Is your Devil’s Icebox running…?

Nature

Devil’s Icebox is a large cave connected to the much smaller Connor’s Cave. Connor’s Cave is the one my friend Lee and I actually went in to as you don’t need a boat to get in, barring somewhat common floods.

Both of these caves are in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. I’m always surprised at how many people have never been to either the caves or the park, it’s just down Providence Road:

Maybe that came off judgmental. I’m sure there are a bunch of places in and around Columbia I’ve never been. Almost every women’s bathroom in town, for example.

But I go to Rock Bridge a lot. It’s large enough to stay fresh over many visits and the park  changes greatly with the seasons.

Right after the first thaw in spring, for instance, the forest floor is littered with bones from rabbits and deer that didn’t make it through the winter. It’s like walking through the beginning of an episode of CSI. I do a double take every time I see the gleaming white poke out of the dirt. But with tiny leg bones and the most conclusive of non-human skeleton evidence: rabbit and deer skulls, I have yet to call any of these crime scenes in.

During the summer, however, the mosquitos, flies, spiders, and other very friendly insects make hiking without repellent a pain. And of course I forgot repellent. Which is why Connor’s cave makes a good stop during the summer.

The cave is a consistent temperature year-round. It is also completely black. The sign in the cave recommends three sources of light per person. I’d agree. But I also forgot almost all my flashlights, so Lee and I stumbled around with one.

Below are a few pictures of our stumbles (click to enlarge in Flickr):

010_0694010_0687010_0681010_0678010_0664010_0663
010_0661010_0657010_0655010_0643010_0642010_0640
010_0633010_0628010_0616010_0614010_0611010_0605
010_0600010_0598010_0595010_0592010_0575010_0554
Advertisements

Where The People Aren’t

Nature

Like Jay-Z’s Jesus piece, central Missouri is flooded. And when the water recedes, it leaves behind the unseen world of the river bottom. Case in point: this toothy fish.

DSC_5402
And another picture, with a 20 oz soda bottle for size comparison:
DSC_5403
So while this skull belonged to no killer, it definitely makes me thinks twice about jumping in Perche Creek just off Providence Road, where I found this skull. A fish body was nearby (picture taken with my foot for scale, I’m a gentlemen’s size 12, which is roughly an actual foot):
DSC_5401
As close as the two pieces were, my journalistic integrity prevents me saying that this skull, which was missing a body, is from that body, which was missing a skull. But they were close. 
Perche Creek,  a tributary of the Missouri River, was high but not flooding it’s banks when I was taking pictures last week.
DSC_5414
DSC_5407
With all the rain and flooding since this picture was taken, I’m curious to see what has washed up since.  I would strongly encourage the curious to don some old shoes and walk a riverbank after the water recedes.