A Day in the Arcadia Valley of Missouri

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Welcome Center Fort Davidson Pilot Knob, MO

My long time friend David Tripp journeyed from Texas to visit his parents and he got in touch with me and we decided to take a trip to the Arcadia Valley in Missouri.  The temperatures were bitter cold but we didn’t let that stop us.  We decided to start our day with lunch at the Fort Davidson Restaurant in Pilot Knob, MO.

After an excellent lunch we headed to the site of Fort Davidson. The only thing left of the fort is the earthworks of the fort, surrounding the huge hole that was caused by a powder explosion.  The site is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The Civil War Trust (a division of the American Battlefield Trust) and its partners acquired and preserved 41 acres of the battlefield that are now a part of the state historic site.

The Battle of Fort Davidson, also known as the Battle of Pilot Knob, was fought on September 27, 1864.  It was the opening engagement of Price’s Missouri Raid during the American Civil War.  Price had the Union army  outnumbered by more than 10 to 1 but Thomas Ewing’s men held off Price’s Confederate army during the day and when night time fell they were able to slip away leaving the Confederates with possession of the fort.

On the site is a granite monument that marks where a mass grave is.  Maps are available at the Visitors’ Center that can be used to do a self-guided tour.  The visitor center offers a narrated version of the battle and its context within the Civil War.

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Dam of the Iron Mountain Lake  in Missouri

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Wooden bridge spanning the creek that handles the overflow.

After visiting Fort Davidson we headed over to see Iron Mountain Lake in St. Francois county of Missouri.  It is located in the city of Iron Mountain Lake whose population was estimated in 2016 to be around 736.

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View from the top of Taum Sauk Mountain in Missouri

Our next stop would be Taum Sauk Mountain which is a part of the St. Francois Mountains.  It is the highest natural point in the state of Missouri coming in at 1,772 feet.  It is believed that Tom Sauk Mountain was named after Sauk-Ton-Qua a Piankeshaw chief.  The view on top is quite breathtaking in the least.

There is a state park on Taum Sauk that is made up of 7500 acres.  There are a series of trails in the park including a portion of the Ozark Trail.  There is a 12-site basic campground and a special use area for non-profit youth organizations.  For day use there is a picnic area.

The park has its own legend.  It is a Native American “Romeo and Juliet” story.  The daughter of Piankeshaw chieftain Sauk-Ton-Qua’s daughter Mina Sauk fell in love with an Osage Indian warrior.  They met secretly and one day she was caught in his arms.  There was a trial and he was found guilty and he was executed.  Mina Sauk was so heartbroken she plunged from a cliff and took her own life.  This tragedy unfolded at a place on the mountain now called Mina Sauk Falls.

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View on top of Tom Sauk Mountain

We loaded up and headed to Elephant Rocks State Park, a geologic marvel. The park encompasses an outcrop of Precambrian granite in the Saint Francois Mountains.  The name comes from a line of large granite boulders that resemble elephants.  Recreation is available in the form of picnicking, rock climbing and trail exploration. It is managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.  The land that makes up the park was donated by geologist John Stafford in 1967.

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Elephant Rocks

 

The last stop was the historic Caledonia, MO., a small town located in Washington county.  The town was laid out in 1819 and was named after the Roman Empire’s Latin name for Scotland.  The town has had the presence of a post office since 1819.  The 2010 census showed a population of 130.  The town is also known for its annual Pumpkin Festival.

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Two historical homes of  Caledonia

It was a good day and there is so much to see in the Arcadia Valley.  There is also Johnson Shut Ins, Royal Gorge, Marble Creek Recreation Area and Immanuel Lutheran Church 1861.  There are places to camp or one can choose to stay in one of the many Bed and Breakfasts, Inns or motels.  The towns of Arcadia, Ironton and Pilot Knob are located within the valley.  It is a great way to spend the day or weekend.  I highly recommend Fort Davidson Restaurant if you are looking for some great cooking.

Spread the love and be kind to each other.

 

Silver Mines Recreation Area

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Turkey Creek meets St. Francis River/Silver Mines

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” – John Muir  Our National Parks

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

I would like to share with you an area in Madison County Missouri located along the St. Francis River.  It is a piece of paradise named Silver Mines Recreation Area.  It is part of the old Einstein Mines where the Einstein Mining Company began mining silver, tungsten and lead in 1877 and ceased mining in 1946.  The area is known  for its Precambrian and felsite rocks.

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

Silver Mines offers a variety of recreational opportunities and is abundant with historical and geological wonders.  The St. Francis River is the only river in Missouri classified as a “white water” river.  It is very popular with kayakers during the spring high water.  Parts of the river are used for swimming, other parts are good fishing and the state holds an annual kayaking competition the third weekend of March, providing  the water levels are sufficient.  There is a two mile trail that follows both sides of the river with some breath taking views, for those addicted to hiking.

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

When I was younger we would meet my grandparents there and camp for the weekend.  I took a couple of walks down memory lane and I recalled all the good times we had there.  It was all tent camping and sometimes it got rough.  There were some great camp sites and the park was well maintained.  The area is alive with spectacular scenery and is occupied by many varieties of wildlife.

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St. Francis River near Fredericktown, MO

“In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks.” – John Muir

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out til sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” – John Muir

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

 

“Any fool can destroy trees.  They cannot run away; and if they could, they could, they would be destroyed – chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones.” – John Muir

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

Well I hope you enjoyed reading and I thank you for taking the time to do so.  We are blessed with some very nice state parks in Missouri and I tip my hat to the Missouri Conservation Department.  If you have never been here, be sure and put it on your bucket list.  Spread the Love!