Friday, July 01, 2011


One year Carole and I pulled the travel trailer halfway across the continent to Missouri. Our goal was to visit all of the first magnitude springs on the Ozark plateau. We didn't know what to expect, exactly, but we were expecting something along the lines of the kinds of outdoor experiences we have in Florida on the big springs there.

But it was different.

First of all, most of the springs in Missouri are highly protected, so there's no swimming or snorkeling allowed in the main springs or even in the spring runs in many cases. Also, while the water exiting these springs is beautiful, it's not like the crystal clear water you see in Florida. In the Ozarks, the water is passing through vast limestone channels underground and when it emerges that water is packed with dissolved limestone. So the water--while pure--has a sometimes green or blue tint to it.

The water gushes out of a cliff face at Big Spring, Missouri. Arguably the highest volume spring in North America.

We were glad to have experienced these springs (we saw most of the ones on our list), but they were all the kinds of places that satisfied my curiosity with a single trip. It's one place we likely will not revisit.

The main spring at Big Springs.

This was our campsite for a week. Missouri was--in a word--HOT!

I expected see something at least nearly mountainous in the Ozarks. However, this section of the plateau offers very little in the way of vertical relief. This panorama was the closest we came to anything like the kinds of views we have here in the southern Appalachians.

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