Into The Wild: Ozark Spring

By | November 1, 2016
From Xplor: November/December 2016

If winter has you dreaming of spring, maybe it’s time to visit one.

  • Did You Know? - Blue Spring is Missouri’s deepest spring, plunging to an estimated depth of 300 feet. Just how deep is that? The Statue of Liberty, eight school buses stacked end-to-end, or a football field could be submerged in Blue Spring.
  • Look - Peer into a spring, and you might see rainbow trout. Trout weren’t originally found in Missouri. They’re native to streams along the Pacific Coast of America. The trout you see today were grown in hatcheries and then released into spring-fed streams throughout the Ozarks.
  • Did You Know? - Big Spring is Missouri’s largest spring and is tied with two others for the title of world’s largest spring. Big Spring releases about 275 million gallons of water each day — enough to fill 5 million bathtubs!
  • Look - Watercress grows along the edge of a stream and stays green for most of the year — even in winter. It once was used to heal sword wounds during the days of kings and castles, and French chefs still use it to spice up soups and salads. You shouldn’t eat it, though. Watercress can be mistaken for water hemlock, which is poisonous. Touch Dip your hand into a spring. How does the water feel? Underneath the Ozarks are layers of limestone rock, which is full of holes. When it rains, water soaks down and flows through the limestone before it bubbles out of a spring. The rock insulates the water, keeping it about 58 degrees year-round. This makes spring water feel warm in winter and cool in summer.
  • Listen - Stay at a spring long enough and you might hear something that sounds like pebbles being rattled around in an aluminum can. This is a belted kingfisher’s call. The smoky blue birds perch on branches overlooking streams and watch the water. When a kingfisher spies a fish, it dives — beakfirst — into the drink to snap up its prey.
  • Where to Go - Although springs bubble up all over Missouri, the most scenic ones are found in the Ozarks. Here are a few of the prettiest to visit.
    1. Alley Spring
    2. Bennett Spring
    3. Big Spring
    4. Blue Spring
    5. Greer Spring
    6. Maramec Spring
    7. Montauk Spring
    8. Round Spring
  • Heads Up! - Don’t drink from a spring. Even though the water looks clear and pure, it may contain germs and pollution that could make you sick.
  • Take a Closer - Look Sculpins love the cold water of springs. But you’ll need keen eyes to spot these sneaky fish. Sculpins hug the bottom of the stream and hold as still as a statue, relying on their camouflage to blend in with the background. Ozark sculpin

And More...

This Issue's Staff

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White