A Day in the Arcadia Valley of Missouri

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Welcome Center Fort Davidson Pilot Knob, MO

My long time friend David Tripp journeyed from Texas to visit his parents and he got in touch with me and we decided to take a trip to the Arcadia Valley in Missouri.  The temperatures were bitter cold but we didn’t let that stop us.  We decided to start our day with lunch at the Fort Davidson Restaurant in Pilot Knob, MO.

After an excellent lunch we headed to the site of Fort Davidson. The only thing left of the fort is the earthworks of the fort, surrounding the huge hole that was caused by a powder explosion.  The site is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The Civil War Trust (a division of the American Battlefield Trust) and its partners acquired and preserved 41 acres of the battlefield that are now a part of the state historic site.

The Battle of Fort Davidson, also known as the Battle of Pilot Knob, was fought on September 27, 1864.  It was the opening engagement of Price’s Missouri Raid during the American Civil War.  Price had the Union army  outnumbered by more than 10 to 1 but Thomas Ewing’s men held off Price’s Confederate army during the day and when night time fell they were able to slip away leaving the Confederates with possession of the fort.

On the site is a granite monument that marks where a mass grave is.  Maps are available at the Visitors’ Center that can be used to do a self-guided tour.  The visitor center offers a narrated version of the battle and its context within the Civil War.

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Dam of the Iron Mountain Lake  in Missouri

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Wooden bridge spanning the creek that handles the overflow.

After visiting Fort Davidson we headed over to see Iron Mountain Lake in St. Francois county of Missouri.  It is located in the city of Iron Mountain Lake whose population was estimated in 2016 to be around 736.

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View from the top of Taum Sauk Mountain in Missouri

Our next stop would be Taum Sauk Mountain which is a part of the St. Francois Mountains.  It is the highest natural point in the state of Missouri coming in at 1,772 feet.  It is believed that Tom Sauk Mountain was named after Sauk-Ton-Qua a Piankeshaw chief.  The view on top is quite breathtaking in the least.

There is a state park on Taum Sauk that is made up of 7500 acres.  There are a series of trails in the park including a portion of the Ozark Trail.  There is a 12-site basic campground and a special use area for non-profit youth organizations.  For day use there is a picnic area.

The park has its own legend.  It is a Native American “Romeo and Juliet” story.  The daughter of Piankeshaw chieftain Sauk-Ton-Qua’s daughter Mina Sauk fell in love with an Osage Indian warrior.  They met secretly and one day she was caught in his arms.  There was a trial and he was found guilty and he was executed.  Mina Sauk was so heartbroken she plunged from a cliff and took her own life.  This tragedy unfolded at a place on the mountain now called Mina Sauk Falls.

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View on top of Tom Sauk Mountain

We loaded up and headed to Elephant Rocks State Park, a geologic marvel. The park encompasses an outcrop of Precambrian granite in the Saint Francois Mountains.  The name comes from a line of large granite boulders that resemble elephants.  Recreation is available in the form of picnicking, rock climbing and trail exploration. It is managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.  The land that makes up the park was donated by geologist John Stafford in 1967.

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Elephant Rocks

 

The last stop was the historic Caledonia, MO., a small town located in Washington county.  The town was laid out in 1819 and was named after the Roman Empire’s Latin name for Scotland.  The town has had the presence of a post office since 1819.  The 2010 census showed a population of 130.  The town is also known for its annual Pumpkin Festival.

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Two historical homes of  Caledonia

It was a good day and there is so much to see in the Arcadia Valley.  There is also Johnson Shut Ins, Royal Gorge, Marble Creek Recreation Area and Immanuel Lutheran Church 1861.  There are places to camp or one can choose to stay in one of the many Bed and Breakfasts, Inns or motels.  The towns of Arcadia, Ironton and Pilot Knob are located within the valley.  It is a great way to spend the day or weekend.  I highly recommend Fort Davidson Restaurant if you are looking for some great cooking.

Spread the love and be kind to each other.

 

The River is Calling

I know I write a lot about the river. It is a big part of my life. I know it is hard for some to understand my passion for the river. For those that don’t have a chance to enjoy the river I hope you can get to experience it through my writing.

I love to be on the river at early dawn. Just as the fog starts to lift off the river. You can hear the fish hitting the top of the water partaking of their morning breakfast.

Songbirds fill the morning air with their beautiful music and the squawk of a Heron can be heard.

The river is my utopia and my kayak is my yacht. The world seems so perfect there. I have watched deer cross the river 10 yards in front of me. Watched beaver hard at work and have had Bald Eagles fly above me. One early morning I had an otter swim up and put his paws on the side of the kayak.

I can sit for hours and listen to the sound of the water working it’s way through the riffles. I can feel the tension start to melt as I begin to relax. There is so much that goes on at the river.

It’s a place one can go to take the time to know themselves better.

It’s a place to shed your troubles and worries.

It’s a drug you can’t overdose on.

It’s a place that can cause you to be overwhelmed with joy.

It’s a place where your soul, spirit, and mind can be healed.

In time it is a place of memories.

I am truly addicted to the peacefulness of the river. My love for the river has been around for a long time.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate it. Remember to spread the love and be kind to one another.

Fall Fishing on the Big River

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On October 17, I embarked on another adventure on the Big River.  I had a client that shuttled my yak and I so I could do a straight through float.  I hit the water at 8:30 am and the temp was 37 degrees.  The sun was coming up and the fog was starting to lift.  It was going to be a beautiful day.  The high was supposed to be 55 however the wind was a big pain in the yak.

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Big River near DeSoto, MO

On my third throw of the day I cast my lure around the boat ramp.  I reeled in a couple turns and whammy.  Something hit hard and the fight was on.  I fought it for about 5 minutes and then all of a sudden it was over.  It had got off.  In the next 15 minutes I hooked 3 more and got them about half way to the boat and they would get off.  It was like I was jinxed.

I fished about a half an hour and not a hit.  Then, whammy.  I had one on.  It was a 13 inch smallmouth and it appeared the jinx was over.  I caught 5 more smallies and 1 largemouth and 4 spotted bass.  Around 1 pm I pulled up on a gravel bar and ate lunch.

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My kayak on Big River near DeSoto, MO.

Around 1:30 I started on down the river only to be greeted by a Bald Eagle that Mark and I had seen the week before in the same area.  What a magnificent bird indeed.

I continued to catch fish.  I caught them on a  Rapala floating minnow and a Rebel Wee-Craw which caught the most.  Last week with my buddy Mark I had caught some on a pig and jig and a plastic worm but couldn’t buy a bite with them today.

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A 13 inch largemouth bass

 

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A 16 inch smallmouth bass

The day was going good and then it happened.  I had cast the Wee-Craw and retrieved it a couple turns when wham!  Something had hit the lure and hard.  It started peeling line and headed up stream.  I was in some shallow fast moving water and I knew it was going to create a problem.  I was in good shape as long as the yak stayed in the middle of the river but then I hit a pocket of water that started pushing me to the bank.  I got it right up next to the boat and I saw what was the biggest smallmouth that I had ever hooked.  It looked like something you see in a Bass Pro Shop aquarium.  The 16 inch I had caught was dwarfed by this smallie.  Then, this was all taking place now in about 3 foot of water and I could easily see the bottom, I saw it zero in on a tree branch on the bottom and wrap my line around a limb.  Here I am sitting with one of my biggest dreams right there in front of me and I can’t do anything but watch it tug then finally pull loose.  I was devastated!!!!!

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Rebel Wee-Craw

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Rapala original floating minnow

When the initial shock of losing the biggest smallie I had ever caught wore off I headed on down river making my way to the boat ramp.  Along the way I managed to catch several more smallies and spotted bass.  It was a great day.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Remember to spread the love.  A few more pics of the river that day.

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Big River

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Big River

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Big River

The River; As I See It

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Bourbeuse River in the fall.

 

“The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing.” – John Muir

I have been having a battle with writer’s block and I seem to be losing.  Wanted to go to the river this weekend but with forecast calling for 3 to 6 inches of rain in the area and flash flood warnings I decided to pass.  I would have to wait for another chance.

I long for that much needed quiet time on the river with the croaking bullfrogs, crickets, the howling of the coyotes and that occasional slap of the beaver’s tail on the water warning the other beaver in the area that they have an intruder within their territory.

“There is a love of wild Nature in everybody, and ancient mother – love ever showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.” – John Muir

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Borubeuse River on a fall morning.

I love gazing into the night sky at all the stars shining down upon me.   The peace and tranquility soon overtake me and allows my spirit and soul to recharge.  I become one with Nature at this moment and feel all the negative energy exit my being and I begin to look at life with a positive attitude.  It allows me to use logic in my thinking unencumbered by my emotions.  It is a feeling I will never be able to adequately express with words.  It is something that one must experience and feel in their heart before one can understand the true feeling of total peace within oneself.

If for some reason I lose the ability to be able to interact with Nature and the river in this capacity, I will not be long of this world.  I truly understand how John Muir had such and immense love of the mountains.  His mountains are my rivers.  I wish I could just live on the banks of the river and explore it daily.  It is my Utopia my safe place.  My experiences on the river enhance my quality of life and I develop a better understanding of life.  I won’t ever grow tired of the serenity of the river.

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Bourbeuse River (Picture by Double D Acres LLC)

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Until next time, be kind to one another and spread the love.