I recently took a drive further into Dallas County to check out Lead Mine, an area specifically set up for equestrians with specialty primitive camp grounds for horse enthusiasts. There are plenty of marked trails for horses, hikers, bicyclists, and access to the Niangua River for floating. It is also part of the Missouri Birding Trail. I took Hwy 73 just north of Buffalo off Hwy 65 and followed the signs into the area.
Lead Mine is directly east of Tunas, Missouri and is home to a Mennonite community so watch for horse drawn buggies, wagons and children on bicycles. I stopped at a few stores including Miller’s Country Store and The Lead Mine Country Store and Restaurant. The restaurant is only open limited hours so I was not able to sample any food, but the store did not disappoint.
The Lead Mine Country Store is chock full of all types of books on farming, cooking, hunting and what to do with your harvest-whether it’s meat or vegetable. I could have easily spent a lot of money on books while there. They also have a good selection of bulk spices, enamelware, and supplies for canning as well as bolts of cloth, hats, gloves, and a wide variety of suspenders. If you have ever dreamed of homesteading, this is your store.
Miller’s Country Store off Hwy 73 also run by Mennonites has a greenhouse, outdoor furniture collection, large bulk food selection, frozen section, spices and a deli counter. I bought some herbs and admired the container flower gardens. Miller’s is larger and boasts more light inside, Lead Mine Country Store is quaint and old fashioned. While at Lead Mine I paid a quarter for an area map of businesses to check out later including Niangua Furniture and Wenger’s Greenhouse.
Some things of note as I did not have much time, this was an exploratory trip:
- Conservation areas in Missouri can sometimes be deceptive. Most that I have been to have very innocuous entrances leading you to believe you have arrived at your destination and there really isn’t much to brag about. Lead Hill is one of these places, so keep driving.
- Wifi doesn’t work real well out here. I actually pulled out my Missouri map from the glove box to relocate myself several times between spotty internet access for Google Maps. A map specific to the Lead Mine CA area would have been helpful and is available here https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places/lead-mine-ca:
- During this particular trip, I realized I needed to take my personal security a little more seriously as I am occasionally alone when hiking or taking photographs. I realized after a truck and trailer (not a horse trailer) had passed me slowly several times that I was in a vulnerable position and really couldn’t defend myself should I meet someone who meant me harm. Most of the time, personal crimes are committed by people the victim knows, but sometimes they are crimes of opportunity. This trip solidified in my mind that I needed mace and possibly other protective gear to demonstrate, if needed, that I was serious in protecting myself.
- This would be an excellent area for attempting mountain biking, which is something I have been considering doing more of this spring and summer to increase my fitness level. I’ll let you know how it goes.
- Ticks were out in the high grass and I completed a tick check as soon as I got home from my little exploratory hike. Should have sprayed down first.
This drive would be an excellent Saturday trip, as the above stores are NOT open on Sundays. Whether you want to hike, float, fish or ride your horse, this is an area to put on your list. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars, bug repellent , water and get out there!
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