Readers Choice

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Published on: May. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 21, 2010

side of the lake on the board walk. For retired farmers like us, it's great entertainment at no cost.

Lead Mine Conservation Area

North of Plad on Highway 64, north on Highway T, and one-half mile east on Highway YY in Dallas County.

My fascination for the Niangua River since I was a child brought me to Lead Mine Conservation Area. It appeared to be like any other forest from the river until we found the land entrance, and there before us was a wildflower paradise. At the top of a hill, purple coneflower, pale yellow louse wort, fluffy ground plum, long-bracted wild indigo, fire red cardinal flower and various shades of violets splash the hillsides with color.

Down at the river, bloodroot, Virginia blue bells and columbine are everywhere. The hike around a bend above the river is always my favorite. That's where I identified my first yellow lady slipper, golden seal and a delicate Indian pipe, which at first I wasn't sure if it was a mushroom or a flower. I've spent hours seeking out the purple trillium, wild ginger, liverleaf, jack-in-the-pulpit, Virginia drake root and - most mysterious of all - wild ginseng.

For fern lovers it's a dream come true. We eat lunch and rest on lush beds of soft moss and watch the river roll. A bullfrog on the lotus pads, arrow root, sweet flag and spotted touch-me-not paint the water line with brilliant color untouched by any artist. We also enjoyed watching a river otter doing its version of water aerobics.

After the show I gripped a tree to get up and bumped into our dessert - a paw paw. The area's not only for plant lovers; we watched a coon searching for supper at our camp. There also are lots of deer, wild turkey and fluffy old ground hogs.

For hikers, campers, anglers, bird watchers and animal lovers, as well as flower nuts like me, this is the ultimate place to go.

Little Lost Creek and Daniel Boone Conservation Areas

Little Lost Creek Conservation Area is five miles south of Pendleton on Highway B. Daniel Boone Conservation Area is six miles west of Jonesburg on Highway Y. Near the Oak Grove Church, a cantilever sign directs visitors three miles southwest on Tower Road, which is a county gravel road.

Daniel Boone and Little Lost Creek conservation areas are the perfect places to hike in early spring. Even though the snow may still be

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