My friend Zhnee (Zhinay) and I took another road trip to see more of southern Missouri. Our first stop was Mingo National Wildlife Refuge. Located in the upper end of the lower Mississippi River valley, Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, at 21,592 acres, is the largest remnant of bottomland hardwoods remaining out of an original 2 1/2 million acres in the Missouri bootheel. A major migration and wintering area for migratory waterfowl, populations of 125,000 mallards and 75,000 Canada geese have been recorded. Bald eagles have been successively nesting on the refuge since 1985. The refuge contains approximately 15,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods, 1,000 acres of upland hardwoods, 1,275 acres of cropland and moist soil units (see Management Activities), 700 acres of grasslands, and 5,000 acres of marsh and water. There are seven natural areas on the refuge and over 140 identified archaeological sites. In 1976, 7,730 acres were designated as a wilderness area. Of course, we didn't see any of those species listed, But we did see some deer, several squirrels and heard a woodpecker doing a drum solo on some distant tree. And the tortoise. It was a beautiful day for a walk through the forest.
Zhnee shooting something
Us at the refuge
The boardwalk trail
Hardwood forest, dry here
Vines trying to strangle a tree
More hardwood forest and a canal
A bridge to nowhere, literally. Well, there was a footpath on the other side, but to get to it required a leap of faith that the ground would support you, or climbing down where steps should heve been andno steps were. Zhnee said there once was a viewing platform in the field.
Looking left down the canal
Swampy area and a tree with a tough childhood
The deer. There were three, which I thought to be a doe with her yearlings.
Then there was the tortoise, who was very obliging and allowed us several photo ops