Sunday, November 6, 2016

Big Spring, Missouri

One of the best photography trips I've ever been on was a short visit to southeast Missouri in 2012 with Zack Andrews. It was a spur-of-the-moment trip, and we headed up there without much planning. We left after work, and arrived at the Big Spring Campground at night. When we woke up early the next morning, we realized that we had somehow managed to get there right at the peak of fall color. We stayed the weekend, visiting some great spots around the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. It was amazing, and I knew that we had somehow lucked into getting there when the fall colors and the weather were perfect (if we had tried to plan it, we probably would have messed it up somehow).

I had some time off from work, so we decided to make a return visit to Missouri. There were a few spots up there that we missed during the last trip, so why not go back? I knew that we wouldn't be as lucky with the fall colors, but it is an amazingly beautiful area that is always worth visiting. So I packed up the car, and we again drove north into Missouri. And again, we got there late at night and were eager to see what the fall colors would be like in the morning.

We camped at Big Spring, which is one of the more popular campgrounds in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The ONSR is a part of the National Park Service, and protects parts of the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers. Just before sunrise, we headed over to the actual Big Spring, which as the name suggests is a huge and massive spring.



Big Springs is not only the largest spring in the Ozarks, it's also one of the largest freshwater springs in the world. Every day, an average of 276 million gallons of water pour out of a hole at the bottom of a bluff. The spring instantly creates a river, which flows a short distance into the Current River.


The water at the spring is a bright shade of blue, thanks to suspended particles of limestone. In fact the rushing water is cutting through the limestone and creating a deep cave. Every day, up to 70 tons of dissolved limestone is carried away by the spring.


Thanks to the constant stream of water, the rocks surrounding the spring are covered by a thick carpet of moss.


The fall colors were a little past peak (our timing wasn't as great this time), but it was still well worth the four hour drive to Missouri. This is a spectacular spot and I took a bunch of pictures here.


Near the Spring is this old cabin, so we made another stop and went to take a few more pictures.


After taking a bunch of pictures, we decided it was time to move on and visit a few other places. This part of southeast Missouri is filled with springs. Unfortunately they aren't all close together so it takes a bit of driving to reach everything. But along the way, we passed a neat looking barn so we stopped the car and went to investigate.



And a heart-shaped hole on the weathered wooden door that sat along the dogtrot breezeway on the barn.


And a small pine tree, growing by the side of the barn. The varying shades of color in the needles made an interesting contrast to the weathered gray of the barn wood.


After that we continued driving on, heading towards another Spring. More pictures coming soon!

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