Located in the south-central Missouri Ozarks, Bryant Creek drains approximately 600 square miles, nearly half of which is comprised of high quality pine and deciduous timberland. As is much of this part of Missouri, the remainder of this geography has been clear cut for use as cattle ground. Bryant Creek is a fascinating little waterway and makes a great companion to the North Fork of the White River, its nearby companion to which it ultimately feeds. I have not seen nearly enough of Bryant Creek or this section of the White River. Both Ozark streams provide homes for river otters and the critically endangered Ozark Hellbender population. Considered a losing stream, Bryant Creek is robbed of its limited water supply by the karst topography and several sections are often dry. Reversely, major flash floods can be a threat during heavy rains and this stream is often sought out by lovers of white water. During our autumn vacation, this view was along the roadside not too far from Hodgson Mill.
“Bryant Creek, Autumn 2012″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF17-40mm f/4L USM @ 24mm, ISO 100, f/11, 1/4 sec
One of the major sources of water into Bryant Creek and later, the North Fork comes from the discharge of the Hodgson Spring. Listed in the top 20 most productive Missouri springs, this spring powered the restored grist mill pictured here. Although no longer a working mill, its likeness is still used to sell stone ground, whole grain flours under the name Hodgson Mill.
“Hodgson Water Mill – Autumn 2012 II″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF17-40mm f/4L USM @ 33mm, ISO 100, f/11, 1/4 sec
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…
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