Prior to purchasing the RV, we had made reservations at a new state park in Missouri that was getting rave reviews. So, we took the Explorer and headed out for a 2-night stay, October 16-18, at Echo Bluff Park, close to Eminence. We planned visits to several of the MO springs (most of them fondly remembered from our camping days when the children were small).
First stop, a great lunch along historic Route 66, Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q in Cuba, MO.
Next, we visited Maramec Spring, close to St James, MO. The water was beautiful, and it was fun to see the trout swimming in the clear stream. Russell wants to return for some fishin’!
Arriving at Echo Bluff Park, our cabin and the lodge exceeded expectations. Very new, very well-appointed.
We walked over to the lodge and down a short trail behind it, taking a picture of the bluff that towers behind the lodge, and of the lodge from the base of the bluff.
We ate dinner that evening at Creekside Grill in the lodge. Beautiful decor in the lobby.
(Our second night we opted to stay in the cabin, with a wood fire and our own chili that we brought from home.)
Our side trips included several springs that are a part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways now (at one time, I remember most or all of these being state parks).
Round Spring (on the Current River) was very close to Echo Bluff. Here, and at most of the other places we visited, we were the ONLY people there. Russell got a bit emotional at Round Spring, as he remembered visiting there with his parents. It may have been the most beautiful spring we saw.
Getting to Blue Spring (Current River) was quite an adventure. We almost didn’t find it. We traveled down about 2.5 miles of gravel road (pretty drive).
We hiked about .3 mile from the parking area to the spring.
The water started just below the stone steps—it looks like a sand bar, but that’s just how clear the water is.
Alley Spring, my favorite because of the picturesque mill and the history surrounding it. In my memory, there was a water wheel, but the knowledgeable young man inside told me that Alley Spring Mill was a turbine mill (no wheel), because they made white flour (requiring more power than a wheel). Other mills that have wheels make wheat flour. (At least that’s the way I remember what he said!)
We hiked along the stream.
There was one other spring/campground that I wanted to visit, as I had a memory that I was fairly certain originated at Pulltite Campground, also on the Current River. We drove to the campground, and my memory was correct. I expected it to be unrecognizable, because the memory was from 1975. But, actually it looked very much the same. I took a picture of the Current River (really down at the present time) accessible within the campground, and then of a campsite that was our exact site or very close (I know, because I remember seeing the Current River flowing outside the camper “windows,” and there was only one or two sites that could have been it). I took these two pictures:
The rock bed of the Current River at Pulltite Campground, October 2017.
The campsite that I believe was ours, taken October 2017.
When I got home, I looked it up in my Life Story. Here is what I found: "May 23, 1975 - My 28th birthday. We four went camping at Pulltight on Current River, with our used pop-up camper. Mark and Sharida had matching bathing suits. They loved wading in Current River, and we found "the bread rock," which we kept for several years."
Then I looked at my 1975 photo album and found these pictures:
Picked wildflowers for our campsite, on the way (it was my birthday). My handsome 30-year-old husband. (Mark, looking at this picture today: “STUD, even with the black socks!”)
Our very first camper, a used pop-up. We loved it. Here it is on the same campsite I photographed this week (I’m just sure). We hooked a hose from the water faucet there, and I was thrilled to be able to use the little sink to give the kids a “bird bath” (we called it). Our previous “camper” had been a 3-man tent. This was awesome.
My two beautiful children. Mark was almost 5. Sharida was 3 1/2. They were such fun, and they had such fun!
Their awesome dad was helping them build a “dam across Current River.” They found a rock that was shaped like a loaf of bread. We kept “the bread rock” for several years.
About an hour from home on this trip, we stopped at Dutzow and hiked for a while on the Katy Trail.
It was a great trip, full of fun and relaxation, time spent enjoying each other’s company, and time spent down memory lane!
(And about when can I expect to STOP thinking about how much I wish our children were with us, on our trips and adventures?)
#OutandAbout #EchoBluffPark #OzarkNationalScenicRiverway #RoundSpring #AlleySpring #MaramecSpring #BlueSpring #PulltiteCampground #CurrentRiver #lovemyfamily