The upper Meramec River is an easy walk down the gravel road. It is a popular destination for people out running the roads. On quiet mornings I enjoy exploring river banks for the many wildflowers growing there.
Before we moved here a bridge went across the river passing an old cemetery and leading off somewhere. The center of the bridge collapsed and was never repaired. The remains have washed away over the years.
When the river floods, the flood plain is washed clean. The channel shifts from one side to the other. Pools form and disappear.
Trees wash out. The water carries fallen trees down the river, piles them on the bank and later washes them on down the river.
When the logs are piled high, it’s hard to walk down along the banks. When the logs are mostly gone, the walking is easy.
Exploring river banks is a way to find many wildflowers not very common elsewhere. And the open ground makes it easy to spot them.
When rain has been scarce, it’s possible to walk across the river. The far bank is much different from the one I usually walk. Crossing the river takes care as the current is strong.
The river is too high to cross so far this year. I’m hoping the cows often on the pastures on the far side won’t eat the giant cane down to nubbins before I can get across.
Once I found an American basswood tree while exploring river banks looking for a way across. It is washing out now so its upper branches are head high. I’m hoping to see it bloom one last time so I can complete the picture set for the tree.
This will be a great place to walk for another few months. Then exploring river banks will have to wait until the stinging nettle gets blasted by frost.
Read more about nature in the Ozarks in “Exploring the Ozark Hills“.