The Beauties of Fall
I have traveled all over North America –– and have floated, camped, and seen the beautiful spots in every State. I have visited all of the Canadian provinces and territories, except the one most recently created in the northern part of the country “Nunavit”.
I have also visited almost all of the border states of northern Mexico, and have floated and camped along the almost 300 miles of the remote Rio Grande canyons in the Big Bend area.
But, in my humble opinion, and while there is majestic scenery in the Appalachians, Rockies Mountains, the high desert plateaus of western USA, and scenic mountains of western Alberta, British Columbia, and the northern Mexico deserts of Chihuahua and Sierra del Carmen; there is no place like home.
I rank the extraordinary island chain of Hawaii, and the majesty of Alaska, at the top of my bucket list. But for pure, pastoral and scenic liveable beauty, there is no place like the Ozarks.
Besides containing the most ancient mountains in North America, and lying where there once was a great inland sea, the Ozarks has it all.
Luckily, we are off the beaten path of most major rail and highway traffic. And, except for the Ozark hills surrounding Lake of the Ozarks and Branson area, the Ozark plateau and its ridges and valleys remains largely remote and still feels somewhat untouched. Maybe we should thank our ever-present tick population, after all.
As I write this column immediately prior to deer firearms season, the foliage is probably over half-gone, and the colors were not vibrant this year. But, as I look out my bay window over the Hunter Creek Valley, I am always reminded of how lucky I am to live in this area. How fortunate I was to be able to raise my family in this valley, and send them off to our country school located six miles away at Skyline.
Only one lone eagle spotted in the valley so far, with only two sightings of it. The turkey vultures have mostly cleared out, and there are very few suckers in Hunter Creek this fall because we haven’t had a major rise in levels since August.
This will be my second year in a row that I will not pick up a deer rifle. Deer hunting is just not in me anymore, I guess.
About 15 years ago, I remember the boys and I each possessed two permits apiece. After hanging and butchering five deer, I finally called a halt to any further deer hunting.
That winter we ate a lot of deer burger and sausage, as well as several tasty venison roasts and stews.
Of course, Missouri allows archery hunting for deer with longbow, compound, and now cross-bows. The State permits center fired cartridges with grains of 150 or greater. Missouri also permits hunting with shotgun rifled slugs, from a 10-gauge to a 410.
Did you know that a lot of mid-western and eastern states allow deer firearm hunting with only shotgun slugs. Those that come to mind are Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
In fact, I know an old retired Alaskan guide and trapper, age 83, who now lives in western Ohio, and he swears by his pump 410-gauge shotgun. Every year he bags a pretty nice buck with a rifled slug fired from his old shotgun.
Anyways, here’s hoping that all of your Ozark hunts and explorations have been fruitful and successful.
I love to write, and any author loves to know that his work is read and appreciated.
You know that you are “being read” when you get feedback on your articles.
On my two-part series of “Five Kids and a Dog in Search of the Perfect Raft”, I received several notes from readers.
One guy told me that my story reminded him of the time that he took a road and camp trip with his three young daughters while they visited the Grand Canyon.
And then there was one anonymous reader who is apparently not on my fan list –– they stated the following: “I always knew that you were a dumb ——. I guess that I just didn’t realize that you’ve been a dumb —– for a quarter of a century.
How could I respond to that? Touché!
By the way, if you want to contact me about past or future subjects, you may call me, and I will give you my e-mail address. I have had the same phone number listed in the phone book for around 30 years. Hey, what’s a “phone book” anyway?!
Now, get up and go enjoy our beautiful Ozark Outdoors!