Visiting Montauk State Park

Strange how it’s so easy to not visit interesting places close by. People do it all the time. I kept putting off visiting Montauk State Park.

The Paradoxa Chapter of the Missouri Native Plant Society gave me the opportunity when they went down to look for some rare plants. The weather forecast looked great. The forecast was wrong.

Current River in Montauk State Park
Current River begins in Montauk State Park where a cold spring pours water into Pigeon Creek. Much of the park is forested. There are some hiking trails. Members of the Native Plant Society were checking out the plants along the river.

Rain had moved into the Ozarks. Six inches over three days had fallen at my home during the week. The day for visiting the Park dawned overcast and was light drizzle by noon.

The drive to the Park was lovely. Usually August is hot and dry. This August has been hot and wet. Everything not kept trimmed back is green and lush.

Montauk State Park is at the headwaters of the Current River. A large cold water spring joins Pigeon Creek to form the river. The cold water is perfect for rainbow trout.

fishermen in Montauk State Park
Most people come to Montauk State Park to go rainbow trout fishing. The cold waters from the spring are right for the hatchery and the river.

A hatchery at the Park supplies fish for the droves of fishermen and women who descend on the Park beginning March 1 Opening Day and continuing until winter. There are hiking trails, but almost everyone is dressed in fishing garb carrying poles and gear. They line many areas along the river.

Members of the Society gathered to talk with the Naturalist. He is excited with the population of butternut trees in the Park as most of the trees were killed off by a disease. Those in the Park seem resistant and may offer a chance to spread these trees back into their original range.

small bluff along the Current River
Montauk State Park is filled with Ozark hills formed of thick layers of limestone and dolomite. When these are cut by the river, bluffs like this one form.

Butternuts are similar to black walnuts with compound leaves that look the same. The trunks are lighter in color and have a different bark pattern. The nuts are more egg shaped and have a better flavor.

We went down along the river in search of the two seeded mercury. The drizzle got worse. The mercury plants weren’t where we were searching. Lots of other plants were.

The scenery was lovely. Visiting Montauk State Park was worth the drive even though we had to leave early. I plan to go back and do some more plant searching when the weather is better.

Ozark hills are beautiful. Enjoy more of it in “My Ozark Home,” a book of photographs and haikus.