I took Monday off to visit my friend CF in Jaspar. Actually she lives 7 or 8 miles north of Jaspar, but as a reference we always say Jaspar. I'm rambling. Sorry! Anyway, this is a very rural, small, mountain town that is touristy, but not awful. It is close to many, many outdoor recreational places (The Buffalo River, for one!), so there are lots of campgrounds, trailheads, and canoeing places all around. The National Park service and the National Forest Service have maintained much of the old mountain areas, and after this many years they are somewhat friendly with the locals. Not all the locals, mind you. Just a few years ago some friends encountered the traditional local way of greeting those foreigners that float the River. They got rocks chunked at them as they paddled by.
Anyway, when one goes to this area of the mountains, you can go the tourist road north through Harrison. Or you can go the scenic mountain roads south. I choose the mountain roads mostly. I always have to watch out for the things I have always looked for- logging trucks, deer, and slow moving vehicles. And the roads are very winding and steep.
Anyway, as one moves into Boxley Valley I always look for the old mill pond, and there are the three swans that have been re-introduced into the area. They have survived not only the local hunters, but the 4-legged predators, too. I always gauge the state of the beavers when I look over the mill pond area. If the beavers have been busy, the whole swampy area is flooded. It is a wonderful sight to see.
Of course, from this point on, one has to keep an eye out for elk. Yes, elk! They were re-introduced several years ago, and they are doing exceptionally well. I have to scan the far edges of the fields near the cane breaks, and unfortunately, I only got to see one. They are becoming part of the tourist thing now. Elk-watching! They even have places set up near the ranger stations that tell all about the elk. Weird, huh?
Anyway, I ticked off places in my head as I got closer to Jaspar. There should be an old house-place here, there is the old barn I remember, and there should be a little cemetery here. I love the colors this time of year too. The far mountains look blue and smoky, and the the greys, browns, and greens are all shades. The sycamores have their off-white bark. The lichens and moss on the rocks is gorgeous!
My friend CF is a potter. She sells her things at a gallery in Branson, MO. So that is what we did yesterday-a fast trip to Branson. I have never been to Branson. I have only seen the plethora of advertising for all the shows and entertainment stuff. This has kept me from going there. But CF wanted me to see some things she had found.
After delivering her stuff, we went to a public parking deck. We walked over to the pedestrian mall near the river. It is a nice place downtown, and it is AWAY from all the touristy show stuff. Anyway, we walked all the way up one side, down the other, and then ate lunch in a wonderful restaurant. Then we walked the other direction for a while to digest our food. By this time, we were ready to go home. We are both old hermits that prefer our quiet, secluded lives.
Within a few minutes we were out in the country again and heading home. After visiting a little bit, I headed back my same route. I noticed that it was cloudier and it got dark quick. But I was home really early-around 6 p.m.
Last night a few thunderstorms passed through. It is cloudy, foggy, and windy. Last night the weatherman said something about snow, but it is in the 50's now! So I don't know about the cold front heading our way!
No pics-sorry. I never can get a winter mountain picture to look as good on print as it does to my eyes. The elk was a LONG ways away, and the swans were not conducive to picture-taking.
It was just refreshing for me to take a day away and to just drive to some place I love. The mountains are gorgeous any season, but I love the wintertime.