As I have started a new fill time job my outdoor times is increasingly limited. This weekend I finally got away and visited my beloved Ozarks. I headed down to photograph Greer, Turner, and Falling Springs. My first stop was at Falling Spring Mill in the Mark Twain National Forest.
This mill is built along side of a bluff where the spring issues from a crack. When last I visited in the early 1980's the flume from the top of the spring to the top of the overshoot wheel was still intact. It has since rotted away. The mill was in use until the early 1920's.
It is now protected by the US Forest Service and a major rehab of it will begin next week. The first time I tried to find this mill I spent two days without luck. Everyone knew just where it was but couldn't give accurate directions or I could not successfully follow their directions. I toured many many miles of rough forest service roads to no avail. A couple of months later I returned and again could not easily find it. I eventually stumbled across after I had once again given up hope and was trying to get unlost!
This is a view from behind the mill and the waterfall from the spring. In a couple of weeks this shot will not be possible as the flume will be replaced. The size of the mill is deceiving. The first floor is barely six feet high and the second story is only about 5 feet high. Inside the mill there are still several pieces of equipment.Next I headed over to the Turner Mill access on the Elevenpoint River. This is a stream I have not paddled in over 30 years. I must get back on it.Here you hike up a bit to a beautiful multi-outlet spring that is just beautiful. It is a hard one to photograph, though, because you cannot get a good angle on it.There once was a mill here as well as well as a church, school and post office. The school still stands but the rest of the buildings are long gone. All that remains of the mill is the gigantic (25 foot tall) mill overshot wheel.
As the day was about spent we headed to the nearest town, Winona, MO. There we stumbled on a very unique motel. We almost missed the sign.......
It is your typical low end mom and pop motel but the check in really surprised us. We were not asked for one piece of information.....no name, address, license number......nothing! Just given the key and told to pay up at the restaurant next store. Really Strange.
On Sunday it was a challenge to find breakfast as this is the bible belt and everything was closed. We managed to find some passable briskets and gravy at the local supermarket deli. Then off to our main objective of the trip....Greer Spring. This is just about the most beautiful place I have ever been. It is a short one mile hike into the spring. The story of this area is interesting to say the least. For most of the 20th century the Denning family owned the spring and 7000 acres surrounding it. They were good stewards of the natural treasure they had. It was protected, but they allowed visitors to go in and view it. It was quite interesting as Mrs. Denning would give you the rules, allow you one hour to view the spring and then keep you to the hour allotted.