Monday, December 6, 2010

An Adventure Solo-style

This solo adventure took me about 30 minutes from the Arkansas-Missouri state line, and to new water. I have been curious to see the Eleven Point, having read and heard echos of its beauty and offerings. All echos were correct, but faded in comparison to the real thing.

It was another MO winter day; the temps hovered in the upper 20s until midday when it finally got to about 32. There is something I enjoy about iced guides, not sure what or why, but I like them.

The intense aquamarine glow of the water was enticing, calling me like a watery siren to its body. Being alone, though, made me err on the side of caution and I allowed myself to be restricted to the water I could access (safely). When I return, I'll have a float tube. The sheer beauty of the color, clarity, and really "glow" was nothing I've seen matched anywhere else. It is magic water, to be sure.

This is wild hog country and, of less concern, black bear territory. I saw numerous places which suggested that a hog had been around recently. I kept my eyes split between the water and land, and especially listened for bad sounds. Thankfully, I didn't knowingly encounter any of the destructive little demons.

Having failed to catch anything other than chub from the river and being unable to fish more than a few dozen yards up and down from the two accesses, I gave up on the river trout and was set to another fun-mission of locating one of the river's many springs. This took me up a hilltain (a Missouri mountain), and on one of the most enjoyable, interesting walks of my life. I found the original mill (for which the access is named), but somehow the wheel is situated backwards.

My mouth hung open further with each step and I climbed up the rocky hillside, following both the flow and rushing sound of the bubbly water that cascaded down. It varied from a single, purposed stream to a trickling from what seemed a hundred different places, but all fell back down together at the base of the hill.

I had expected a pool as the source of the water, but found that it instead came from the base of a sheer limestone cliff. As it poured out of a small cave, it began its journey down, pausing here and there for a small pool; each of these little pools held small fish.

I stood amazed at the mouth of the spring cave; I may have stood there for an hour, but I really don't know. I honestly just couldn't believe or take in all that I was seeing, and more than once I broke out and down in laughter and chuckles.

Figuring that I had to either drink the water and live forever or leave for the time being, I chose to leave and return later. I worked my way down the hill, weaving in and out of the stream at random and enjoying the view fore and aft with every step. I took over 40 photos in this one area, not wanting to ever risk ever forgetting it.

My troutless streak for the day ended abruptly when in one pool, this little McCloud accepted the offer of my soft hackle. This may possibly be my most beloved and special trout ever. I would not trade a 20" 'bow from the river for this little 4" caught from a pure spring-water stream pouring from a cliff. I have never felt so intimately close to or at ease with what is truly wild in this life.

I cannot wait to go back, but I know it will never be the same as it was this day, because this day I fell in love all over again.


  1. Absolutely amazing! I really look forward to you showing me around down there.

  2. Absolutely beautiful images of the spring and the streams you were fishing. The Trip you just made is what being close to nature is all about---not to mention the wild trout to boot. As for the hogs you need to be extremely cautious when you go back. A buddy of mine go attacked a few years ago in the Miss. Delta by a wild bore that came form no where out of thick undergrowth and gashed his leg to the point he had to get stitches. He ran and climbed up a tree to get away form the bore otherwise it could have been worst. Great post and I would think about framing some of those images they look that good.

  3. Enjoyed your post and tale of your adventures. Really nice pictures helped me feel as if I partnered up with you on this trip.

  4. Thanks for taking the time to read my humble little posts and comment. You all are took kind! The day really was one to remember and cherish, definitely had a magical cast (no pun intended there).