The Autumn Adventures of Ozark Bill Continues – Mark Twain National Forest

During the first day of our short vacation this fall, Sarah and I took the winding, yet scenic Hwy 19 south.  Always a nice drive, it is particularly attractive in autumn.  About halfway through the drive the sky opened up on us, but I did use this opportunity to find a few new places and at least get them on the ol’ GPS.  This stretch of highway contains many potential destinations and we have only begun making real visits or hikes into most of these.  Later, we went back to a place I’ve had on my radar for quite some time, the “Virgin Pine Forest”.  This amounts to a strip of apparently virgin shortleaf pine, many of which are over 200 years old, on both sides of the road.  The wind was very strong here so I let the pines tell their story…

“Screaming Pines″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF17-40mm f/4L USM @ 27mm, ISO 100,  f/13, 2 sec

Just a short drive from the town of Steelville lies the aptly-named “Red Bluff Recreation Area”.  I have seen photographs of this place and it was as beautiful in person.  Carved over time by Huzzah Creek, these bluffs get their color from the high amounts of iron oxide in the limestone.  This spot was almost indescribable.  Incredibly peaceful and full of singing birds, the first thing I did was take off my shoes and pants and wade into the river to make this picture.  At times like these my city-slicker feet never fail to disappoint me.  Each step was painful and it was then that I realized my mitochondria training regimen was getting me nowhere.  Anyway, this place has lots that would make a return trip worth the drive, including a natural arch and the ruins of an old grist mill site.  Definitely a place on my “return to” list.

“Red Bluff – Autumn 2012″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM @ 28mm, ISO 100,  f/14, 1/5 sec

Continuing on Hwy 19, south of Winona is another of our favorite visited spots – Falling Spring.  This spot is out of the way and if the spring is flowing, will never disappoint.  My mind’s eye pictured better autumn colors than were actually found, but it is always a treat to find that vandals have not completely taken the old structure down.

“Falling Spring – Autumn 2012″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM @ 45mm, ISO 100,  f/11, 2.5 sec

Further west in south-central Missouri Sarah and I visited the Hodgson Water Mill located on Bryant Creek.  This picturesque mill is still in business as a museum/store.  The spring discharges from a cave just behind the building and its 24 million gallons per day powered two underwater turbines for milling operations.

“Hodgson Water Mill – Autumn 2012″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF17-40mm f/4L USMEF17-40mm f/4L USM @ 24mm, ISO 100,  f/14, 1/6 sec

So that’s a little more from our splendid autumn Ozark trip from 2012.  I still have a few images to share and will hopefully post some in the near future.  I’m quite thankful that there are so many nicely written books available with descriptions of these locations.  I use these books quite often and one of these days I will list them in a post.

The Mark Twain National Forest contains near 1.5 million acres across the Missouri Ozarks.  Make some time to pay a visit, as it belongs to us all, except the areas that are logged… ;=)

“Mark Twain National Forest – Autumn 2012″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF17-40mm f/4L USM @ 37mm, ISO 160,  f/9, 1/5 sec

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3 thoughts on “The Autumn Adventures of Ozark Bill Continues – Mark Twain National Forest

  1. How is it possible that in nearly 31 years of living in the Ozarks I have yet to see Red Bluff RA and Hodgson Mill?! Criminal! Red Bluff, especially, makes me squirm in my seat with desire.

    A word from Thoreau on “Screaming Pines”:

    “Strange that so few ever come to the woods to see how the pine lives and grows and spires, lifting its evergreen arms to the light, — to see its perfect success; but most are content to behold it in the shape of many broad boards brought to market, and deem that its true success! But the pine is no more lumber than man is, and to be made into boards and houses is no more its true and highest use than the truest use of a man is to be cut down and made into manure. There is a higher law affecting our relation to pines as well as to men. A pine cut down, a dead pine, is no more a pine than a dead human carcass is a man. Can he who has discovered only some of the values of whalebone and whale oil be said to have discovered the true use of the whale? Can he who slays the elephant for his ivory be said to have “seen the elephant”? These are petty and accidental uses; just as if a stronger race were to kill us in order to make buttons and flageolets of our bones; for everything may serve a lower as well as a higher use. Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine-trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.” [The Maine Woods]

    Wow. Love that man.

  2. Thanks Stephen. Another awesome bit of HDT. Red Bluff is seriously something special and I haven’t even seen most of it yet. A definite potential place for an excursion sometime.

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