We left Florida Thursday, April 12 and stopped just for the night near Jasper, Alabama
to stay at Sleepy Holler RV "Resort". We spent a quiet evening indoors. You can see by the picture we were anxious to leave.
Our next stop was Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where we spent the weekend.
The threat of bad weather hampered our exploration, but we did manage to spend a great afternoon at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, which contains over 21,000 acres of wetlands and habitat for migrating and wintering water fowl.
It was spring in the Ozark Mountains. Although we missed the blossoms on the dogwoods, we still enjoyed other spring flowers. I am still trying to identify this beauty. They were plentiful.
Mingo has a series of canals to control the water levels within the refuge.
There was an awesome boardwalk through a cypress swamp.
We saw quite a few of these guys from the boardwalk. He was over two feet long.
There is an 18 mile drive through the refuge. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.
It was difficult to comprehend the vastness of the acreage.
If we're ever in the area, we'll return for another visit.
From Poplar Bluff, located on the very southern edge of the Missouri Ozark range, we moved north to Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park.
The park receives its odd name because the east fork of the Black River, which runs through the park, is confined in areas to narrow channels or "shut-ins"
forming a natural water park visited by thousands of people in the summer months.
In December, 2005, there was a breach in the dam above the park, causing a catastrophic flood which wiped out the park's campground and many if its facilities. You can see the rebuilt dam here as well as some of the scoured area below.
Huge boulders and tons of debris were carried down the valley in seconds. Amazingly, no one was lost in the disaster.
It took several years, but with a good settlement from the electrical company, a state of the art park and campground now replaces the one that was ruined. This is the nicest state park campground we have ever seen. See the big cement patio? Even the "primitive" campsites have them!
There are beautiful details throughout the park's facilities.
We spent some time on the Ozark Trail, which runs through the area.
It's hard to beat a spring day spent hiking in the woods seeing hundreds of butterflies,
We went to nearby Taum Sauk Mountain
and set our feet on the highest elevation in the state of Missouri.
Each evening we returned to Bauxite Betsy
enjoyed our evening meal
and sat outside by our own private "babbling" brook.
Just a little window into my world!
We'll talk to you soon.