Friday, October 24, 2008

Blanchard Springs

From Gunner Pool, I drove just a few miles to the east towards Blanchard Springs. This place is a busy spot in the Ozark National Forest, where many people take the tour into the caverns to explore all the cave formations there. I've only taken the tour of the caverns once, when I was a kid, but have taken many trips up here since then to explore the area where the springs make a nice little waterfall.

During the Depression, the CCC built a dam along the creek formed by the springwater. The dam was built next to the ruins of an old mill, and I headed down to that area for a few pictures. The mill was a two-story building made of oak and hikory that operated from 1900 to 1928. The mill was partially rebuilt by the CCC in 1942, and thier work remains to this day.
Mitchell Mill

A boardwalk stretches out along the hill above the mill, which gives some nice views of the creek below.
Blanchard Springs

There is a trail that you can take from the boardwalk, which takes you down to the creek and the mill ruins. I managed to slip only once on a wet rock, and made it to the dam. Since this is fed by a spring that runs year-round, it is one of the few places in the state that you can find waterfalls any time of the year. I set the camera up near the dam, and got this shot of the many waterfalls that tumble and fall by the base of the dam.
Under the dam

And here is a shot of the old mill, in an area filled with poison ivy.
Mitchell Mill

And one more shot of the boardwalk...
Fall at the boardwalk

There is a small walkway that extends out towards the dam. I'd guess it was put there for people to fish from. But it does give a nice place to take pictures of the waterfall streaming off of the dam.
Mirror Lake dam

From there it was just a very short drive to the Blanchard Springs trail...
The way to Blanchard Springs

The trail is very short, and ends where the springs shoot out in a neat little waterfall.
Blanchard Springs

Blanchard Springs

The water is amazingly clear, and there are tons of mossy rocks along the creek.
Blanchard Springs

Blanchard Springs

Although the water looks to be clear, it isn't all that clean. Before it shoots out of this waterfall, it passes by a few caverns that are the homes of several bat colonies. With the bats, you also get bat waste, so the water is contaminated with poo.
Blanchard Springs

While out there, I managed to drop my lenscap in the water. Luckily it didn't get caught by the current, but I did have to fish it out of the water. I did try to disinfect it the best I could when I got home.
Mossy

Blanchard Springs

It was starting to get too dark to take pictures, so I was only able to get a few more shots before it was time to head home.
Blanchard Springs

Blanchard Springs

The fall color should just be peaking this weekend, so it'll be another good time to take another road trip to the Ozarks...

2 comments:

Zack Andrews said...

Great shots man, I especially like the first waterfall shot. I didn't know Blanchard was such a great place, I'll have to make this trip also!

My list is growing, hopefully the gas prices will keep falling.

Cormackphotos said...

This is a great place to go, and since it runs year-round, you can visit any weekend you're free!