Is this the prettiest picture I've taken all year?

I find it pretty not because it's especially well composed, but because it completely captures the late May morning when I visited Millstream Gardens.

It really isn't that far from South St. Louis County. Perhaps two hours, almost entirely on good divided highway:

The Conservation Department web site has the usual thorough information. And the Forest Service has a campground not too far away. I hiked the trail between Millstream Gardens and the campground.

The trail runs above Tiemann Shutins, through which runs the St. Francis River.

It's a place of granite boulders, shoots, and deep pools.

It's supposedly the best whitewater kayaking in the statewhen there's a lot of water in the river. The state kayaking championships are held there every spring, water permitting.

I hear that there's good fishing in the shutins for smallmouth bass and google eye, but I've never tried it. It looks daunting, like rock climbing with a fishing pole.