Lower Rock Creek - 4-26-08

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Lower Rock Creek - 4-26-08

Postby Steve C » Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:12 pm

Wow! That’s all I can say about my trip with John Roth to Lower Rock Creek today. This is arguably one of the most beautiful areas in Missouri. And pictures don’t do it justice. It’s just one of those things you have to see for yourself.

I got to the parking area off of Highway E west of Fredericktown about 8:30. There, I met up with John. We began by bushwacking westward up Wolf Hollow. This was not an easy excursion. It tested me several times. We scrambled up the rocky falls and cascades of Wolf Hollow stopping to admire waterfall after waterfall, and another, and another. It was very beautiful. The spring rains have resulted in torrents of cascades down that rocky valley. Spring wildflowers were out in full force (John can provide a full list as he was naming them off while we hiked). We also discovered another element of nature on this trip – snakes, and lots of ‘em including FOUR Western Cottonmouths. We also saw an Eastern hog-nosed snake and a Western Ribbon Snake. The first cottonmouth kind of startled us (okay, okay, I'll admit it startled John because he was blazing the trail clearing my path of all snakes :wink: ). In my 43 years, I had never seen a cottonmouth before today – and I saw four of them. The hog-nosed snake was cool because it flattened its neck at us pretending to be like a cobra.

Back to the hike. We walked up Wolf Hollow and over the ridge of Trackler Mountain and down another unnamed hollow on the other side to Lower Rock Creek. This descent is one of the finest views in the Ozarks. We turned and followed the creek downstream, down the numerous cascades and falls to our lunch spot in the heart of Cathedral Canyon. We had lunch at the base of a 400-foot rock wall that plunged well into the stream to create a deep blue hole. It was superb. We continued on downstream past more falls and cascades - again, pictures won't do this place justice.

It was the pick day to be out this spring.

Here are some pics:

Here’s one of our cottonmouth friends.
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This is a cascade on Wolf Hollow heading up the eastern side of Trackler Mountain.
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This is the blue hole at our lunch spot.
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This is looking back toward Cathedral Canyon from about 50 feet above Lower Rock Creek.
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Looking downstream at Lower Rock Creek.
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Last edited by Steve C on Sun Apr 27, 2008 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby John » Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:56 pm

A++++ WOULD HIKE AGAIN

(I'd like to point out that I screamed like a baby when I stepped on one of the cottonmouths.)

Here is a list of today's blooming flowers:
rue anemone
false garlic
pussy toes
wood vetch
buttercup (maybe harvey's buttercup)
pale corydalis
roundleaf groundsel
dwarf dandelion / false dandelion
fire pink
rose verbena
wild geranium
wood sorrel
bluets
blue violet
cleft phlox
wild hyacinth
wild crocus
bird's-foot violet
possibly: spring cress / saxifrage / corn salad

At entrance to LRC off CR-511 we saw thousands of bloodroot and dutchman's breaches, but they were past blooming. I'll have to return next year a few weeks earlier in the season.
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New dance craze: "The Cottonmouth John"!

Postby hikesalot » Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:06 am

I think it would be worth the price of admission to see John do his 'snake dance' while screaming like a little girl. Yes sir, I do believe folks would come from miles around just to see that. I've heard of the "Cotton Eye Joe" before but not the "Cottonmouth John".
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Postby John » Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:22 am

I think it would be worth the price of admission to see John do his 'snake dance' while screaming like a little girl. Yes sir, I do believe folks would come from miles around just to see that. I've heard of the "Cotton Eye Joe" before but not the "Cottonmouth John".
I would like to point out that the snake in Steve's picture was a wee lad compared to what I stepped on, which resembled a log with a slithery tongue. If I hadn't stepped on it, I would have tripped over it.

I'd also like to mention that I screamed and jumped before I consciously saw the beast. I was more surprised by my screeching snake-dance that I was by the mammoth reptile beneath me. Some instinctual force took over my motor skills. Very weird.

I spent most of the remaining trip tapping my trekking pole in front of me like a blind man walking down the street.

This is the second cottonmouth I've trod upon. I've also stepped on a copperhead. Plus there was that time I tried to pour BBQ ashes on a timber rattler... but that's another story.
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Postby Steve C » Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:13 pm

Here's the snake that John almost stepped on (or possibly DID step on). I'd like to confirm that this one was a biggin. The collective adrenaline in each of our systems after seeing this thing could have powered a small city.

Also, just moments after seeing this big guy, John looks down and sees another one - much smaller, probably an offspring of the other. I thought to myself, holy &^#$ we're in a nest of these things! But those were the last two that we saw for the rest of the day.



Image
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Postby Lightweight Bob » Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:29 pm

The last two pictures look almost like they were taken in a western stream (didn't even know there were canyons in Missouri). Looks like a cool trip!
Hike slow, hike far...
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Postby John » Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:58 pm

Here is the image I prefer for Nessie, my little cottonmouth friend.
Image
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Postby Only Jack » Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:34 pm

I got my hip out of place going thru the boulders getting to Mina Sauk Falls. but this would have been worth the pain if I'd only known. It wasn't in the trip description.
HALot maybe another song
Hank Williams you wrote my life
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LRC snake song?

Postby hikesalot » Sun Apr 27, 2008 7:01 pm

Jack, I think you're right. Another song to commemorate the now legendary Lower Rock Creek snake hop, I mean hike, of April '08 would be in order. It'll be a fast paced instrumental tune (no lyrics) with some shrieking screams thrown in for good measure. We'll call it "Jumpin' with Johnny". Imagine a cross between a surfing song and a bluegrass jam. Sort of a "Wipeout" meets "Dueling Banjos" with lots of yellin' and hollerin'. To get the crowd really movin' we could dump a bucket of cottonmouths on the dance floor.
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Postby Only Jack » Sun Apr 27, 2008 8:36 pm

I think that should cover all the bases
Hank Williams you wrote my life
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Postby Huffy1 » Mon Apr 28, 2008 4:08 pm

That dance most likely would "Wipe out" Dueling Banjos, along with a few other things
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Re: Lower Rock Creek - 4-26-08

Postby Steve C » Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:39 pm

I went back and re-read through this thread and I couldn't help but smile at John's account of the mammoth serpent.

What a great day of hiking this was in April 2008!
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Re: Lower Rock Creek - 4-26-08

Postby Hungry Jack » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:55 am

Bittersweet to read that thread again. I can imagine you two guys out there having a great time together. John is missed.
Proud contributor to the Middle Fork Section
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Re: Lower Rock Creek - 4-26-08

Postby tenpoun1 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:38 pm

I've talked with my gf and we have been talking about going somewhere close to there during the summer and doing a little hiking. Looks wonderful and awesome pics by the way. Makes me wish is wasn't so cold out now
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