We’re lucky. We live by a tiny town with a river that’s part of Ozark National Scenic Riverways. It’s called the Current River and is known for its clear water, movement that flows enough to carry canoes and kayaks, swimming holes, and fishing.
A couple of nights ago, my son and I went to the boat ramp in town. I was able to catch these sunset pictures. What a lovely evening it was.
It’s so wonderful to have nature close by. It fills up this photographer’s heart a million times over.
Yesterday we went to the river. During floating season, there are people all over the place and river ‘sounds.’ Things like: laughter, chit chat, boat motors, dogs barking, car doors shutting, music playing…
Currently, on the Current River, it’s the quiet time. The temperatures are cold in the water and in the air. I don’t mind the busy season, but I sure love the ‘nobody’s around you can hear nature’ time.
For instance, last night we were the only people there. For me, that brings nature back into sole view. Details called out. I noticed. There were pine trees swaying in the wind, leaves on the snow, pine cones sitting on overlooked paths, and my truck hood acted as a mirror.
On the way out, we were paused by a tree that crossed over the road. A gift really. A ‘slow down moment’ in days filled with hurries. So we did it, we paused.
After going around it, I found myself looking, for color in the trees, for something that would demand a camera, or something that would make a stellar photograph.
Nothing really stood out ahead, but when I looked back perfection and grace were wearing the same coat.
My side mirror gave me a glimpse of what truck windows would notice, if they did such things. I stopped and got out. Here’s what I saw:
Glimpses of nature on some random Friday, filled up my lens, eyes, and heart with abundant gifts. Love when that happens.
Van Buren is a small town in southeast Missouri. The population is 1,241 (in 2020). But, sometimes small towns can offer big things to do.
Tuesday my son and I drove about 40 miles to visit Van Buren and do some of those fun things.
There’s the Jolly Cone restaurant with its outside walk up and order counter. We went there for ice cream, tater tots, and french fries. Yum.
The Landing is a hotel and restaurant that offers float trips down the Current River. They had a fire in 2021, but are rebuilding and open. We didn’t float or stay there this time, but we have in the past. Here is their link is you’d like any information. https://thelandingcurrentriver.com
We went to Big Spring, which I wrote about in my last 2 posts. It’s a wonderful natural spring with 2 hiking trails, some buildings the CCC built in the 1930’s, a campground, picnic pavilions, and access to the Current River.
Another place we went is called Missouri Down Under Adventure Zoo. It is a small zoo, right outside of town. The big draw is the kangaroos. They also have gem panning, a cave, a quarry dig, other animals, and some amazing tree carvings.
The kangaroos are in a huge fenced enclosure and you get to go right in there with them. The day we went it was 102 degrees, so shade was a priority for most of them.
We did see one over at the water tank. I was able to give it a snack out of my cup.
We had a great time. They also have lemurs, baby goats, rabbits, birds, snakes, porcupines, and a few other animals. Their website is https://www.missouridownunder.com if you’d like to see the hours or ticket information.
We had a great day in Van Buren on Tuesday with some hiking time, ice cream time, and kangaroo time.
We live in an area filled with natural springs, Forest Service land, hiking trails, and history. What an amazing place to be! Three miles from our house is the Current River.
It is clear and cold, which makes it a popular area year round for swimming, fishing, boating, and floating.
Tuesday, we were about forty miles from home at Ozark National Scenic Riverways near Van Buren Missouri, which is also on the Current River.
Big Spring is the natural spring that I wrote about yesterday. The area itself is full of some pretty cool history. Back in the 1930’s, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) built the roads and buildings there.
One of my favorite buildings there is the dining hall. Set back off the road, in the trees, it just feels like it was an important place many years ago. Stately, is the word that comes to mind, with its rock walls and river view.
The windows are amazing. I’ve never been inside, but they offer a glimpse in and a glimpse out, via nature’s reflections.
Back in its day, it must have been a busy place. While we were there, one other car came, but I was the only one at the building. Back in the 1930’s though, I bet it was bustling with people. I love that the building is still standing after nearly 90 years.
Here is a great link from the National Park Service about the history of the CCC and Big Spring: