The Old River Road alongBryant Creek was part of the wagon route from Springfield to West Plains.
Here we follow it a short way along the Bryant’s west bank.
The red line on the topo map shows the part of the old wagon road in this story. Bryant Creek is at the top. The white area is the bottomland. Pine Creek refers to a local township. This part of the road runs from a ford across from the east bank to Tar Kiln Creek, a distance of about a mile. You can see it hasn’t been used for a long time.
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The snow reveals the old road between the edge of a wooded hillside (left) and bottomland used for growing hay (right). This agricultural bottomland is about 15 feet above the flood plain, which is out of sight to the far right.
The road begins a gentle half-mile slope down to the river. They located the road safely above the flood plain, which is to the right. That kept it from washing out in a flood.
As it nears the river the overgrown road turns toward the right and downward. By the height of the roadside you can see that its builders dug a cut. That allowed it to reach the river bottom more gradually.
View from the bottomland, looking at the road about 15 feet above. The builders needed to level off a “shelf” along the hillside. It must have been a lot of hard work to dig it without power equipment!