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I spent the first 18 years of my life living in rural Northwest Missouri. It wasn't until the fall of 2020 that I ventured past Kansas City and into the southern parts of the state. My only regret: not exploring this area sooner. On my jaunt through Mark Twain National Forest and the surrounding areas, I found some truly hidden gems: Pickle Springs Natural Area, a few old mills, and a 500 year old cypress trees at Allred Lake Natural Area. The beauty I found in this part of the state took my breath away. They call it the "Show Me State" for a reason, y'all. Show you it will.

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