Richland Creek Valentine

It was a beautiful August day in the Ozarks, the stifling heat of the Ozarks was tempered that weekend by showers and cool breezes.  Kurt and I decided to take an early morning drive to the Richland Creek Wilderness area.

While he took shots of Falling Water Falls….

…and Six Finger Falls,

I was busy photographing the wildflowers native to that area, such as Orange Jewel Weed..


..and Frost Weed.


Our time there that day was quiet and peaceful.  Swimmers and hikers had yet to arrive; we took advantage of this, taking time to walk downstream,


finding yet more reasons to love the Richland Creek Wilderness!

Not far from Falling Water, I came upon a tree.  I’m not condoning carving into a tree, but what’s done is done.  That being said, thinking about the possible story behind it definitely made me smile.    It probably went something like this:

Sam and Shay, two teens from the Dover area,  had just started dating, and they were smitten with one another.  He brought her to Falling Water Falls, encouraging her to get past her fear of the water.

“Once you jump in this swimmin’ hole, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!  I’ll be right here to catch you!”

Shay inched to the edge of the rock, took a look down, and backed up three steps.  This went on for awhile:  two steps forward and three steps back, two steps forward and three steps back.  The always easy going Sam was finally losing his patience.  “If you don’t jump, I’m gonna come up there and push you in!”

And so, with a “I hate you Sam Johnston,” Shay again walked to the edge, closed her eyes and jumped!

“I did it!  I did it!  I love you Sam Johnston!”  

Later, they were picnicking under an old oak tree.  Sam got out his pocketknife.  “I’m gonna mark this day forever!”  He said while carving a heart into the trunk.

Some years later, on a beautiful day in June, they married on the banks of Richland Creek. An informal cookout/reception was held under the old oak tree.  

Having been married more than three decades, they take their grandkids to Falling Water Falls.  Grandma Shay holds each tiny hand and jumps while Grandpa Sam treads the chilly water, promising to catch. 


Happy Valentines Day!



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