While traveling through Missouri on the way to Colorado for the holidays, my wife and I spied an intriguing marshy landscape from the highway just after we passed by the small village of Stoutsville. The area represents the northern tip of Mark Twain Lake. The sharp decrease in water levels over the past few years, along with the gray wintry conditions, made for an eerie setting. The exposed tree trunks and their reflections offered endless compositional possibilities, but "that sinking feeling" cut my time short. Read on past the gallery for more info about the lake and my fun in the mud.

Florida in Missouri?

Mark Twain Lake is a reservoir located in northeast Missouri. It was created as a result of the Clarence Cannon Dam which was built to mitigate flooding from the Salt River. The lake was named for Missouri author Mark Twain and part of the area around it is Mark Twain State Park. The village of Florida, the birthplace of Mark Twain, is mostly surrounded by the lake.

In recent years the lake has been suffering from a severe water shortage. In January 2023 levels were recorded as critically low - more than 20 feet below the normal pool level since 2013. This is due to a combination of factors, including an extended drought, increased water usage, and inadequate rainfall.

Sources: Wikipedia, JanetWhardy.com

Muddy as She Goes

I packed three pairs of shoes for our trip to Colorado, including my spikeless golf shoes in case we did some hiking. Little did I know they would end up being used to trudge through the mud in Missouri. Both the shoes and my tripod required some extensive cleanup before being allowed back in the trunk of our car. I had hoped to spend a longer time at the marshland and cover a larger area, but mobility in the muck just became too much of an issue. Anyway, like a boy scout, a good photographer should always be prepared - next trip I'll make sure to throw in some rubber boots!