“I hope I can be the autumn leaf, who looked to the sky and lived. And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.” – Dodinsky
The temp today was supposed to be in the 60s today and if it wasn’t it was close. I was to meet a high school friend and we were going to kick back and enjoy an autumn day. We met up around 10 a.m. both of us needing a “do nothing” day. Silver Mines is the kind of place where one can do that. It offers so much in the way of nature that it is impossible for someone who loves nature to leave without their spirit fully charged.
We had just camped here the week before. We got a lot of rain Sunday night and the river level had came up. The water is usually very clear but today it was stained. The leaves were starting to change to their autumn colors. By this weekend I think they are going to be in their full autumn colors.
There are so many things you can do. Kayaking, fishing, hiking and camping. Daily picnic sites are available. The trails on both sides of the river are rocky and rough. I would rate them as hard. You can make a loop but you have to cross the damn to do so. It can get pretty crowded on the weekends so I limit my visits to the week days where you are pretty much by yourself. Flash floods can be a problem in the spring.
We headed home around 3:30. On the way out I saw the camp ground hosts. They told me the powers that may be notified them that they were going to close the gates November 7 for winter. They have already turned the water off so if you camp in this last week be sure to bring some water with you.
“A river cuts through rock not because of its power but because of its persistence.” – Jim Watkins
Too many times we fall short of what we were trying to achieve in life because we simply gave up. Our life is littered with events that test our fortitude. We have a choice to give up or be like the river. How we face these obstacles determines if we succeed or fail.
“The river is constantly turning and bending and you never know where it’s going to go and where you wind up. Following the bend in the river and staying on your own path means that you are on the right track. Don’t let anyone deter you from that.”-Eartha Kitt
Life is much like the river. Full of turns and bends leaving us to wonder what’s next and where we are going. We are just along for the ride letting it take us where it may go. As long as we maintain control of our vessel things will work out and we will reach the deep calm waters at the end of the rapids.
On October 18, a good friend of mine met me at the Silver Mines Conservation Area. This area is named for the abandoned “Einstein Mine” where in 1870 was used to mine silver, tungsten and lead up until 1946 when the mine was closed. The area is known for its Precambrian granite and felsite rocks.
After a brief visit we began setting up camp. I had brought my Bushnell one man tent and Clarry opted for a hammock and tarp. I was amazed with the hammock setup. Clarry had it down to a science. When he was done setting up it looked very inviting. It was only his third time at setting it up. The temps got down into the upper 30s and he discovered some things he would do differently the next time.
After breakfast we decided down the dam on the St Francis river. It was built when they were mining the area. The trail actually goes across the dam to get to the other side of the trail and we thought about trying it but we were going to have to wade to do it and we decided against it.
We talked to another camper who had done it and he told us about two graves on the other side marked by two wooden crosses and the mine entrance was on the other side too but it had been closed off. The trail was pretty rocky and in places you had to climb over big rocks and because of my ankle not being fully healed we didn’t walk the entire trail and headed back to camp. When back at camp we sat around the campfire talking and we had a surprise visitor.
It was a great time. Trees were just starting to color and in another week should be in full color. We pretty much had the place to ourselves. We did meet a gentleman there who came all the way from Chicago to a camp a couple of days. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous. It would be hard not to feel at peace with yourself while you were here. If you are looking for a place to camp where you can enjoy nature I highly recommend Silver Mines. It is located near Fredericktown, MO off highway D. In the spring when the river level is up they have kayak races.
A year ago today I was rolled into the operating room for a complete ankle replacement. It had been over 40 years since I had taken a step without pain. My doctor said this would take care of that but the healing process would take a year to a year and a half to be fully healed. So the journey began.
I have to admit the first three days I was in intense pain and the pain pills did very little to alleviate the pain. On the fourth day I got some relief but I was still in a lot of pain. I was beginning to wonder if I had made the right choice.
I was on crutches longer than was expected because when he went to secure my new ankle to the leg bone the bone splintered and an extra screw was needed and the bone had to mend before I could put weight on it.
I received a new cast and then eventually a walking boot. There was still quite a bit of pain and I was experiencing a lot of swelling but I was on the road to recovery.
Six months went by then eight and then ten. I was still experiencing pain but there had been some progress.
I finally got where I could walk fairly well on flat ground but an incline or uneven ground was a challenge. After 11 months I still had pain at times but it was much better. I was really beginning to wonder if I made the right decision.
I finally made a decision to try the Blue Emu Oil with hemp and see if it would help. To my surprise it was quite effective and the pain began to melt away. I could actually walk without pain.
After a year I went down memory lane revisiting the ups and downs. I will admit that just 3 weeks ago I was wondering if the surgery had been worth it. Yes it was. It’s great to be able to walk without pain. I still have pain at times but I am confident in saying I will be fully recovered in the next six months.
After all the ups and downs it has been worth the pain to get to where I am today. I have started fly fishing again and hope to take my first big hike this weekend. If I had it to do all over again I would make the same choice. I no longer suffer from chronic pain.