Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 22
Above left: Whimsical signs point the way to the various cabins at the resort.The Log Lookout
cabin is a true log cabin. Above right: Myron inspects the water ﬂow at The Falls, the key
feature on the North Fork River at the resort. A native population of rainbow trout creates a
unique ﬁshery here and brings anglers from all over the country to test their skills in the cold,
clear water. A ﬁshing guide service is available along with canoe rentals for 7- and 12-mile ﬂoats
that pass by Rainbow Spring, one of the largest in Missouri.
For a moment memories take him back on a long journey to the time before Usually once it starts rising it comes up a foot an hour and then crests and
his father drowned in the same stretch of river. Then just as quickly he follows then goes down a foot an hour. It's kind of predictable."
A friend living 30 miles upstream gives Myron a warning of what to expect
the long road back on a rocky path that included foster care, drifting across the
U.S. as a teenager and meeting his wife, Ann, while following the fruit harvest when the river is on the rise. "He will say something like 'we had a 25-foot rise,'
which is a lot. Historically, 10 hours later I'll get half of that."
This time, however, there was nowhere for the ﬂood water to go. Every stream
An uncle offered Myron a small piece of the Ozarks near where he now stands
and he asked Ann to return with him. "She fell for the line of being a pioneer in the area was swollen. When the ﬂood hit River of Life Farm it was a raging
wife in the Ozark Mountains and perfecting poverty with me," he says with a torrent that caught the owners off guard. "We were just doing the normal ﬂood
things, getting things up, turning the sump pumps on," Myron says. "It just
chuckle. In time another uncle died, leaving Myron several
hundred acres that included what is arguably Missouri's
kept coming up, higher than I had ever seen it."
He focused his attention on saving items in the basement of his home,
premier stretch of wild trout water.
Myron believes with every ﬁber of his being that God helped
which had never ﬂooded. Soon he heard a horriﬁc crash. Flood waters had
smashed through the front door. The force of the water was so strong it
him on every step of his journey. He never considered keeping
broke interior doors in half.
the beautiful setting for himself. Instead, he was determined to
In time the river crested and began to go down. Myron grabbed a
share it with others so they could ﬁnd the peace missing from
few hours sleep on the couch. When he awoke dawn had arrived,
so many lives these days.
revealing the damage.
"I had this dream inside of me," he says. "I just knew what I
Debris hung from pine trees in his yard. Trailers holding canoes
wanted to accomplish and I knew I wanted to be back on this
were missing. The lodge and ofﬁce were a wreck. Power from Howellriver. I wanted to resurrect my father's ﬁshing resort here."
Oregon Electric Cooperative was out, with miles of line destroyed.
Starting with just one cabin, the couple slowly turned the
Mud covered bedding intended for guest cabins. Worse, eight cabins
dream into reality. River of Life Farm's trademark became the "treehouse"
cabins, elegant sanctuaries seemingly hanging in space above the scenic North built above the historic high water mark had been swept away.
One couple had been staying in the resort's Cedar Chest cabin. As the water
Fork River near Dora.
As the calendar turned to 2017, Myron was poised to have his best year ever, rose, they ﬂed up the hill, spending the night in a cave.
When his family arrived to survey the damage, there was a tearful reunion:
with 20 cabins and a lodge available, along with a resident trout ﬁshing guide,
Myron's wife and children thought he had perished in the ﬂood. "My son Tommy
a restaurant and a river ﬂoat business.
But the Good Lord gives, and the Good Lord taketh away. As April turned looked at me real serious, with strong eye contact, and he said, 'You built it
into May this past year, Myron watched in horror as ﬂoodwaters swept away once, you can build it again.' That's what I needed to hear. Because that's what
we needed to do, build it again," Myron says.
much of what he had built.
Myron describes what followed as miraculous. "Volunteers just started
A chart of historic ﬂood levels in his ofﬁce tells the tale. On Aug. 1, 1915, the
river crested at 35 feet. It hadn't topped 30 feet in all the years hence. But on coming in. People came and helped and helped and helped."
They carried bedclothes home to wash. They brought food and cleaning
that fateful May 1 the river didn't stop rising until it reached 50 feet.
"We got a tremendous rain at the end of April," Myron relates. "The last day supplies. They moved debris and cleaned mud from the resort.
A landscaping company from Springﬁeld brought its entire crew and
of April the river started rising and rising. We've seen the river rise for 60 years.
Below left: Myron checks the view from a new treehouse cabin underway at the resort.
His goal for the new buildings is to preserve the privacy from the surrounding trees while still
offering a view of the river valley. Below: This paper hanging in the resort ofﬁce lists historic
ﬂoods on the river. The 50-foot crest in 2017 was well above the previous record set in 1915.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - February 2018
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