Curtis and I wanted to get away for the weekend, and the place that I booked after many hours of searching was in Eminence, Missouri. I booked a 3 nights stay at Echo Bluff State Park, and boy was it a GREAT idea! Due to things beyond our control, our trip dates got shifted, but it was for the best. The weather was perfect, and I can not explain how beautiful the leaves were this time of year! It was drizzling rain on our way down, but that didn’t take away from the beauty of the area.
Since we were early to check-in, we decided to grab a bite to eat and start exploring. There are so many places to hike and adventure to, so I just started a list of what looked fun on google maps, and we headed out.
Our first stop was Akers Ferry. The ferry has been closed for a while now due to high gravel, but it was used for years. It was very cool to see, but I was kinda glad it was closed, so I didn’t have to actually drive/ride across it.
Our next stop was Devils Well. It is a sinkhole that leads to the largest underground lake in Missouri. You can’t really tell how far we climbed down the “spiral staircase” from the pictures, but it was way down there. It was such an incredible experience. I only found it because I was looking on google maps. While we were there, I got the text that our room was ready, so we headed back to the lodge to check-in.
Echo Bluff Lodge was so stunning! The enormous fireplace when you walk in invites you to curl up and stay awhile. Our room had a smaller fireplace plus a balcony overlooking the bluff! It was the perfect place to sit out and drink a cup of coffee in the morning…. With a warm, cozy blanket…. They even provided rocking chairs for the balconies. After getting settled in our room, we headed down to the bluff and walked along Sinking Creek. We also walked over to the campground to check it out.
On Saturday, we headed out for more exploring. The first place we went to was Alley Springs. The pictures do not do it justice, but just trust me, you will want to check it out for yourself. We got there early, and it was still chilly out, so there weren’t very many people out yet, which was nice.
A couple of other stops we planned for the day was Prairie Hollow Gorge, where we climbed all around on the rocks. We were the only people there and had a blast! After we left the Gorge, we drove to Pulltite Campground, where we found a hidden path. It was so quiet and peaceful. You couldn’t hear the road noises or other people, just the birds and the river. As you can see, the weather and the leaves were perfect. It has given us multiple places that we want to come back to and stay again.
Before heading back to the lodge for the day, we had one more spring we wanted to check out. Actually, it was Round Springs Cave and Round Springs, but the cave was closed. So we took the trail down to the spring and saw that it continued to this pedestrian bridge that I was determined to cross and face my fears. On the way to the bridge, we stumbled across the Wild Horses… You couldn’t have lined things up more perfectly.
As we walked across the field, I started noticing a bunch of horse manure but still hadn’t put two and two together. Just as it clicked in my head to start looking for the horses, Curts whispered, “Look, there they are!” We walked over to them, and I was just in awe. I had said earlier that day that if I could see the wild horses, this trip would be complete! We just stood there for a while, taking pictures and just watching them eat. After a few people showed up, we finished up the hike, crossed the massive pedestrian bridge (which I survived crossing), and headed back for a relaxing evening in our room that included pizza and a bottle of wine. The perfect ending to a perfect day…. Little did I know what would happen the next day.
We slept in on Sunday and had a late breakfast at the restaurant. We didn’t really have much planned for the day other than hiking the trail at Echo Bluff. I had a couple of other places that looked cool to check out, but I thought we would just play it by ear. My main agenda was to find a decent cup of coffee. The only coffee shop in the area was seasonal, which meant the Keurig in the room or gas station coffee. Yeah. While we were looking at the map, we talked about going to a spring on the Current River when we were younger. My grandpa used to take my brother and me out on the boat every summer, and I could remember going to a spring.
I found Blue Spring on the map, thinking it was the one I had been to before. After driving two miles down a gravel road, we agreed that we had not been there before. But it was still a gorgeous hike along the river.
I had seen a couple of stops on the way to Blue Springs that looked interesting, so we decided to stop on our way back to Eminence. I had read that the wild horses like the Shawnee Creek area. We drove back into the campground and talked about how perfect a campground this would be for when we got our van. I looked over to the open field and gasped… there they were again. We got out of the vehicle and walked into the field. They were grazing and didn’t seem too concerned that we were there, so we slowly walked closer. I was taking pictures and video, totally immersed in the moment. All of a sudden, I noticed one of the mares walking toward me. I don’t even remember hitting the record button. She just walked right up to me and let me pet her! After a moment, she walked away and just looked at me. I said thank you, she nodded and then walked away. It was the most magical moment I have ever had… There are not enough words to describe that experience.
We loved the Eminence area, and we will be back again soon!