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Althea Springs

Althea Springs is located at the Patrick Bridge access to the North Fork River off of Highway H. From West Plains, take Highway 160 and four miles past Caufield turn right onto Highway H. Travel 4 miles and before you cross the Patrick Bridge turn left into the parking lot. The head of the trail is at the end of the parking lot. There is no sign to be seen from this direction, but if you cross the bridge and come back you will see it. August 15, 2022

Althea Spring is the 23rd largest spring in Missouri and it is worth the short hike down to see it. Do not stop at the first place you find! Keep going because more beautiful scenes are down the trail. This is a photo from the second spot on the trail right above the small dam.

This is the first area that you come to and where the spring water comes from under the ground. When we first arrived there were two young boys jumping into and playing in the water. I stuck my feet in although I was tempted to get in.

Isn't it so lovely? I could have sat here for a while.

Standing at the first area, the Althea Springs, look downstream to the right and this is what you see. It is so beautiful with all the squiggly curved inlets down the path.

The two photos I took turned out so different as to the color green. My settings were the same, but my location was slightly different as I have more of the foreground water in this image. I think I was standing under and next to the tree in the top one and the color looks better.

This is what you see when you approach the second area down the trail and down stream. You can see the fence railing at the bottom of my photo. This is just total gorgeousness!

This is the dam at the second area as see above. It is small, but it creates a fabulous waterfall. Some young men were sitting on top of the dam which seemed dangerous to me when we first arrived, but they were careful I suppose and left the same way they entered.

I took some photos with my cell phone too, but I do not think I will share them all. This is my feet in the spring water at the first area.

This is me. The young men told me that you could walk behind the waterfall. I am so glad they were there to tell me that as I could not resist doing it. They went down to do it with me which was nice because I had helping hands nearby should I have needed assistance. However, I think they knew something I did not know! One of them went under before me and waited. It would seem that the flow of this waterfall is so fierce that it pulls clothes right off! That young man got a sneak peak at a saggy boob. No matters as I will never see him again in my life. So on the way out I held up my top and then my pants were trying to come down! I did stay covered, however. It is best not to go in the two piece through waterfalls! Now I have been through waterfalls before and I do not remember them being so forceful or I just forgot what they were like. This one of course was very forceful and it was quite the experience feeling that strong force as you were in safety on both sides of the water. I had to muster up my braveness both times before I took a step. What a thrill and a delight! I had so much fun. It is a little dangerous, so be careful out there folks.

Further down the trail there are a few areas to read the North Fork River. It is my beautiful happy Ozark kind of stream! See the bluffs and the mountains and the clear water? These are my favorite places to be, away from other people. Down at the parking lot there were a lot of people in the water at the access, but this would be worth the walk for me to be away from the people and in peace and quiet.

Down at the end of this stream in this photo is where the spring comes out into the river. We did walk there (see below), but preferred to wallow in the water here where the water was warmer.

It was a very hot and humid day so even the dogs welcomed getting in the water and they normally do not want to be in the water.

We did sit here for a little while and did our favorite thing to do which I call "river wallowing." Every time I tell people that is my favorite thing to do they say, "uh what?" and I have to explain what river wallowing is and then they get it.

This is the spot where the spring water runs into the river water. I always love finding that spot in the water where one foot is warmer than the other foot.

I would certainly come back here!


Copyright Cheryl Rutledge-Brennecke
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