I'm goin' back down south, now...
A little over a week ago, best friend/photographer Sara tipped me off that it was time. Time to see southern Missouri dressed in autumn.
So, off I went. =)
On Sunday I left out around 5:15am, hoping to reach rural southeast MO by the time the sun began creeping over the treetops. And this I accomplished; however, it is really hard to find good places to pull over, because the vast majority of the side of the road begins with ditches (or hollows). So even if I found something to photograph, it would be impossible without endangering myself/my car or just parking in the road. But I'm not one to let a little hardship stop me! There was enough abundance of early morning light and colorful leaves to get some shots I liked.
During my trip to visit Sara and Justin over the summer, we took a lot of side and back roads that I know nothing about, so imagine my surprise when I passed the entrance to Indian Trail State Park, just cruising down Hwy 19! I love how easy it is to get to. And by staying on 19 I was able to get back to Round Spring also. Alas, this is the time of the year when the spring is, as the website says, a "chocolate brown," so not much to see there - but I did investigate the creek and thought it was cool how the grasses are submerged in the water.
After picking up an Ozark Scenic Riverways brochure, I saw that Alley Mill, which we didn't have time to go see in July, was just a little further down 19, west on 106 past Eminence. It was only 10am at that point, so I figured, what the heck. :)
On the way I got some photos of quintessential southeast Missouri views.
Some great trees on the grounds of the mill and spring.
The bridge leading to the mill...
And here we have Alley Mill.
You can go inside. It's all set up with the original antique equipment, a tiny shop (where I bought a book on how to grow all the food I need on a tenth of an acre or something), and a little exhibit on the second floor. I had no idea it was set up that way, so it was a nice treat.
But ahoy, I mentioned a spring too! This one is still paradise blue, and actually about two or three times the size of Round Spring, and about the same size as Blue Spring.
The average daily flow of Alley Spring is 81 million gallons. To the right of the spring the water flows over rocks and begins gushing its way downhill towards the small river that leads away from the spring and mill.
Alley Mill and Spring are definitely a photographer's delight, just like the brochure said. =)
Just before the parking area for the mill, a bridge crosses over Jacks Fork River, and there's a walking bridge and, across the way, a little place to park. So on my way back, I walked out over the river to get a few shots.
By then it was a quarter to one, so I decided to head home. I had entertained going to Meramec State Park, because there's a river and lots of photo opps, but peaceful, scenic Alley Spring took care of that for me. I also had originally thought I might not head back till after sunset, but I had only gotten three hours of sleep the night before and was gonna be pretty beat by then, probably too beat to drive three hours home. So, I hit the pavement, and enjoyed the beautiful day all the way to home.