Twenty Waterfalls in 2020 - January

Selfie by us at Grand Falls near Joplin, Missouri, January 2020.


When Scott and I moved out of a normal 1,000sqft house, we decided to stop collecting things and start collecting experiences. In order to keep my head around this style of collecting, I find myself making lists of what we have experienced and where we have been. This year we are taking on a lot of little projects, twenty of them to be exact. One of those projects is collecting twenty waterfalls. We make sure to get a selfie with the waterfall, picture, and video. It has been a lot of fun and we thought we would share the experiences with you.

Image was taken by Scott as a selfie at Natural Dam, Arkansas, in 2019.

As of today, May 13, 2020, we have visited eleven waterfalls and two CCC spillways. They are in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Many of the waterfalls we found have been a complete surprise for us. We knew about the locations in Arkansas and Missouri, but Oklahoma and Kansas gave us thrills because who thinks of the prairies having waterfalls? Let's get started.


Image was taken by Ren on January 13, 2020.


Bluestem Falls is just below the spillway of Bluestem Lake. This lake is one of the many made lakes in Oklahoma and is fed by the Middle Bird Creek and, eventually, puts out into Bird Creek that crosses the state's Green Country. Its waters end up spilling into the Verdigris River which is a major river for barge transport! We visited these falls in the summer of 2018 and were very disappointed to find a place pillaged by trash and vandalism. This definitely seemed to be a party place for the local teens.

This is only a sample of the graffiti throughout the area. This image is taken in 2018.

Even more graffiti. This image was taken on January 2020.

This location was impressive while the water was low. Here you could see a lot of geology and I was able to find a few fossils. I think the thing that amazed me most is seeing the layers of "geological history." However, impressive as it was then, it was much more so when we arrived in January; the falls were rushing. You could feel the water as it pounded the river bottom under our feet. I just can't imagine the sound or feeling of something bigger; this was truly an amazing experience for me.

Here you can see the many thousands of years of history! The image was taken by me in 2018.

The lake is just a few minutes from the town of Pawhuska in Osage County. Here you will find the Pioneer Woman's many enterprises, the Swinging Bridge, and the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. Pawhuska is the county seat of Osage County and the Capital for the Osage People. This county was originally the home of the Osage People. They were in the process of being moved off their land for the second time in Kansas so the Osage People purchased the area we have as Osage County today. The purchase of this land gave them the mineral rights and made them some of the richest individuals in Oklahoma.

Screenshot of the lake and county seat of Osage County, Pawhuska. Taken from Google Maps.

This lake is a man-made lake that was built in 1958 to be a secondary water source for the city of Pawhuska and as flood control for the Bird Creek. The spillway was originally just a piece of land that allowed water to flow over it to ease the burden on the land formed dam. The water has dropped down onto the creek bed so hard and for so long that it has created a very deep ravine giving a huge and beautiful waterfall. As you can see in the photo below it is at least 15 feet from the creek bed.

This image taken by Scott in 2018 is where the image above was taken and video below.

The video below was originally sent out for Instagram and Appix so the format is portrait.



Image of Twin Falls taken by me on January 18, 2020


Devil's Den State Park has a very special meaning to me. This was the land my family owned until 1931 when my Great-Great-Grandpa lost it due to not paying property taxes. However, we have come to find out even more about the family history that shocked us, making the Twin Falls Waterfall even more special. Just a few miles up the road is a place called Moonshiners Cave. It was here that my Great-Great-Uncle had a still and was making moonshine. During this time period, it was illegal to do and I often wonder if this might just be the real reason for them having lost the property.

20200513 4.png
Screenshot of Devil's Den State Park from Google Maps. The falls and spillway are marked.

In 1933, the government set up a program called the Civilians Conservation Corp (CCC) that helped young men make $25 a month to send home to their families during the Great Depression. This saved many families when there was no money to be made. This is one of the many parks the CCC built; state and national parks alike. Here you will find trails, buildings, bridges, and the spillway (behind the statue) all built by these young men. Looking for information about this statue I found this quote about it,

"CCC Worker Statue"TM 1995
"The excitement of the dedication of a permanent "Spirit of the CCC" statue, led to the design, construction, and dedication of a life-size series of statues. The new series of statues known as the CCC Worker StatueTM dot the American landscape in tribute to the men of the CCC. The CCC Worker StatueTM is the latest piece of statuary created by the alumni organization as a symbol of honoring the men and their work."

Quote found on the Civilians Conservation Corps Legacy page and can be viewed at

Image was taken by me & processed by @thekittygirl.
This is titled "Spirit of the CCC" and is STATUE NO. 15 Dedicated June 30, 2002.

One of the things Scott and I have been discussing, should we include the man-made spillways that are not impacted by nature. We are still "discussing" this and not agreeing, but we felt it should be included in our posts about the waterfalls. The CCC structures were designed to be made from local resources so it did not take from nature they were placed in.

This is the CCC Spillway, built in the 1930s, running full. Image is ours and taken in January.

Here you can get a feeling of the size of this dam and the CCC style of construction. The image was taken by Scott and in September 2017.

The waterfall Twin Falls is located in the southwestern edge of the Ozark Mountain range called the Boston Mountains. It is filled with limestone caves all throughout the area and has many cutaways from the water erosion that happens during the spring and fall seasons. This waterfall is a natural fall and is not caused by a full lake. Arkansas is known for its many natural springs. These springs are caused by water seeping through the cracks in the rock structures and help to clean and recharge the water. Many times you will see streams and creek filled with water rolled rocks, but no water. When the underground rivers flow with too much water, they bubble up from below and make spectacular water features.

Scott braving the water and cold to get a close up of the spring water.

January was a very busy month for us when it came to exploring and there were three more waterfalls to cover. Stay tuned and we will finish our waterfall counter in 20 Waterfalls in 2020 - part two.



Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

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