“Ready For Fall?”

As you already probably know, the Ozark Plateau really shines from mid-September to Thanksgiving. In the Ozarks, the Autumn season is almost always glorious, and almost always long!    

FLOATING: Although the rivers and streams are usually at or near their low flow point of the year, they present numerous opportunities for canoeing and kayaking on their lower stretches. Warm sunny days on the river are followed by cool crisp nights. 

Setting up camp after frying some delicious fresh caught fish can precede a roaring gravel bar campfire at night.  Bugs and allergies are almost non-existent at this time of year.

Also in the fall, river floating is safe and comfortable for small children. Just keep the mileage short and leave plenty of time for the kids to romp around and play when you reach camp. Although most children will be ignorant of the beautiful foliage overhanging the various river bluffs as you pass by, but you know the scenery is just like the perfect butter frosting pasted over a delicious homemade cake.  

HIKING: The Ozarks present an almost perfect canvas for trekking around on your favorite hikes or for adding new routes to your resume.   

Streams are always lower for dryer crossings. Bugs are gone save for a few errant deer ticks. Hiking trails are usually well worn and well-marked by fall. Day hikes are perfect for younger children. Again, in order to make it a fun day for the kids, keep the miles down and allow extra breaks for the kiddies to romp, stomp and play.    

FISHING, HUNTING AND TRAPPING:  For action packed Ozark stream fishing, try the shallow upper reaches of Beaver, Bryant, and North Fork rivers. In one of those remaining deep holes, a huge lunker may be awaiting you.      

Hunting season is already underway with dove season, squirrel hunting, and bow hunting.    And there is also all turkey firearms season and youth hunting firearms weekend, and firearms deer season in November. 

If trapping, it is recommended to get your old traps out and repair and lubricate well ahead of time, so the petroleum odor has time to dissipate. If you are a proficient trapper, you already know this –– the early bird always gets the worm. In other words, traps must be checked early in the morning to prevent animal predation and escapes. Bobcats and otters are both experts in getting out of  traps.  And, please don’t make sets in areas where young children or family pets may frequent.       

Be grateful and thankful for our glorious fall season. Because you know what usually follows is 60 days of cold bitter weather. 

My old granddad, who seems smarter with each passing year, used to say: “Winter gets a little tougher each year.” 

As I arrive at that “youthful” age of 70, I get it!       

Note:  A few corrections to Part I.  

First it is about 662 miles, not 1405 miles on the Alcan from Dawson Creek, B.C. (miles 0.0 to Watson Lake, Yukon). 

Next, gold mining in the Rockies generally stirs to a more active level when gold prices reach $ 1350/oz., not 13500/oz. 

The J-Rig raft pontoons used in the Grand Canyon are generally 16 feet long, not 16-ft. 

The most remote village in British Columbia is Telegraph Creek. It is located down 69 miles of Hwy 55 – dirt and gravel only. This is where I was supposed to meet Chief Mike the mayor. But the road was closed due to intense forest fires.  So no ride in Chief Mike’s 33 foot jet-boat up into the lower Grand Canyon of the Stikine this year.    

I must become a better proof-reader, and invest in a better pair of reading glasses.  

Also, a note of bereavement about two people I knew and greatly respected who recently passed.  Tom Boak, a former, dedicated law enforcement officer who served with the City of Ava passed on at age 86; and Lloyd Tate, the dedicated mule-tasker and true Ozark character, passed on at age 89.  Both were different in their own way, and I will miss their friendship.    And a final good-bye to a woman who really enjoyed “ole-time” music, and was the wife of a well-respected gentleman in the neighborhood, Robert Upshaw.  His wife, Sharon, was only 67-years-old –– too young.  

And, although I didn’t personally know him or his family, AJ Ray, who was just shy of his eleventh birthday tragically lost his life in a reported ATV accident.  How tragic for his family!  

This always reminds me how fortunate I have been in life; and how unfortunate several others have been that have had to bury their children. 

Now, get up and go enjoy our beautiful Ozarks outdoors!