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Ascent of Taum Sauk Mountain on 2010-10-30

Climber: Tom Owen

Date:Saturday, October 30, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Taum Sauk Mountain
    Location:USA-Missouri
    Elevation:1772 ft / 540 m

Ascent Trip Report

HIGHPOINT #10. New Year's resolution completed with 2 months to spare.

I left Memphis, TN early on All Hallow's Eve with the intention of highpointing Missouri as well as 4 other surrounding counties; over all, a resounding success.
It's about a 4 hour drive from Memphis to Taum Sauk but I turned it into nearly 7 with the addition of Bollinger, New Madrid, Perry and Scott counties as well as one fire tower...also, one car wreck (1 & 2)...
The drive is long but not too bad north along I-55; I had done most of it before driving up to visit my girl friend in Dyersburg the previous year but I had not really ever crossed into Missouri. I made the required stop a the rest area, got my free map and tried to explain the purpose of my trip to the pushy old lady behind the desk who logged in everyone that came in the door. It felt like a customs agent. I continued north making stops in Sikeston (New Madrid), Commerce (Scott), and getting off the interstate at exit 117 to visit Perry and Bollinger. I will skip the details but suffice it to say I drove west on State Highway J (who uses letters? I mean really...) and MO-72 through the town of Fredricktown. I reached the towns of Arcadia/Ironton and turned south to find the park entrance off MO-72/21.
The park road is gravel but well maintained so is passable by passenger car. The park itself is slightly disappointing as I was hoping for a visitor's center or some marks of civilization but there were none.
Iron county where Taum Sauk is located has 3 1760+ ft contours: Taum Sauk, a point with a radio tower east of that and one small point west of Taum Sauk on Wildcat Mountain). I first visited the radio tower area that also has a fire tower where some local Ameri-corps volunteers were watching for fires. The contour itself is unremarkable but the fire tower offers good views and is higher than the 1,772 feet of the high point contour.
The actual high point is just a bit further up the road past a scenic overlook. there is a quarter mile concreted sidewalk leading to a small plaque near a bolder signifying the highest point in Missouri.
There is a junction with the Ozark Trail here as well and a 3 mile round trip walk leads one to Mina Sauk Falls which is the highest falls in Missouri. Unfortunately, it was dry during my trip but the walk was nice and offered great views of the setting sun. As per the state park map, the round trip is 1.5 miles on the Ozark Trail and 1.5 miles on Mina Sauk Falls Trail. The OT section is much more rocky and less scenic; the falls trail is easier and more pleasant. I would suggest taking it both ways.

I returned to my car just after the sun set, applied some more tape to my side view mirror and was off for home...with one slight detour through Fredricktown as I believe everyone there was out celebrating Halloween.



Also worth mentioning is stopping at Lambert's to eat. It is in Sikeston (south of the actual town of Lambert) and is home of the Famous throwed rolls. Servers literally come out and throw rolls to/at customers and the wait staff plays little pranks like pretending to spill drinks on customers. It's a great meat-and-three Cracker Barrel type restaurant.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Missouri state high point plaque at Taum Sauk (2010-10-30). Photo by Tom Owen.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles



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