Spring Break 2011 we hiked the Berryman Trail. Spring Break 2012 we hiked Bell Mountain, got spooked at Rock Pile Mountain, stayed at Marble Creek campground, spent a couple of nights at Johnson’s shut-ins State Park at a campsite with a built in balcony, visited Taum Sauk and hiked the Mina Sauk trail and I […]
Bell Mountain Wilderness is in Iron County Missouri, around 30 miles south of Potosi. Bell mountain is an 11 or so mile loop depending on the trail head you start from. Bell Mountain is 1702 ft. and offers superb views to the east and of the 600 ft. drop into the very steep valley of Shut-in Creek.
Eager to find a new sort of ground to cover, we turned our attention to the St. Francois Mountain area for our Spring Break trip. The St. Francois Mountains are an ancient granite mountain range that stands, literally, as an island in the limestone and dolomite former sea beds that are the Ozarks Plateau.
Okay, not a tree, but a small shrub. Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is about waist to head high, sometimes a bit sprawling. You’ll probably never even notice it except that it has these tiny brilliant lemon yellow clusters of flowers along the branches.
I moved to the Ozarks when I was nine years old and one of the first plants I learned about was the Sassafras tree. My mother dug up a bit of the root and let me smell it. I carried it around for a while and probably kept it in my treasures for years. It amazed me that such a simple looking tree could make such a great smell.
In the very early spring, before the leaves begin to show on any trees of the forest, you will see trees in the forest understory covered with white flowers. Some might think these are a fruit tree like a plum or perhaps even a dogwood. But no. If you get a chance, take a look at the flowers up close.