I went back to Meremec State Park this spring. Were the feral daffodils still there?

Still there, just like they've been every spring since they were planted, feral since the Corps of Engineers bought out the property owners, since the Meremec Dam was abandoned, since the land was transferred to Meremec State Park.

I really wasn't in much of a mood to hike. I tried pushing through the brush, up the Beaver Creek valley, but the blackberry brambles got thicker and thicker, and the old woods road fainter and fainter (it's far easier to work up the creek proper), so I went back to the daffodils, to the ruins they adorn.

In the spring of 2012, I remember being really puzzled by the ruins. On the one hand, there's the impressive wreck of a set of stairs, an improvised construction of store-bought treads and field stone masonry:

But on the other hand, there's hardly any sign of a foundation. A few concrete blocks, and nothing else. When I last looked the ruins over, I thought perhaps that someone had scavanged the concrete blocks from the foundation.

It made no sense. So I kicked around in the leaves. There was a fire, it seems. This appears to be the remains of a bed:

Eventually I found the explanatory bit of junk. This twisted, shapeless mass

is actually the remains of a wheel and a tire.

It must have been a heck of a fire. In one spot, the fire appears to have been so hot that it burnt fieldstone down to lime. And I found some melted glass, some blue, perhaps from a medicine bottle, and one chunk of what appeared to be window glass, partially melted and folded back and forth over itself in layers.

It turns out that Daffodil Cabin was actually a trailer. An odd trailer: the main door (if there was more than one) would have been above the tongue, and there was a lot of heavy gauge chicken wire in its construction (stucco, on a trailer?). But the surrounding timber would have been thinner, and the view across the valley of Beaver Creek and out toward the Meremec river would have been marvelous.

Someone loved Daffodil Cabin, and made it a place uniquely their own. It's wonderful that the enduring sign of that love is not the trailer or the steps, but the daffodils, gone feral at the edge of an Ozark creek valley.