One of many river trips taken this
summer was on the Eleven
Point National Scenic River
here in Missouri. My friend Brian
and I had quite a few days available to us so we decided to go ahead and paddle the river all the way until it enters Arkansas. The first third of the river was rather small and warm, and although scenic in some
areas, it wasn’t what I had heard about or expected. This was not a problem
for me though, as this turned out to be the most exciting part of the trip.
Along the way we ran into a group
of cavers that were also floating the river and exploring the many caves along its banks.
I found this a bit depressing due to the fact I had not brought any caving equipment and I was well within the range
of the Salem Cave Crayfish, a species I had not yet seen.
My despair was soon dismissed though. We happened along this nice looking spring that that warranted further exploration.
Upon climbing up to the spring in order
to fill my water bottle, I noticed a glowing white object setting just inside the large crack in which the spring was flowing
from. As I got a closer look, I could hardly believe my luck, a perfect adult
cave crayfish setting right out in the open.
As mentioned earlier, up to this point
the river was fairly small and warm. This all changed abruptly with the addition
Spring. Greer is the fourth largest
spring in the state of Missouri discharging 88-90 million gallons of water a
day. We made a detour and waded with our canoes up into the giant spring where
we were rewarded with the sight of a huge white-tailed buck feeding on watercress in the middle of the spring.
The river completely changed character
with the addition if Greer Spring. It was now frigid cold, large, and fast.
One evening while settling for the night
on a gravel bar, I wanted to get a river camp photograph. While setting up my
tripod and camera for the shot, my ugly, freshly shaven dog, Quinn, plopped right down in the middle of the scene.
There were many photographable springs
along the way, eleven actually, but there wasn’t time enough to do them all justice.
An old spring mill