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“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter."  -John Burroughs


Meet our Guest Blogger, Amber Odom:
Hey everyone!  I am an elementary teacher by day and a nature lover at heart. I love exploring new places in southeast Missouri, meeting new people, and being in the great outdoors! Come along with me as I explore those MO backroads adventures!

 

This is one of my favorite quotes and it is true for my family. Our family loves hiking in all months.  We try to get out in the winter as much as we do in the summer. In the winter you often see places in a new way. Without the leaves of summer, you find things you might have missed before. 


We visited a family favorite this past weekend when the temperatures were a glorious 60 degrees after our recent arctic blast. Ball Mill Resurgence Natural Area  is one of my son’s favorite places to explore. He could spend hours in the creek area. He loves walking the creek and following the many little waterfalls as the water trickles down the stone ledges. As we walked the creek this past weekend, we were happily surprised to see a frozen waterfall.  


While the creek is my son’s favorite part of the Ball Mill Resurgence area, I love the resurgence area. I love the creek bed with the smooth stones and the towering cliff that seems to appear out of nowhere.  It’s amazing to think about how the resurgence works. I hope to one day be able to see it in action.


As my daughter and husband came to the bottom of the hill and started walking in the creek bed towards the resurgence, I heard my daughter whisper “WOW! It’s beautiful.” As my family stood looking at this beautiful cliff face surrounded by the woods in awe, it struck me how beautiful this place is in any season. My son was just as in awe this past summer staring up at the cliff for his first time.   


I was struck by the way the sunlight peeked over the edge of the cliff, making the icicles hanging there glisten. It was mesmerizing! With the starkness and bareness of winter surrounding the cliff, it made the moss on the rock faces and the different colors of the rock seem more vibrant.   


I can easily say I don’t know which season I enjoy the most when visiting Ball Mill Resurgence Natural Area. I have yet to see it in the fall, so maybe after making a trip to see it in all the fall splendor I can finally say. But I think I am going to find that I love it in all seasons!    


I encourage you to get out there during this winter season. You never know what you might see and what might catch your eye as you are enjoying nature on a lovely winter’s day. So get out and enjoy some MO backroads adventures!

 

Stay Connected with Amber!

Instagram Page: @mobackroadadventures

Facebook Page: @MObackroadadventures

 

Check back for more from Amber and her family's Missouri (Perry County) Back Road Adventures.




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Hadler Shoe Tree

I threw my first pair of shoes in 2015. Years of shoes were already there. I had written with permanent marker on an old pair of sneakers “Tourism 2015”. Before I threw them, I may have said a little prayer to be able to “fill the shoes” of being named Perry County’s first official tourism director. I may have also made a wish that I could share more of what makes Perry County so unique and special.

As I tossed, slung and threw that old pair of shoes over and over I quickly realized that this was not as easy as it looks. But throw after throw we smiled, giggled and laughed out loud at our pointless efforts to sling a pair of old shoes into a tree alongside a country gravel road.

Up until recently, area locals had just referred to it as “The Shoe Tree” and what was the significance, the purpose behind this odd collection? Well, not every action has to start out with a purpose or meaning does it? But sometimes when you have all the right “things” it just happens, and a tradition is born. I’m sure Willard Hadler had no intension of creating a tradition with his family when they slung their first pair. Willard and Glenda had seen another shoe tree on vacation out “west” years ago and thought it looked like something fun to do and they were right!

Over the years some key throwing techniques have emerged from repeat visitors honing their skills.

·         Slinging by shoestrings

·         The backwards throw

·         Boomerang method

·         Or the wind-up

The next time you are at the Shoe Tree take a minute to thinks about these “things”:

·         Appreciate the natural landscape of rural Perry County.

·         Take a deep breath of clean country air, most of the time we take that for granted.

·         Say a prayer, make a wish or just release some stress as you catapult your old soles. You make the reason or don’t need a reason at all to do this.

·         Remember the shoes are as different as the personalities of the people who have thrown them up there.

·         It’s pure fun for all ages.

·         Guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Laughter is always good for the world.

·         Take family or friends. It’s a perfect time to create a fun memory.

·         And celebrate your victory when you snag a branch!

The shoe tree is open 365 days a year but the Hadler family is hoping to create an annual day event for shoe slinging in January. Check out our explore page and calendar for upcoming dates.

 Photo credit: Nature's Passion Photography by Jackie Johnson

Republic Monitor Newspaper Article, link here.

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