The Headwaters Area of Bryant Creek
As a concept, the headwaters of a stream sounds dramatic -- the
place of its beginnings, the source, and all that. When you go to
search out such a place, however, the results of your search can
be much more subtle, if no less significant.
Like many an Ozarks stream, Bryant Creek doesn't begin
with a single water source. Seeps, small springs and unnamed drainages
account for its beginnings. Not until it reaches its first major
contributor, Bryant Spring, does it even look like a real stream.
At Bryant Spring it becomes perennial for several miles, until at
Dry Creek it disappears underground. Above Tarbutton Creek it resurfaces,
and resumes its flow as a year-round stream.
||Protecting the Headwaters of Bryant
The Cedar Gap Conservation Area is 391 acres
of deep timbered ravines that contain some of the headwaters of
Bryant Creek. Several springs join together to create a small, clear
creek that continues to meander down the Ozarks to become the floatable
Bryant Creek. Limestone boulders and shelter caves are scattered
throughout this property. Walking through this area is like taking
a step back in time.
Hill is the second highest point in Missouri. The headwaters
drop some 400 feet in elevation before leaving the protected conservation
area. The land was purchased through the generous efforts of a number
of individuals, organizations, and corporations. It's now managed
by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
From U.S. 60, turn south on state route O and follow
it through the village. Just past where the houses stop, a gravel
road turns right and crosses the railroad tracks, then turns left
and stops at the entrance to the conservation area.