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New Ozarks Travelogue Series Offers Ideas for Local Exploring

Itching to roam around the Ozarks? A new series at the Library Center offers some surprising places to explore. Each session is at 7 p.m. in the auditorium beginning today, March 16, on Detouring Around Douglas County with Ozarks Alive founder Kaitlyn McConnell.

“Several general stores still exist, seemingly supported by their remoteness and people who have been lifetime members of these tiny communities,” Kaitlyn says. “One of the places I’ll talk about is Champion, where a general store still operates on credit, the scale is used to weigh babies born at home, folks gather on Wednesdays to play music and the church’s services are scheduled to accommodate local dairymen.”

April 14 is a Photographic Tour of Southeastern Missouri with library digital imaging specialist Ben Divin. He includes Elephant Rocks, Johnson's Shut-Ins and Taum Sauk Mountain state parks.

"Southeastern Missouri had always captivated and eluded me historically, geographically, and photographically,” Ben says. “I wanted to explore the St. Francois Mountain region's most celebrated state parks to get new subjects into my camera lens, and to gain a stronger appreciation and understanding of Missouri's more rugged natural areas. I spent three days in the ancient volcanic area, and enjoyed every bit of it.”

May 8 is Ozarks Hiking & Floating with Springfield News-Leader Outdoors reporter Wes Johnson.

“A surprising place to float just on the south edge of Springfield is the James River below the Lake Springfield dam,” Wes says. “I’ve encountered bald eagles and tall bluffs, and an eerie cave big enough to walk into that gushes clear, cold water into the river.” He also recommends the upper Jacks Fork River, launching at Buck Hollow near Mountain View, paddling among towering cliffs and past chilly air pouring from Jam Up Cave.

Sam’s Throne in Arkansas is a spectacular hike, Wes says, “with just enough adventurous climbing to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something special. The view of rolling Boston Mountain ridges from the Sam’s Throne ledge is worth the scramble up a very narrow gap to get there.”

Kathleen O’Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at kathleeno@thelibrary.org.

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