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Stuff I Find While I'm Walking

*Gasp!* Can it be? She's starting a feature that could occur on a regular basis? With photos? Oh, golly gee, don't you feel special?

Here it is: Stuff I Find While I'm Walking. Because I "claim" to be a wilderness adventurer. Never mind that the whole eco-adventure thing didn't go over for me. Ask me to regale you with that story. I will cheerfully oblige you another time.

Stuff I Find While I'm Walking is pretty cut-and-dry. It's pictures of stuff on the ground or in the water or wherever nature lays something interesting that I feel like snapping a shot of. For your viewing pleasure, I give you the first Stuff I Find While I'm Walking photo buffet.

Dog, or fearsome beast from the deep?
This is a collection (ooo, I like that word) of photos from Hayes Spring Conservation Area outside Hurley, MO. It's a lot of former pasture land that's, frankly, pretty boring. It reminds me of the jungles of 'Nam. Okay, I've never been to 'Nam, but I've watched lots of war movies and the way the weeds and grasses are grown up, well over my head, it's kind of scary. It's also got some decent forest for shade and the best part is: After you walk through the creepy grassland where those grass-beasts called scrunts from Lady in the Water might snatch you, you cross Crane Creek, icy cold  and refreshing, especially if the day is hot. But probably you shouldn't drink it because scientists are pretty adamant about not drinking creek water--with good reason. I happen to know there are some cows upstream so, ick. I have no idea where it comes out of the ground at because while you're driving to get to the CA, you cross a dry creek bed and also walk past it on the trail. Trails, BTW are clearly marked with little signs nailed to various trees that have a picture of an ugly little stick man on a brown background. Anyway, if you're bold enough to get your feet wet, you run into the best part of the trail. Walk a little further and you come to a white shed where they presumably keep some kind of equipment. Walk a little further still and hang a right at this big ol' pine tree and you find the source of Hayes Spring.

Not the cave where bats live.
A little cave tucked back in a limestone hulk of a mountain, it spews forth some of the clearest water you'll ever hope to see. A little sign warns you not to enter the cave because of some virus the bats might get. I have yet to figure out where the bats are because as far as I can tell, the cave is submerged. Allison don't do no caves. Ever. For any reason. But yesterday's jaunt was all about walking down the creek. Here are some more photos of along the way.
In the crystal clear water of the creek, which is supposedly dry, you'll find an array of wildlife. Mostly minnows, shiners, crawfish, water bugs and darters. Interesting fact: darters can't live in polluted water, so you know the water pouring out of this awesome place can't be too dirty. I still don't recommend drinking it. I have more photos and my browser is working on uploading them, or rather downloading them from Facebook, but it's not working right. So you can friend me (provided you're not a stalker creep-o who wants to find me alone in the woods and murder me for my enormous *snort* amounts of cash. Beware, I have a dog [see inserted photo] that might, um, lick you to death before she lets you lay a finger on me) and see the photos there too.
A blue flower, despite that it looks purple.