Monday, May 30, 2011

Silver Mines and Mill Stream Gardens

Yes, we are still in Missouri. Our plans are to leave on Wednesday for Indiana. On Saturday my sister Julia and her husband Cal, as well as their daughter Katie and her boyfriend, and sister Linda visited us in Farmington. We drove with them to Silver Mines and Mill Stream Gardens to do some hiking. The two areas are in Mark Twain National Forest, one of the most beautiful locations in Missouri. It is here that the St.Frances River cuts a rugged canyon through granite bluffs. Silver Mines was once the location of a busy mining district at the turn of the twentieth century. Remnants of the old mine and and dam are still present.
The only white water in Missouri is here at the St.Frances River. While we were hiking along the river, we stopped to watch a man navigate his kyack through a section of rapids. As you can see in the picture, this area is full of large boulders. It was necessary for us to do some rock scrambling while hiking through this forest. Parts of the river at this point do look a bit like Johnson's Shut Ins. Julia and Katie could not resist the cool flowing water and did stick their feet into Tiemann Shut Ins at Mill Stream Gardens.
The St. Frances is currently quite swollen from recent rains. All that water seems to have attracted a large in- flux of gnats. If we wanted to avoid eating them with our lunch, it was necessary to eat in the car. While we were eating lunch I happened to look out at a patch of honeysuckle and observe a beautiful swallowtail butterfly who was quite busy flitting among its flowers. He would not stop to pose for me so I captured him in action, which is why his wings appear a bit blurred in the picture.
 Another picture I took that day, and which I am proud of, is that of a large water snake. I had to lean over a bit on a high rocky river bluff to get his picture. He was catching a nap on a outlet pipe for the dam, which extended into the river. Certainly no one could disturb him there!

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