Rainy Season is upon us and I love this time of year! The warm air starts moving in, the sun starts shinning, the days grow longer, and it’s the perfect time to get out and watch the magic of spring. Bright green sprouts begin to appear from under the thick brown winter blanket, babies of all sorts are being born, and mass transformation is happening everywhere around us! In addition to the beauty, the spring rainy season brings a certain level of risk when it comes to the Ozark Backwoods. The mountain like terrain feeds our waterways while flooding many low lying bridges, slabs, and back-roads.
Be sure to practice safety first when exploring nature during the rainy season.
Water is life and with the rain comes a lot of water -- flood water that is. Which is not safe to play in! When you’re out exploring the Ozark Backwoods, stay safe. Be sure to always check the days weather advisory’s first. If there is a flash flood warning in effect, avoid low-lying areas all together. Flash floods are no joke and can quickly turn into a catastrophic event. Once the "all-clear" of flash flood has passed, it’s time to get out and explore. The "all-clear" to play in the river is nowhere near. Never drive through flood waters, even if you think it will be ok! You never know what kind of damage the flood waters have done to the hidden surface below. What once was a paved surface a mere six inches down, may now be a washed-out hole bigger than your car!
Remember, "Turn Around, Don’t Drown!"
Although the flood waters are not safe to play in, they do provide the land with a certain amount of cleansing if you will. Washing away the winter blankets and loose debris down the hillsides and through the rivers with all its might!
Flood waters can move trees! I have seen entire trees floating down the river, stand up, and fall back as they pass by. Obstacles are often unseen in the muddy mess passing by. Not to mention the current and its strength -- you could easily get swept off your feet and drug into the rushing current.
Even on a rainy day it’s fun to get out and experience spring! If you keep safety in mind, there is an abundance of magic to be seen! Flood waters provide some amazing views from afar and some unique opportunities up close. Its quite the feeling to stand along the flood line and not only see but feel the power of the water rushing by!
It’s an experience words can’t describe.
Tunnel Dam is one of my favorite places to view the flood waters. From Tunnel Dam road and up to the top of the mountain, the view is breathtaking! If you drive down to the river you will come to a dead end of flood water. Often resulting in a multiple point turnaround... or backing up until you can turn around. Many simply drive to park and check out the water before leaving. Going around to the other side of the river is fun once the water starts to recede. It has a very Jurassic feel with the mosses, vines, and swamp-like waters. This is a good way to spend a spring day!
Hiking the high grounds reveals many "picture perfect" moments with nature coming alive right before your eyes! The sun reaches these areas first and warms the ground quicker. Life is prominent at this point with pops of color appearing everywhere, transformation is happening by the moment. The dogwoods are blooming, trees are budding, flowers are popping, birds are chirping, and babies being born! There is so much to see!
The Lake of the Ozarks has many public hiking trails and access points to explore in spring. Ha Ha Tonka State Park is my favorite this time of year! They offer over a dozen trails covering more than 16 miles of ground! There are some low-lying flood plains in the state park to be cautious of. For example, you may come to a dead end walking the spring trail. However, the view from up above down the trail to the castle is "picture perfect"! The natural features of Ha Ha Tonka are vast! You will find everything from caves, natural bridges, springs to skinks, red-headed woodpeckers, and scorpions. Featuring twenty (20) caves, thousands of acres, and a wide diversity of landscape... you can’t go wrong with and adventurous day in the Ozark Backwoods at Ha Ha Tonka State Park.
"Turn Around, Don’t Drown!"
Wherever you go and whatever you do, always keep safety in mind! We want everyone to experience nature in a responsible safe way. Remember during the rainy season to check the weather for flash flood warnings and never drive through flood waters.
Some additional safety tips we recommend when exploring on your own...
Never go out alone
Always tell someone where you are going and when you are expected to arrive back
Always carry an emergency bag filled with the essentials in case you are stranded for a day or five
And most importantly, follow your intuition. If you get a feeling about something, trust that
When out exploring the Backwoods, be mindful of private property, do not trespass, and other signs warning you "do not enter".
Always leave with no trace of humans, and take a bag to fill with trash when you go out!
Looking for a guide to take you on a unique experience hiking The Ozark Backwoods? We got you!
Ozark Backwoods Tours offer private guided tours at various locations around the lake area! Check out our line up of spring tours and book your Tailor-Made group tour today! We will be sure you have a safe and an enjoyable experience hiking the through the Backwoods of the Ozarks!
Its not quite time for swimming suits, so grab your hiking boots, and come happy trailing with us as we explore the rainy season!