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11 Point

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.

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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 male Salem cave crayfish setting right out in the open.

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As mentioned earlier, up to this point the river was fairly small and warm.  This all changed abruptly with the addition Greer 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. 

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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.

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River camp

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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

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