POINTS OF INTEREST – 3
From the last 2-car ferry in Missouri to a viewing platform suspended above an underground lake, there’s several interesting places to visit.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Historic Home & Museum
- Tours are available of the home
- Open seasonly
This home on the Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield is where Laura, Almanzo, and Rose lived when they moved to Missouri in 1894.
57 miles From West Plains
Take Highway 63 north toward Willow Springs. Stay on 63 North and 60 West at the junction. Continue on Highway 60 west at Cabool. Past Norwood take the exit ramp for Y Highway. At the top of the ramp, turn left and cross the overpass. Then turn right on Old Highway 60 and A Highway. In 5 miles, the entrance to the museum will be on the left.
- 1.5 million acres in 29 counties in Missouri
- More than 750 miles of trails
- More than 350 miles of streams suitable for floating canoeing or kayaking
The Mark Twain National Forest maintains a healthy, working forest and offers a wide range of recreation activities.
8 miles From West Plains
To reach the forest that is closest to West Plains, take Highway 63 north toward Willow Springs. Turn left at Pomona on P Highway.
Legend of ‘Blue Man’ of the Hills Remembered
The legend of Bigfoot began in the Ozarks in the winter of 1865 when a noted hunter from the eastern part of Douglas County, Sol Collins, who was past 60, was hunting game on the ridge that forms the watershed between the Big North Fork and Spring Creek. There was snow on the ground and Collins was tracking his game when he came upon a set of tracks somewhat like a bear. Old Sol had trailed and killed many a bear in his time, but these tracks were the largest and broadest that he had ever seen; and at each side of the tracks were marks in the snow such as might have been made by long claws.
He immediately took up the trail, determined to kill the biggest bear in Ozarks history. For hours he followed those great footprints far away to the north, almost to Indian Creek, then in a wide semi-circle to the west until he was close above the Big North Fork River. It was while he was climbing the north slope of Upper Twin mountain that he looked up and barely escaped being hit by a huge boulder that crashed by him. He barely escaped two more huge boulders that hurled down the hillside, and as he took shelter behind a big post oak, his blood froze to see, up on the hillside, a gigantic figure shaped like an immense man, stark naked, except for the skin of some animal around its waist and other wrappings of skin around his feet.
The creature was covered from head to foot with a tightly curling coat of short black hair, which as the sun struck upon it took on a dark blue hue. Collins always claimed that the giant was not less than nine feet tall, and his estimate is among the least of many made by other men in the years to follow.
Collins stared only long enough to make these observations before the creature cast aside the great ten foot club he carried and tore out another boulder from the frozen ground, hurling it with such deadly aim that the rock shattered against the huge post oak. The giant then lifted up his voice and made the hills echo with an ear-splitting scream more terrifying than ever came from any wild beast that roamed the woods.
~ Douglas County Herald