Alley Springs is a very neat place. It's an old grist mill and most of the original machinery remains in tact. The NPS has taken over the old mill as part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The Alley Springs mill was very high tech in its day. It used the spring water to power a turbine wheel vs water wheel to make the mill work. Also the mill changed the whole economy of the region. White flour or "fancy" flour was milled here. The bran and shaft of the wheat which retain moisture were separated from the wheat creating the white flour. Because the bran was removed the white flour did not retain moisture and thus lasted much longer. This allowed the farmers to grow less wheat and eventually it became cheaper to buy "fancy flour". The farmers turned to logging instead of crop growing and eventually the area was completely logged out. At one time Alley Springs had a population of over 3000. Once the area was logged out the population dwindled. Forest restoration was implemented in the area so today there are stands of new growth trees. Originally Alley Springs was a state park but now is part of the NPS encompassing the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
Alley Springs Mill (on the upper right)
Old school room.
Old school room.
Max, Claudia, Mark, Judy, Joanne, and Geraldine at the Alley Spring overlook.
Maniac Mike joined us. Can't miss his rig.
Local family enjoying the Jacks Fork
The Jacks Fork river
Peter and Caroline enjoying lunch. Actually they were too lazy to get out of the Kayaks and join the rest of us
Funny hats and glasses. Explanation:
When one "dumps" while on a WIN float they get the hat. They keep it until someone else dumps. Mark originally had the hat and it was passed on to Corey when she dumped. Then it went to Nancy; then to Caroline: then to Maniac Mike (who it was rumored was willing to pay someone to dump) ;then to Caroline again and then to Geraldine. Geraldine will end up keeping the hat until next NARKSMO.Did you get all that!! Well yours truly NEVER dumps because I am an excellent paddler and I hate to bale out water.
We did two floats on the Jack Fork river. The first float was pretty short with lots of beautiful scenery with high bluffs and wildlife. There were more "riffles" and challenges than on the previous floats. The river was high so not too many rapids, but we did use more paddling skills then previously. We put in at Bates and put out at the ramp at Alley Springs. Some went on to Eminence but I chose to stay behind and help shuttle cars. Its quite a feat organizing 12-13 kayaks, gear and people and enough drivers and cars.
The second float was a little longer, almost 14 miles. We put in at Alley Springs and put out at Two Rivers. This time we had Harvey's Canoe Rentals pick us up at the landing site ..kayaks, gear, and tired bodies for $10.00 per person. What a deal!! No shuttles. We had a great time on the river playing, swimming and some had water gun fights. Some of the locals thought us a little strange..after all..what a site..a bunch of grey haired people acting like high school kids. It was a great ending to the last float of NARKSMO.
Peter having fun with his water gun. Some beautiful river river ducks.
On the last day I decided to do a little exploring and took a side trip to Power Mills. It is river access place but also a trail head for the Ozark Trail. The Ozark Trail is not finished yet, but I had the opportunity to hike a few miles. It's obviously a very old trail and with the high precipitation the trail is very narrow and in places over grown. I found it a very stark contrast to the trails in the Sierras because of it is quite primitive. I didn't see a soul during the time I hike this short segment which overlooked the Current River.
I'm really impressed with the Missouri people. I have noted at the past few campgrounds there have actually been more tent or tent trailer camping than RV camping. The majority of spaces are occupied by families and sometimes multiple families. It brings back memories of my young family and all of the camping we used to do at Big Sur out of tents and our old Chevy Wagon.
OK, you're probably wondering what's with the picture of Sadie and the green stuff on her head. Well, the park is very heavily forested and brushy. The camping spaces are mowed but the rest is left natural. There are bunny rabbits everywhere eating the clover and grass. Sadie has to be tethered but her tether is long enough she can still reach the unmowed area. The first day she sheepishly came out of the bush wearing a green hat. I couldn't help but laugh and take her picture. The bunny rabbits learned very quickly that Sadie couldn't chase them then and would torment her to no end. However, I did make up for it and Sadie did get a swim in the river almost everyday...this is her very favorite thing to do.
I've enjoyed NARKSMO (Northern Arkansas Southern Missouri)and would like to complete the curcuit again some time. There is much to see and do. The Ozark Scenic Riverway is truly a special place. I left early this morning to head to Sedalia again and will be enjoying the Scott Joplin Ragtime festival for a few days. I'm staying at the Fairgrounds and am praying that what ever rain that falls will be kind to me and that I will not get stuck again. I'm looking forward to the Katy Trail and exploring the old town of Sedalia.