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Past Outings for 2008 and 2009


Here are photos from our June 6, 2009, outing to Swan Creek:

Overview of Swan Creek     Checking map at Swan Creek   Collin Cash at Swan Creek


Collin Cash throwing rocks     Hikers at Swan Creek     Enjoying the Blue Hole     Lunch at Swan Creek


Painting rocks


Here's a summary of what we did in 2008:

Trail Building on the Buffalo River - We joined forces in January with other volunteers from Missouri and Arkansas to spend a day with veteran trailbuilder Ken Smith working on a six-mile section of trail near Spring Creek.


Tumbling Creek Cave - We traveled to the Ozarks Underground Lab in Tumbling Creek Cave near Protem, owned by Tom Aley.  We got an extensive tour of the cave, hiked to its natural entrance and got a driving tour of the 2,000+ acres of land Tom owns in the cave's watershed.  Watch this site for a future work outing on Tom's property.

Tom Aley                                                                                      

Earth Day Work Day at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center - We spent half a day removing invasive sycamore saplings from a pasture that is being restored as a prairie.


Rain Garden & Hike - We weeded and mulched our rain garden at Valley Water Mill Park, then hiked around the lake.


Swan Creek - We played in the creek and hiked some of the 20 miles of trail in this 9,000+ acre section of Mark Twain National Forest that has been proposed as a designated wilderness area.


Two Float Trips - Two proposed floats on the Current and Buffalo in July and August were canceled because we didn't have anyone sign up. But we'll keep trying to get our group on a river.

Seed Gathering at Woods Prairie - We joined other volunteers at the Ozarks Regional Land Trust's (ORLT) 40-acre Woods Prairie west of Springfield to gather wildflower seed from 5:30 to sunset. The seed is a major fundraiser for ORLT.


Rain Garden Work Day - We returned to our rain garden in September to weed, replant and mulch as part of a citywide day of trail building and nature watching at Valley Water Mill Park, made possible by sponsors GreaterOzarks Audubon Society and  Toyota.



Floating the North Fork and Hiking Devil's Backbone - In October, we joined Wilderness Adventurers to float 12 miles over two days on the North Fork River. From Hammonds, we floated to a beautiful campsite facing an enormous and colorful river bluff. We hiked a six-mile loop trail in Devil's Backbone Wilderness and returned to camp for an evening of campfire cooking, stories and wine. And, yes, even some chocolate! Sunday morning while drinking coffee and tea, we saw a bald eagle fly down the river.  We took out at Sunburst Ranch and still had plenty of daylight for the drive home and a stop for pizza at The Antler in Gainesville.



Building Trail in Lake Springfield Park - Robert Crampton, a member of the local Wilderness Adventurers, is leading an initiative in cooperation with the Springfield Parks and Recreation Department to build a half-mile trail in Lake Springfield Park. He's looking for volunteers, so if you're interested, call Jennifer Ailor at 581-4018. One October Saturday, we spent about four hours working on this project, including raking, digging out rocks, working on the tread and laying mulch on completed tread. Our lunch break was atop a rocky outlook facing east over the marshes of Lake Springfield. From our vantage point, we saw canoeists, kayakers and fishermen, flocks of ducks and geese, huge turtles and even a Great Blue heron.




Hiking and Camping Along the Buffalo River - In late October, we camped with 20 other long-time outdoor enthusiasts at Spring Creek on the Buffalo River off Highway 14. On Saturday and Sunday, we hiked portions of the new trail that Ken Smith, retired Forest Service trail builder extraordinaire, is the inspiration behind. Eventually it will stretch east of Highway 65 for 26 miles. Approximately seven to eight miles are nearly completed, and work continues with volunteers on Saturdays in November, December, February and March. To volunteer, contact Jennifer Ailor at 581-4018.


Hiking in Piney Creek Wilderness - On Nov. 8, we hiked nearly 5 1/2 hours in spacious Piney Creek Wilderness, following the trails south and east nearly to Table Rock Lake. Enroute, we saw a bobcat track on the trail; beautiful bluffs and rock formations; clear water dappled with fallen leaves; and small, golden maples glowing in the folds of the ridges.



To Sign Up for an Outing - If you're interested in a future outing, contact Jennifer Ailor at 417-581-4018, jailor65721@yahoo.com. The Sierra Club requires that you register for an outing and sign a waiver of liability. The outings leader has the authority to turn down a request to participate if he/she believes the outing is too difficult for the person(s).





Copyright Sierra Club White River Group, Missouri Chapter.