring to have a look around. I have also included a picture from back then.

Bluff view


Blue Spring swimming hole


Blue Spring (2010)


After Bluff View and Blue Spring, my next stop was Buck Hollow access and swimming hole. This is where we put in on our float trip last year. You can float a section of the river above Buck Hollow, but the water must be up after a good rain, otherwise it is usually too low. But, it is supposed to be one of the more scenic stretches of the Jacks Fork River.

Buck Hollow


Fall reflections at Buck Hollow


From Buck Hollow, I had a choice to either try and make it to a couple more swimming holes, or head to a camping and swimming area in the National Forest, plus it was sort of on the way home, too. Well, I chose the camping area, called Noblett Lake. When I got there, I was surprised to see that the roads leading to the camping areas and other areas were closed, all except the day use/pavilion area. When I got down there, I finally saw why. I guess I must have missed it every time they mentioned it on the news, but back in August, someone had accessed the dam’s spillway and opened it all the way, essentially draining the lake. The National Forest and local police are still looking for the vandals who did this. I can’t believe someone would do such a thing to such a beautiful place. Needless to say, I was a little bummed to find this out, and a little upset because I couldn’t get all the pictures I needed.
The National Forest did announce that it would leave the lake dry until next spring, to let the cold temps of winter hopefully kill some of the nuisance plants that have accumulated in the lake over the years.

The sun sets at Noblett Lake


A posted warning/closed sign at Noblett Lake


Noblett Lake, dry


After leaving Noblett Lake, I was running out of daylight, but decided to try and see if I could find North Fork Spring, on the North Fork River. I could see it on my map, but from the direction I was coming, I was not sure if I could access it without having to go through private property or not. Well, I took my chances, but as I got close to the river, the gravel road dead ended and turned into a private drive, with numerous no trespassing signs posted. Oh well, Maybe someday I will try from the other side of the river.
I quickly left and raced the setting sunlight towards Hodgson Mill, which was just a few miles away. The sun had already set by the time I got there, and it was actually starting to get fairly dark. But, I was able to pull enough light with my camera to get a few good pics.

Hodgson Mill


Hodgson Spring branch


Hodgson Mill


Well, I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings as I did a little more exploring this past weekend. Stay tuned for more adventures!

Missouri Ozarks Ramble, Day 5

Day 5.
I left early in the morning and headed on over to Greer Spring, which is between Alton and Winona just off of Hwy 19. Since I got there early in the morning, and it had gotten down below freezing overnight at Greer Spring, there was still quite a bit of fog coming off of the water at the spring. Plus, it seems that most of my pictures turned out kinda blueish. But, it was much prettier being there in person. I hadn’t been here in about 5 or 6 years. Also, did you know that Greer Spring is the second largest spring in Missouri, and doubles the size of the Eleven Point River? Now you do!

Upper outlet of Greer Spring


Greer Spring Branch


Main/Lower Spring Outlet


Greer Spring Branch just above lower outlet


Upper outlet branch meets the main outlet


From Greer Spring, I next headed further south and then east, just past Riverton Access, to a place I missed last week called Boze Mill Spring, which is also on the Eleven Point. This is a float camping area, with a nice sized spring, and a few remains from an old mill that once used to be here. All that is left is the stone dam and the old turbine from the mill.

Boze Mill Spring


Boze Mill


Eleven Point River


Next was a place called Cane Bluff Access, much further upstream on the Eleven Point. The road down to the access was a bit rough in places, but I did not think much of it. When I got back out and just started back onto Hwy 19, onto pavement, I noticed that I had a flat tire. I was just south of the Greer Spring parking area, so I stopped there and changed my flat. I lost some good time changing the flat, but that is just how it goes sometimes when you travel a lot of backroads.

Cane Bluff Access


Cane Bluff Access


My next destination was Turner Mill, but I made a few stops along the way, including Greer Spring Mill (which sits on private property) and Greer Crossing campground and access.

Greer Spring Mill


Campsite at Greer Crossing


Turner Mill has a north and south access, on both sides of the river. If you want to see the old mill site and spring, you will want to visit Turner Mill North. It is about 9 miles off the highway down some gravel roads, but it is definitely worth the trip. All that remains from the old mill is a giant metal water wheel, which sits in the middle of the spring branch. The spring itself comes from a small cave entrance at the base of a very tall bluff. The entire area is very scenic and beautiful.

Turner Mill Wheel


Turner Mill Wheel


Turner Mill Wheel and milling shafts


Close up of the gears on the water wheel


Turner Mill Spring exits from beneath a tall bluff


Close up of spring exiting the cave


My next stop was McCormack Lake. I had camped here about 5 or 6 years ago, but haven’t been back since. It is a small but beautiful lake right in the middle of the forest.

Fall reflections on McCormack Lake


McCormack Lake


Fall reflections on McCormack Lake


The last stop of the day was at Falling Spring Mill. I wish I could have made it here earlier in the year, but oh well. Kasie and I visited here back in January of 2010, but I wanted to return with some more color. I guess I was just a week or two too late. It was still pretty, though.

Falling Spring Mill


Water wheel at Falling Spring Mill


Falling Spring Falls


Base of Falling Spring Falls


This last shot of Falling Spring Falls was accidentally taken while I was rotating my camera on the tripod, and I just kind of like the way it looks.

Two waterfalls in one!


From Falling Spring, I headed back into Winona, this time deciding to get a cheap motel room for the night, to recharge my batteries, get a nice hot shower, and a warm bed. I was spoiled that night instead of camping out, but it was worth it!
Day six comes tomorrow…

Missouri Ozarks Ramble, Day2

Day 2.
After leaving Washington SP in the morning, I headed on over to the Berryman Trailhead Campground, stopping in Potosi on my way at the Potosi Ranger Station of the Mark Twain Nat’l Forest. I got a few more maps that I needed, then was on my way.
The campground is at the trailhead for the Berryman Trail, which is open to hikers, mtn bikers and equestrian riders, and is one of the oldest trails in Missouri. The 24-mile looped trail shares a portion of the Courtis Section of the Ozark Trail.

Moring sun thru the trees at Berryman Trail CG


Berryman Trail


Next, I searched out a couple of more camping sites in the area, most also on the Berryman or Ozark Trail.

Harmon Springs Trail Camp


Info sign at Brazil Creek Campground


Hazel Creek at Hazel Creek CG


Stone wall at Hazel Creek CG


After Hazel Creek Campground, I headed down south, kinda towards Poplar Bluff, to a campground called Markham Springs. The area holds an historic concrete and native stone house built in the 1930s on a hillside overlooking a spring-fed pond. The house was restored in the summer of 2010, and can be rented at certain times throughout the year. An old waterwheel mill built for electricity also stands on the property.

Fuchs House reflecting in Markham Spring Pond


Fall reflections in the spring pond


Old waterwheel and spillway


From here, I headed east towards Van Buren, stopping at Pinewoods Lake Rec Area along the way.

Fall reflections on Pinewoods Lake


Pinewoods Lake fishing pier


When I arrived in Van Buren, I had planned to stop at the Ozark National Scenic Riverways visitor center, and also visit the Watercress Campground there. But I arrived after the visitor center had closed, and the road leading down into the campground was also closed. But, there was a hiking trail that led down the hill to the campground, so I was able to check it out and gather some pictures. I had also planned to camp here for the night, but since the campground was closed, I didn’t know what I was going to do.

Boardwalk along the Current River


Current River access at Watercress


From Watercress CG, I headed just down the road to Big Spring, which is the largest spring in Missouri and the Ozarks, and also the largest spring the country, plus is in the top ten largest in the entire world. Kasie and I have been here before, but it has been a while, and I did not have any good pictures from before. I stopped at the spring for a while, taking pictures, then explored the rest of the park area.

Big Spring


Big Spring


Big Spring


Big Spring


When I drove back into the campground, I was a little surprised to find that one section of the campground was still open, and that there were people camping there. The electricity was still turned on, and after Oct 15, camping is free! So, this is where i spent the night. I still had just enough daylight left, so I drove down the road about 10 miles to check out a swimming/primitive camping area on the Current River, grabbed a few pictures, then headed back to the Big Spring campground for the night. It was a long but good day!
Day three comes tomorrow…

Missouri State Historic Sites

Well, I was able to get out again on Sunday and Monday for a little more exploring. I was out with friends for a birthday dinner at Red Lobster in Springfield on Saturday night and got home late, so I didn’t get going until just after 10 on Sunday morning. Since I had two days, I decided to head up near St. Louis and then down towards Cape Girardeau, hitting some places that were pretty far away from home.
My first stop was at Mastodon State Historic Site, which is the site of a dig where fossils and bones from the Pleistocene Ice Age (10,000 – 14,000 years ago) and the Clovis Indians have been found, including several mastodon bones. There is a museum, hiking trails, picnicking and more offered here.

Mastodon skeleton on display in the museum


A pine tree stands next to a bench at the overlook


Next, I traveled to Sandy Creek Covered Bridge SHS, just a few miles south. This is one of four remaining covered bridges left in Missouri. The red bridge with white fence leading up to it are in a picture perfect setting, along with a nice area for picnicking and relaxing.

Sandy Creek Covered Bridge


A view of the covered bridge from Sandy Creek


Inside the bridge


Next, I traveled to Ste Genevieve to stop and view the Felix Valle House SHS, but was not able to arrive before they closed, so I only got pictures from the outside. There are also numerous other old houses and buildings in Ste Genevieve, some dating back into the 1700s. The small town has great charm.

Felix Valle House, ca. 1818


Felix Valle House


Dr. Benjamin Shaw House


From there, I continued south towards Cape Girardeau, stopping at Trail of Tears State Park, just north of town, for the night. I was just about dark when I arrived, so I was not able to gather any pictures until morning. Before sunrise, I headed to an overlook on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, and was able to watch the sunrise and grab a few pictures of it. Then I explored the park for a bit, gathering more pictures, then headed on to my next destination.

Sunrise along the Mississippi River


Looking upstream on the Mississippi


Sunrise reflection over the water


Picnic table with a view!


Trail of Tears National Historic Trail


Next up was Bollinger Mill SHS, which also included Burfordville Covered Bridge. This mill is placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the covered bridge is one of only four left in the entire state.

Bollinger Mill


Burfordville Covered Bridge


Inside the mill


A beautiful picnic site


From there I headed on over to Amidon Conservation Area, which is where the Castor River Shut-Ins is located. While the shut-ins are not as big as Johnson’s Shut-Ins, they are just as beautiful. Even though it has been pretty dry lately, there was still a decent amount of water flowing through the shut-ins.

Overlooking the Castor River Shut-Ins


Castor River Shut-Ins


Small cascade in the shut-ins


Castor River


After fueling up in Fredericktown, my next stop was Marble Creek Campground in the Mark Twain National Forest. Marble Creek, which flows beside the campground, had many neat boulders strewn about, and there was an old dam spanning the creek as well.

Boulders strewn about in Marble Creek


Marble Creek


Fall colors along the creek


Next up was Fort Davidson SHS in Ironton, MO. This was the site of a fort and small battle during the Civil War.

Cannon inside the Fort Davidson Visitor Center


Big gun overlooking the battlefield


From there, I headed on over to check out Council Bluff Lake, also in the middle of the National Forest. This is a small but beautiful lake, with clear, blue waters, and lots of opportunities to camp, hike, canoe, swim, fish, picnic and just enjoy the scenery, especially on a fall day like is was Monday.

Playground overlooking the lake


Picnic area overlooking the lake


Fall colors starting to show along the shore of Council Bluff Lake


Next, I visited Dillard Mill SHS. This historic mill is located near Davisville, which is south of Cuba and east of Salem.

Dillard Mill


Dillard Mill overlooking Huzzah Creek


Water spilling over the dam


Dillard Mill


Red Bluff Campground in the Mark Twain National Forest was my last stop of the day before heading home.

Red Bluff Campground in the fall


Huzzah Creek


Camping on the bluff overlooking Huzzah Creek Valley

Missouri State Parks

Yesterday was Kasie’s birthday, and since she had the day off, she decided to tag along with my dad and me as I traveled up near the St. Louis area to snag some pictures of some of the state parks in the area that I have not been to yet. We traveled to six state parks, and they all were beautiful. The leaves were just starting to turn colors; I have noticed that around the St. Louis area and south towards Poplar Bluff, the leaves start to turn just a little sooner than they do here in the southwest part of the state. If a person had the time, you could extend the fall colors by starting up there when they peak, then work your way south and west through this part of the state, down thru Arkansas, and eventually into the Ouachitas of southeast Oklahoma and southwest Arkansas. Hmm…, maybe someday.

Anyway, the first park we visited was Montauk State Park, near Houston, MO. Located at Montauk is one of the state’s five trout hatcheries. The old Montauk Mill is also preserved within the park. The head of the Current River is in Montauk State Park, beginning with Montauk Spring, and flows south to start the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

The next park we hit was St. Francois State Park, located near Bonne Terre, MO, south of St. Louis. This was also a beautiful park, and preserves a very scenic portion of Coonville Creek, which is also a Natural Area. Many refugees hid out in this area during the Civil War, and many old timers remember the moonshine stills that gave Mooners Hollow its name, which Coonville Creek runs through.

Our third stop was at Washington State Park, near De Soto, MO. The main attraction/focus of this park is ancient Indian petroglyphs, or rock carvings. Also, beautiful stone architecture of the parks buildings was built by the CCC in the 1930s, which add to the rustic feel of the park.

Park #4 was Robertsville State Park, located in Robertsville, MO, just west of St. Louis. This a city park located along the upper Meramec River that has now become a Missouri State Park. It is a quiet, peaceful location, and a perfect place for those who just want to get out of the big city. I think it would be a great setting for camp for a few days while exploring the rest of the area close by.

The last two parks we stopped at were Onondaga Cave State Park and Meramec State Park. Both have show caves with guided tours available, but we did not have the time to see them this trip. Oh well, maybe next time. the campgrounds at both parks were very nice, especially Meramec SP. Both parks are also located along the Meramec River, which is a very popular float and fishing stream. Great for swimming, too.

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