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Friday, Apr. 25, 2014
When mines collapse
Posted Tuesday, April 22, at 10:00 AM
Here's a shocking sight: daylight visible through a hole in a narrow ridge. It might look like a natural arch, but it's most definitely an unnatural arch. This scene is entirely man-made, the result of mining activity. It's located in Alexander County, Illinois, less than 20 miles from Cape Girardeau...

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Road to Millstone Lake repaired
Posted Tuesday, April 8, at 9:10 PM

I've written before about Millstone Lake, a reservoir in Southern Illinois that has overtopped its emergency spillway multiple times, creating a massive scour hole with a variety of rock formations and fossils. When I previously visited in January, the access road came to a sudden end at a deep scour hole. Recently, the hole was filled, allowing access to the parking area and boat ramp again. The road is still rather bumpy, though...

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McClure deploys cutting-edge radar technology
Posted Tuesday, April 1, at 12:00 AM

I never expected McClure, Illinois, to be a testing ground for the latest in technological innovation. But a road sign at the beginning of Grapevine Trail in McClure makes the truth quite plain. When I first passed this sign, I could only think, "What was that again?"...

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Splatterstone Falls: Another gem at Jackson Hollow
Posted Monday, March 24, at 3:00 PM

Jackson Hollow, as I've described earlier, is full of geologic wonders. But that's just one canyon. The next canyon to the south is also impressive, but it doesn't have an official name. At the head of this canyon, water drops from the bluff and splatters on the ledges below. Geocachers have dubbed this Splatterstone Falls, an unofficial name as good as any other...

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Jackson Hollow is worth multiple visits
Posted Sunday, March 16, at 8:37 PM

In the past, I've written about Rock Formation Fatigue, that feeling of indifference after encountering yet another spectacular natural wonder. At the beginning of a hike, you might take twenty photos of a waterfall, but by the end of the day, you've become jaded and only take a couple photos of an even better waterfall...

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Jackson Hollow: The crown jewel of Southern Illinois canyons
Posted Tuesday, March 11, at 9:00 AM

Southern Illinois is filled with rugged sandstone canyons, each with its own blend of bluffs, waterfalls, rock shelters, glades, and boulders. Of these canyons, it's hard to top Jackson Hollow northeast of Vienna for the sheer insanity of rock formations crammed into one hollow...

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It's peak season for armadillos
Posted Wednesday, March 5, at 9:32 AM

I've blogged in the past about seeing armadillos in the wild. These critters are usually not active in broad daylight, but during a harsh winter, they have little choice but to desperately forage for food in the daytime. Of course roadkill armadillos can be seen anywhere and anytime, but this is the peak season to see live ones. I spotted this specimen rummaging through the leaves next to Moccasin Springs Road at Trail of Tears State Park...

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Blog without words: Something to bookmark and enjoy this summer when the temperature is 101F
Posted Monday, February 17, at 9:47 PM

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The winter wonderland at Cedar Lake
Posted Sunday, February 16, at 10:34 PM

Spring is just around the corner -- we can only hope -- but our harsh winter has delivered some beautiful ice formations. Cove Hollow, located next to Cedar Lake in Southern Illinois, features a giant icicle dangling from the top of a rock shelter...

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Hike the new trail at Shepherd Mountain
Posted Monday, February 10, at 8:00 PM

"The Shepherd Mountain ore is perhaps the best iron-ore in Missouri." -- Iron Ores of Missouri and Michigan, 1876 With names like Iron County, Ironton, Iron Mountain, and Irondale, it's clear that iron mining played a key part in local history. Shepherd Mountain, a large peak rising above the town of Ironton, was one of the first places to be worked by iron miners...

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Badlands of Southern Illinois just got badder
Posted Tuesday, January 14, at 4:00 PM

In a previous blog, I described the badlands at Millstone Lake near Vienna, Illinois. Rainstorms in 2008 and 2011 caused the reservoir to overflow, scouring deep crevices into the emergency spillway. Since then, another rainstorm has brought even more erosion and enlarged the badlands...

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Devil's Island causeway partially repaired
Posted Friday, January 10, at 10:00 AM

Two years ago, I wrote that a portion of the causeway at Devil's Island had collapsed, rendering it virtually impossible to reach the island except by boat. A few days ago, I received a tip from an alert reader who found that the causeway had been partially repaired. Sure enough, rip-rap has been brought in, connecting the causeway with the Illinois mainland again...

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2014: The year in preview
Posted Monday, December 30, at 11:30 AM

Here is a sneak peek at some of the places and things I'll be writing about in the coming year. Well, maybe, if I can keep writer's block away...

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Emerson Bridge: One decade later
Posted Friday, December 13, at 9:00 AM

Ten years ago today, Dec. 13, 2003, the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge was opened to traffic. On a frigid day with a forecast for a snowstorm that never came, Jo Ann Emerson gave a mercifully short speech during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. It was a day of optimism: many in attendance thought that the opening of the new bridge, and the retirement of the mirror-eating narrow old bridge, would mark a turning point for Cape Girardeau. ...

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"The world's done gone plum bugs"
Posted Thursday, December 5, at 10:00 AM

That was a favorite phrase of "Colonel" Matt Morrison, the weather-forecasting curmudgeon who was frequently interviewed in the Weekly Tribune newspaper during the mid-1910s. In his diatribes, he often complained that so many politicians -- from the local to the international level -- were going "bugs."...

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Another visit to Thebes
Posted Monday, December 2, at 10:00 AM

During last year's drought, I wrote about the rock pinnacles at Thebes, Illinois, and how they had menaced riverboat traffic so much that Mark Twain considered this the "very worst place" on the entire Mississippi. The Army Corps of Engineers has removed these submerged death traps since the days of Twain, but a badlands of curious rock formations can still be seen along the shore just south of the Thebes Railroad Bridge. ...

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Red House celebrates 10 year anniversary
Posted Monday, November 25, at 11:00 AM

Most every town has an interesting story about how it was founded. Cape Girardeau, however, can trump them: we have one of the most enigmatic town founders imaginable. Our city father, Louis Lorimier, had such a complicated history that it's hard to get a grasp on his character...

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The goosebone weather prophet
Posted Tuesday, November 19, at 10:00 AM

Long before the days of TV weather teams and Doppler radar, Cape Girardeau residents had to depend on a much more primitive source for weather forecasts: Col. Matt Morrison, the self-proclaimed "goosebone weather prophet." According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the "goosebone" refers to the supposed ability to forecast the harshness of the coming winter by looking at the coloration of a cooked goose's breastbone. ...

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South of the Snake Road
Posted Tuesday, November 12, at 10:00 AM

As many times as I've visited the Snake Road in Southern Illinois, I've never actually seen a snake. That's just fine. The Snake Road, squeezed between towering bluffs and swampland, offers much more than just reptiles: it's a great place to see the four seasons...

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Blog without words: Fairly photogenic fall foliage finds
Posted Friday, November 1, at 8:43 PM

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The webmaster of seMissourian.com and its sister newspapers, James Baughn has lost track of the number of websites he manages. On the side, he maintains even more sites, including Bridgehunter.com, LandmarkHunter.com, TheCapeRock.com, and Humorix.
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