Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Van Buren, MO May 19-26

One the way to our next stop, Van Buren, MO, we stopped at Mammoth Springs, AR, and Grand Gulf State Park, MO.
Here is Mammoth Springs. The reason you don't see the normal fast water or bubbles like most natural springs is because this spring is 70 feet below the surface. This spring is one of the top 10 producing springs in the world, producing 9 million gallons of water per hour.

Here is the dam, built in the early 1900s. It powered an hydroelectric plant until 1972 when the cost to repair or replace a broken turbine became too costly. At one time there was also a mill which was also powered by the dam.

Next to the spring was this train depot. No longer in service it is now a museum, but the museum was closed so we didn't get to go in.

Grand Gulf State Park is part of the water source for Mammoth Springs. It is located about 9 miles north of Mammoth Springs. They have put dye in the water and they have watched the dyed water show up in the spring downstream. Most of the water is part of the underground water table and is not above ground. Grand Gulf is called by Missouri 'the grand canyon of Missouri'. It is actually a collapsed cave system. This is one area which now is only a sink hole, but was once covered and part of the cave. There are trails and one trail goes out along a bluff which is actually now a natural bridge where some of the cave ceiling still stands.


But finally we arrived at Big Springs Campground, Van Buren, MO. Both the Current River and the Jack Forks River are part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. These rivers were the first rivers in the U.S. to be so dedicated.


At Big Spring we kayaked first by going upriver.

The Current River doesn't have the bluffs like the Buffalo, but is still pretty in its own way. The river was not as high as we saw on the Buffalo either.


Here we are at the end of our second kayak trip. We floated about 9 miles from the campground downriver where we had shuttled our pickup vehicles.

Cory gets the kayak hat. Each year a special hat is made to be given to those who dump their kayaks on the river. I mean, we are supposed to keep the open side up, right! She took off on what looked like a faster, narrower river split, but actually it narrowed down to almost nothing and she had to portage (drag) her kayak back to the beginning of the split. In the process she fell in the water and with this group, anytime anyone goes in the water while kayaking, even if it is getting in and out of their kayak, we give them the award. But you only get to keep the hat until the next person dumps.

Over Memorial Day there were festivals in Van Buren and also Fremont. We stopped in Van Buren first, but went to the parade in Fremont. One of the rangers at the park was carrying the flag in the parade and she invited us to the festival.

It was more of an old time festival. Here are a group of ladies dressed as they would have been in pioneer days, attending a gospel sing.


This tent reminded me of a Mountan Man exposition. There was clothing of all kinds in the style of the 1800s. Also available were accessories such as travel bags, old pipes, dishes, etc.

There was music.

Even a candy cannon. When it fired it sent candy all over the field for the kids to collect.

Some ladies were weaving and spinning.

I couldn't wait to eat this onion flower.

Appropriately this float led the parade for Memorial Day.

They had all sizes of vehicles and all ages in the parade.


Here is the ranger riding her horse and carrying the flag.


And here we are waving our flags.


We were camped at Big Spring Campground and here is where it gets its name. This spring is also one of the top producing springs in the world. It produces an average 152 million gallons per day but has produced as much as 840 million gallons per day (that would be over 20 million gallons per hour).


We hiked to the spring, over the hill and to the lodge. About a 4 mile round trip. On the return trip we took a route over the top of the hill which had a 400 foot elevation gain in less than 1/2 mile. Not the steepest I've climbed by far, but steeper than most of my hikes.


The lodge. It is now a restaurant and the office for all the cabin rentals in the park.


Just outside was this little fawn hiding in the tall grass next to the tree. It finally realized we had seen it and it fled.

1 comment:

Barbara and Ron said...

Great capture of the fawn!