Being away so much this year, we decided to adventure closer to home for the remainder of 2014. We started off in the St. Francois Mountain Range in the southeast Missouri Ozarks exploring Black, Grassy, Rock Pile, Buford, Pilot Knob and Stumbeaugh Mountains.
Rock Pile Mountain is one of the most remote areas in the Missouri Ozarks, with no access roads. We started at a trailhead on top of Grassy Mountain, went to the end of the trail, then followed a few old logging roads. Once the roads ran out we had to bushwhack to find a outcrop for a view of the valley.
This area was formed 1.485 billion years ago and has never been submerged, island archipelagos in the Paleozoic seas. The exposed red and pink granite in the area is pretty amazing, some of the oldest igneous rock in the USA.
The area is rich in history including Civil War battles at Frederickton and Fort Davidson in Pilot Knob as well as the historic towns of Arcadia and Ironton, Missouri.
We hiked and climbed at Elephant Rocks State Park,named for a string of large granite boulders which resemble a train of pink circus elephants. There has been mining in the area since the 1800’s and two abandoned granite quarries are in the park.
We ended our trip with a short hike to a old fire look-out tower around Potosi,Missouri to see the fall color change, but we were a bit early.