Peak(s):  Taum Sauk - 1772
Date Posted:  06/04/2016
Modified:  06/06/2016
Date Climbed:   06/02/2016
Author:  globreal
 Missouri Highpoint Adventure   


Taum Sauk--1,772 feet



Almost two years ago, this state highpoint adventure was planned! My Mom announced a family reunion in Branson, Missouri to celebrate their (my Mom & Dad) 60th wedding anniversary. I committed right then (and never wavered) to pick up the Missouri state highpoint during this trip.

Making the drive across Kansas was loooong and un-eventful....and the views...oh my! You should see the photo I posted on Facebook.
Stunning!!

After enduring about 9 hours of the Kansas visual stimulation through a bug stained windshield, we finally reached the state that holds my next state highpoint. And of course, Kansas City has rush hour traffic... but only on our I-70 East route.
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The plan was to meet my good friend Robert Kramer. He had spent 25 years in Missouri and therefore he wanted to be my guide and do this state highpoint with me. We decided to meet in Alma, MO where his aunt Norma lived. She has become a good friend to my family over the years and so she offered to let us come spend the night. Robert spent lots of time in Alma growing up. As a boy, he was tempted to climb the town's water tower.
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Since he didn't have this highpoint, we were very tempted!
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The next morning we choose to an alpine start (5:00am) since we needed to end up in Branson that evening. More driving east on I-70 took us to Chesterfield, MO outside of St. Louis where Robert took me by his old house, church, and many other places he use to frequent.

We took Hwy 21 south into the 3-town area in Iron County which holds Pilot Knob, Ironton, and Arcadia. This area is rich in Civil War history. In the car Robert was telling me about the cannonball that had hit the court house. So we stopped by to check it out. Robert went inside to fetch the court recorder to come share with us the stories.
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Before heading to the state high point, Robert wanted to show me Elephant Rocks State Park. I love the fact that the Missouri state parks are free. At this park, old granite slabs and boulders exists. This was an area where 19th century mining took place to mine the famous redish/pink granite. The higher quality granite blocks produced from quarries before the area became a state park were used for building homes and other structures; the flawed and damaged stone was hammered into blocks, which were used for paving streets.
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The largest rock called "Dumbo" weighs a mere 680 tons. I decided to see if I could lift one up off of the floor. No problem!
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If you didn't notice, you are deep in the Ozarks here. This is the backcountry and boy do they have trees! Coming from Colorado I could sure notice the difference of greenery.
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Once on the CC road, we came to a pull-off over look. These kind of views are rare due to all of the trees.
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I had seen on the map that there was a old fire tower.
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Of course we stopped....it gave us something to climb!
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After 90 steps, you reach a locked grate. So, we couldn't actually get to the top of the observation tower...even though we were again tempted to break the law to get to the top. But the views were still nice were we were forced to stop.... above the trees.
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Now came the time to get to the point of coming here.
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Yes, you can practically drive to the Missouri state highpoint.
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Good use of the local pink granite.
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To get there, you only have a few hundred yards to hike on a wheelchair accessible sidewalk.
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Before starting, we already knew we were going to do the 3 mile loop down to the Mina Sauk Falls.
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We weren't alone at the highpoint.
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This turned out to help us not have to do another selfie. Me and Robert not AT the Missoui state highpoint, but ON the Missouri state highpoint.
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And of course it's marked with some of that famous pink granite.
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You can see on the map the "P" for the parking lot. We then took the red-dashed trail to the highpoint and then on down to the Mina Sauk waterfalls.
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There was a sign that said it was another 1.2 miles to the waterfalls. And the sign back at the trailhead estimated the round trip would take 3 hours. I guess the people in Missouri don't hike to quick. We jogged to the waterfalls in only 17 minutes.
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We first hiked out to the top of the waterfalls.
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Then we hiked down and around to the bottom. We got off trail and had to do a little scrampling...which of course we didn't' mind doing.
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Luckily for us, it was late spring and we had had some rain the last few days, so the falls were running nicely for us.
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And of course we had to get the selfie shot.
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On the way back we continued the loop trail and headed up the Ozark Trail which is well marked. This distance to the trailhead was 1.4 miles and though we didn't jog, we made it in a mere 33 minutes. Our total hiking time was we less than an hour...not the 3 hours stated on the sign at the trailhead.
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After our successful trip to Taum Sauk and Mina Sauk, we returned to the car hot and sweaty. So, Robert knew of a solve for that....the Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park.
https://mostateparks.com/park/johnsons-shut-ins-state-park

I hadn't heard of the term "shut-ins." Basically it's where the East Fork of Black River narrows and shallows through rock formations. It's a popular place in summer to cool off. And since we walked, floated, and bobbed down this for a mile, the cameras and phones had to stay in the car. So sorry, no pictures....but you can use the link above to see pictures.

Summitpost has the information you'll need for getting to Taum Sauk:
http://www.summitpost.org/taum-sauk-mountain/154007

And I made it in time for dinner to reunite with my parents and two brothers...along with all of the spouses, grand kids, and offsprings. I thank God for the incredible family I have, and for having a good friend like Robert. It was a great, fun day. Thanks Robert.
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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
globreal2
Looks like fun!
06/04/2016 13:35
Way to go to my "Peak Bagger Mountain Man"!!!! Looks like a nail biter...lol! Glad you made it safely. Congrats as always! How many do you/we have left of these state high points?


fepic1

Im Going There!
06/06/2016 20:26
Retirement goal. Ill be looking for your foot prints.


Missouri Flatlander
Welcome to the Show Me State
06/12/2016 06:35
I do the reverse every winter from St. Louis over to your majestic Colorado. The same Loooong drive through Kansas. Always anticipating that first vision of the Rockies to pop up. Glad you enjoyed our mountain, mini falls, and the shut ins. By the way, when will Mt. Elbert get wheelchair access like our Taum Sauk. LOL


amnicola

Missouri High Point
06/15/2016 23:37
Loved every minute of this trip with you, and neat to have two family reunions in one week in Missouri-first for Britt to see my roots (three generations of my family climbed that tower) and then to be adopted by Britt's family in Branson for a day.

I am glad I asked Britt if he was a strong swimmer, cause he went under three times at the last plunge at Johnson's Shut-Ins. I have found sunglasses on the top of Crestone Needle and posted in this forum's lost and found, and now it is time to ask if anybody saw Britt's sunglasses floating down the Shut-ins in Missouri! Us Missouri flat landers have some rugged in our blood too. Thanks my friend for a great road trip-my Subaru is officially broken in now.



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