To keep our adventures continuing , we head off the tops of the St. Francois Mountains and drop down into the valleys below to chase the crystal clean spring waters of the Missouri Ozarks . I had been told by a friend that this next place was something worth checking out, Pickle Springs.
The area is a 256 acre designated natural area owned by the Missouri Department Of Conservations. The name Pickle dates back to the original owner of the land, William Pickle, who acquired the land in 1848. Pickle was originally from England and had immigrated to the U.S. in 1842.
We did a short 2 mile hike on the Trail Through Time and 2 side trails marked with a red and brown trail marker. The area is mainly Lamotte sandstone left from the shallow ocean that existed here 500 million years ago.
There are over 250 plant species and more than 20 species of fish. The canyon walls also support over 40 species of liverworts. We got lucky I think, we hit this right after 3 days of rain so Pickle Creek was flowing pretty good.
This next short trip we did was in the 1630 acre Amidon Memorial Conservation Area, also known as the Castor River Shut-Ins or Pink Rocks.
This area is also ran by the Missouri Department Of Conservations. I had been wanting to visit this place for a long time by word of mouth and pictures I have saw online. The granite here is the best I have saw in the Ozarks, very pink in color.
There are potholes drilled in the granite in the shut-ins caused when small rocks get deposited into a depression in the bedrock. As the rocks swirl around it forms a hole known as a “pothole”. There is one short maintained loop trail, maybe 1 or 2 miles total and some unmarked access trails.
We explored the shut-ins mainly as Gabi loves water and wanted to go for a swim, had lunch and hiked back out.
We also visited a bunch of other places over the summer in the Ozarks while on the Ozark Trail. Like Big Spring, it is one of the largest springs in the USA and world with the average flow of 286 million gallons of water per day.
Blue Spring was the most vivid blue colored water my eyes have ever seen. The color is caused by the dissolving limestone, depth of the spring and the reflection of the sky. It is the 6th largest spring in Missouri and produces around 90 million gallons of water per day.
Rocky Falls was another place we passed, it is actually on the Ozark Trail, so no side trip was needed. I can not think of another waterfall in Missouri that is better than Rocky Falls.
Not to far away on Rocky Creek and still on the trail is Klepzig Mill. A small turbine mill built in 1928 by Walter Klepzig, hense the name.
And I will save the best for last, my favorite place we explored this year, Greer Spring.
The upper spring flows out of a cave and the lower spring
boils out of the earth adding 222 million gallons of water total per day to the Eleven Point River.