John Muir – “Father of the National Parks

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“The practical importance of the preservation of our forests is augmented by their relations to climate, soil and streams.” – John Muir

My blog today is about a man who every outdoorsman, or one who loves frequenting the National Parks, should know.  He was a naturalist, environmental philosopher, glaciologist and activist for the preservation of wilderness.  His name was John Muir.

John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland, on April 21, 1838 and died December 24, 1914.  He was also known as “John of the mountains” and “Father of the National Parks”.  He also founded the Sierra Club.  He was well known for his writing.  He published two articles about Wilderness Preservation in The Century Magazine that influenced the US Congress to establish Yosemite National Park in 1890.

“Only by going alone into silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness.  All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.” – John Muir

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The Muir family left Scotland in 1849 headed for America.  They started a farm near Portage, Wisconsin.  The farm was known as Fountain Lake Farm and it has been designated a National Historic Landmark.  He enrolled in University of Wisconsin – Madison at the age of 22 and in 1864 moved to Canada until 1866.  Indianapolis was his new home and he went to work in a wagon wheel factory.

In September of 1867 Muir began a 1,000 mile walk that started in Kentucky and ended in Florida.  You can read about his journey in his book A Thousand – Mile Walk to the Gulf.

“Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.” – John Muir

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John was very active his whole life trying to save the wilderness and was at home in nature.  Some controversy followed him concerning some of his activism, but his love for the outdoors prevailed.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Remember, spread the love.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

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Silver Mines Recreation Area

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Turkey Creek meets St. Francis River/Silver Mines

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” – John Muir  Our National Parks

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

I would like to share with you an area in Madison County Missouri located along the St. Francis River.  It is a piece of paradise named Silver Mines Recreation Area.  It is part of the old Einstein Mines where the Einstein Mining Company began mining silver, tungsten and lead in 1877 and ceased mining in 1946.  The area is known  for its Precambrian and felsite rocks.

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

Silver Mines offers a variety of recreational opportunities and is abundant with historical and geological wonders.  The St. Francis River is the only river in Missouri classified as a “white water” river.  It is very popular with kayakers during the spring high water.  Parts of the river are used for swimming, other parts are good fishing and the state holds an annual kayaking competition the third weekend of March, providing  the water levels are sufficient.  There is a two mile trail that follows both sides of the river with some breath taking views, for those addicted to hiking.

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

When I was younger we would meet my grandparents there and camp for the weekend.  I took a couple of walks down memory lane and I recalled all the good times we had there.  It was all tent camping and sometimes it got rough.  There were some great camp sites and the park was well maintained.  The area is alive with spectacular scenery and is occupied by many varieties of wildlife.

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St. Francis River near Fredericktown, MO

“In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks.” – John Muir

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out til sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” – John Muir

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

 

“Any fool can destroy trees.  They cannot run away; and if they could, they could, they would be destroyed – chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones.” – John Muir

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

Well I hope you enjoyed reading and I thank you for taking the time to do so.  We are blessed with some very nice state parks in Missouri and I tip my hat to the Missouri Conservation Department.  If you have never been here, be sure and put it on your bucket list.  Spread the Love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sanctuary

 

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“The gross heathenism of civilization has generally destroyed nature, and poetry, and all that is spiritual.” – John Muir

It was a little late in the evening when I decided to load the yak and do some fishing on the Big River.  I spent more time taking photos than fishing.  There was a hint of the approaching fall season on the leaves of the trees.  The temp however left one shaking their head in disbelief, as I did, wondering if we were going to bypass fall this year.  I could see that my sanctuary was preparing itself for a dance with autumn.

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“Fall has always been my favorite season.  The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”Lauren DeStefano, Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)

The river is my sanctuary.  I feel safe there.  I feel content and satisfied no matter how bad life has been to me.  You can talk to the river and if you listen very carefully you will here its answer manifested in the sounds of the rapids or the croaking bull frogs.  The river has been responsible for some great concerts in the past.  It usually starts with a choir of crickets and bull frogs, followed by the bass created by the beaver slamming its tail upon the water.   Then if you are lucky you will hear a pack of coyotes join in with their howl and high pitched yips.  If there is a full moon overhead reflecting its beautiful light upon the river; then it is a perfect night.

In my sanctuary I recharge my spirit and cleanse my soul.  I become one with the river.  If you learn to use Mother Nature’s river you will be surprised at what it can do for your self esteem.  If you have never meditated on the river you have no idea how you can really cleanse the garbage from your mind that you acquired by the negativity that tried to creep into your life.

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The next time you are on the river slow down and observe what really goes on.  Focus on all the wild life that lives within the banks of the river.  Do yourself a favor and even start keeping a Journal of your time on the river.  Notice how the riparian system works to make the river better.  There are so many things that work together to keep the river alive.  If you have never been on the river then by all means make plans to visit a river near you.

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As a point of clarification, I really do like all rivers even the big ones.  I prefer the Ozark streams to the Mississippi or the Missouri.  The Show Me State has been blessed with several pristine streams.  The Bourbeuse, Current, Jacks Fork, Meramec, Courtois, Black, Eleven Point just to name a few.

Now for the part that gets my panties in a wad and always will.  PUHLEASE!  Pack your trash out with you.  Don’t leave it laying around on the sand and gravel bars.  NEWS FLASH!!!!  One does not need a special permit to buy trash bags.  They are readily available and if you need instructions as how to use them I would be glad to give you instructions.  No one has ever reported any deaths that can be attributed to picking up your trash.

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“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

John Muir was known as “John of the Mountains” .  He loved the wilderness but had a special place in his heart for the mountains.  My friend David Tripp calls me the “river sage” which in return I usually give a pretty good chuckle.  I love the wilderness also but I call the river my sanctuary.

I want to thank everyone that took the time to read my blog.  Thank you.  (All photographs were taken by me.)

Spread the love!

 

 

 

Monsanto Lake

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Lake Monsanto – St. Joe Park -Park Hills, MO

St. Joe Park is located in the old “lead Belt” area and is made up of 8,238 acres that was donated to Missouri in 1976 by the St. Joe Minerals Corp after ceasing operations in 1972.  It has an off-road vehicle area, two campgrounds, equestrian camping and trails, hiking and bicycling trail, picnic sites and lakes for swimming and fishing.

The historic mill buildings still stand on the site and it has been designated as Missouri Mines State Historic Site.  They also have a museum that houses some of the old mining equipment along with an impressive collection of geological specimens.

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Lake Monsanto

There are four stocked lakes in St. Joe.  Monsanto is the largest that is 30 feet at the deepest point and around 25 acres.  Then there is Apollo Lake, JoLee Lake and Pim Lake which is the smallest.  Boats can be used in all four but only electric motors are allowed.  They do rent kayaks and canoes.  One drawback to me, that definitely keeps me from getting too attached to this place, is the hours of operation.  From April – September the lake opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 8 a.m.; October – March 7 a.m. to 5 p.m..  I really wish they would reconsider their hours.

If you want to fish Apollo or JoLee lakes, you must obtain a fishing pass from the park office.  There are no launch fees.  One can catch bass, crappie, catfish and an assortment of pan fish or perch.  The park uses a “slot limit” of 12 inches to 15 inches for bass.  You can keep anything under 12 and over 15 but you can’t keep fish that fall in the slot.  One practice they do that I do like is that they pass a card so you can record your catch of the day so that they can have an idea of what is being caught.  It is done anonymously.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir

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Lake Monsanto

I have fished Lake Monsanto three times.  It is a peaceful place through the week however on the weekend it can draw a crowd.  The lake has a lot of mill foil in it and a lot of standing timber and a multitude of objects to get your line hung up on.

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Largemouth bass caught

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Channel Cat I caught a couple of weeks ago.

I prefer to use a Rapala floating minnow.   If you watch what you are doing you don’t get hung up as bad.  I also use the live bait mode also: night crawlers.  If I am out there just to relax I just use an empty hook.  On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give Lake Monsanto a 5.  If the state would change the fishing hours to allow early and late evening hours I could learn to like it a little more.  (Hint, hint)  Maybe even issue a special permit if a person wanted to do some late night catfishing.

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Lake Monsanto

Someone asked me the other day if I ever get tired of fishing.   For the record, “no”.  I can never get enough fishing.   When I am fishing I can feel my spirit feeding off the positive energy of Mother Nature.  I sleep better when I have had a full day of fishing.

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Monsanto Lake

Thanks for reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Remember to spread the love.