I am very thankful my parents took me hiking as a kid. I enjoyed it when I was young (for example, this photo of a young me hiking at Fraser’s Hill in Malaysia) and I enjoy it now (my Mom and I visited Fraser’s Hill again a few years ago).
Recently I enjoyed visiting Alley Spring Mill and hiking the overlook trail (a 2 km loop trail) near Eminence, Missouri.
The Alley Spring Mill is in the Ozark National Scenic Riverway (part of the National Park system). The mill itself looks wonderful next to the pond and also has some interesting details inside.
Corn and wheat was loaded at the ground level of the building and moved up to the top via the tiny buckets driven by the water wheel. Then the grain was filtered and ground using the water wheel as the source of power (moving up via the mini bucket elevators and down shoots to the machines on the ground level in sequence).
I know it is not at all easy to see in this photo but the small dark patches in the line of white in the photo are actually small bucket (probably a few cm across – less than 2 inches).
The grain was ground, picked up in another elevator, taken back up and dropped down into the next machine. This process allowed the grain to be ground repeatedly to a fine flour suitable for baking.
Sifting was the main activity on the 2nd floor. The large cube shaped machine was called a swing sifter. It shook the ground grain through a series of sieves to achieve a uniform consistency.
The hike is nothing spectacular but provides walk through nature (there isn’t much of an overlook).
The river is a short walk from the mill and there is a wide path along the river.
The pond had a very noticeable light blue tint (not as noticeable in the photo). That tint is due to calcium carbonate. The color reminded me of the blue water at the Kuang Si Waterfalls in Laos (but there the color is due to cooper in the water).
Alley Spring Mill website by the US National Park Service.