This past weekend, eleven human SBAC adventurers and two canines carpooled to the Missouri Ozarks. Our trip organizer, Kelly, found a great resource we used to tailor our own custom Ozark Trail backpacking experience, http://www.ozarktrail.com/taumsauk.php. Regarding the Taum Sauk Section of the Ozark Trail we hiked, the site says:
- “It’s hard to understate how great this section is. You have 1.5 billion-year-old mountains, igneous glades, springs, grand vistas, odd rock formations, and a swimming hole complete with natural flumes. This trail will slow you down– you’ll find your average speed drop a mile-an-hour for your normal pace as you negotiate the rough terrain. One person described the tread as “a natural stair-stepping machine.” Look for the cairns in the igneous glades, as it’s easy to get lost.”
The rewards for navigating the rocky trail and challenging terrain included beautiful autumn vistas.
We encountered a variety of flora, fauna, geological formations, and other sights, including bear scat, a three-toed box turtle, the Devil’s Toll Gate rock passage, and Mina Sauk Falls.
The real story behind a “mystery structure” and the “Scour Overlook” turned out to be more epic than our hypotheses, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taum_Sauk_Hydroelectric_Power_Station.
- “The upper reservoir can hold about 1.5 billion gallons of water (5.7 million m3; 4,600 acre feet (5,700,000 m3) behind a wall nearly 100 feet (30 m) tall. It sits 800 feet (240 m) above the 440 megawatts (590,000 hp) hydroelectric plant, which gives it a greater head than that of Hoover Dam. The two are connected by a 7,000-foot (2,100 m) tunnel bored through the mountain.”
- “At 5:12 a.m. on December 14, 2005, the northwest side of the upper reservoir was overtopped when water continued to be pumped from the lower reservoir after the upper was full. This lead to the catastrophic failure of a triangular section of the reservoir wall and the release of a 1,000 million US gallons (3.8 Gl) of water in twelve minutes. The sudden release sent a 20-foot (6.1 m) crest of water down the Black River.”
On the way home, four of us stopped in St. Louis for several local specialties, root beer http://fitzsrootbeer.com/, barbeque http://saltandsmokestl.com/, and of course, the big arch http://www.nps.gov/jeff/planyourvisit/gateway-arch.htm.
Following is a small sample of the many other pics snapped by the group along the way.