Taum Sauk Mtn., MissouriAugust 12 2002 at 5:43 PM
|Ed Perrin |
Response to Taum Sauk, Missouri (1,772 feet)
Due to health reasons, I am not much of a climber. I am a 55 year old male. But I wanted to go to the highest point in Missouri and check it out. Fortunately, it was accessable by SUV. There might be some problems just after a big rain or during the snowy winters.
The roads are paved almost all the way there. The little bit that is rock road is very well maintained and any car can make it to the top except perhaps in wet weather.
There is a place where you can get out of your car and walk about 1000' to the spot that is the highest in Missouri. The highest spot is well marked with a stone marker.
Very near by is the start of a hiking path going to Johnson Shut Ins, a favorite weekend place for families and the younger crowds. (JSI has limited access with only 100 cars allowed in at one time). It is about 12 miles from Taum Sauk Mountain and the trail goes through some of the most beautiful scenery in Missouri. It is very rustic and not for amateurs. No facilities along the way to JSI.
Nearby, there is a primative camping area with 12 campsites. There are no services except for a primative toilet facility, no running water, electric or sewer.
There is an area for scout camping next to the regular campsites.
The highlight of the trip is not at the top of Missouri, but a little below. There is a lookout place where you can see other surrounding mountains and points of interest in the area. It is very well marked with signs describing the indigenous animals and plants as well as the surrounding towns and mountain area, including a lake about 10 miles away that is nestled in a group of mountains. Very pretty in the fall, since it is 99% wooded area. Very nice any time. Been there in fall and summer, will be doing winter this year in the snow if it comes.
On 8/11-12/02 my daughter and I stayed at the observation area and observed the perseid meteor shower.
We saw 47 meteorites, two of which were bright enough to illuminate the ground on which we had our lounge chairs. We laid with our feet pointend due south, toward the Persiad constelation and looked straight up. About 0030, 8/12/02, we saw the first one, about 0100 we saw the first of two very bright ones, and about 0200??? (we were dozing) we saw a second, not so bright one. The other sightings were generally small and short lived, but the two bright ones made the trip and the loss of sleep worthwhile.
I have been to Pike's Peak in my youth, but this was a very impressive site and only 90 miles from our hometown of St. Louis.
The park is accessable via MO state highway 21 near Arcadia Missouri. Driving maps are available on Mapquest. And when you get there, you can get paper maps showing the various points of interest in the state park.