Maybe because we went there first and my brain was the freshest it will be all weekend, or maybe because it held the highest chance of me losing fingers, Stephen Spencer’s sawmill stands as the most vivid site for me today. The mud, the smell, the stacks of logs tall as my apartment complex, the layered clumps of sawdust built up on the ceiling like a fungus—I had no preformed mental picture of a saw mill, but now I will always haveSpencer’s mill in mind when I think of a saw mill.
And the last site we went to, Big Springs, was the best way I can think to end the day, because I actually got my shoes muddy—and my pants and my hands. I wandered along the trail of Big Spring and down its rock steps looking for the source of some water spouts, then changed direction and clawed my way up a muddy bluff because… well, because it was there. The view wasn’t what I had hoped, but coming down was the closest thing to skiing you can find for free in Missouri in September.
-Ben Unglesbee; edited by Emily Garnett