Jerry played his last show in the band. RIP. I saw GD twice on that final tour. While they certainly weren’t at their best in those shows, especially Jerry, I’d love to see either show again and again.
In case you haven’t caught wind of this promo and are still waiting on tix for summer tour, Live Nation is running a promo tomorrow (May 2) with $20 tickets to a great big boatload of shows. Among the listings I discovered these tasty treats..
Dead & Company Ak-Chin Pavilion (Phoenix) 05/28/2017
Dead & Company Citi Field (Flushing) 06/24/2017
Dead & Company Fenway Park (Boston) 06/18/2017
Dead & Company Jiffy Lube Live (Bristow) 06/22/2017
Dead & Company KeyBank Pavilion (Burgettstown) 06/15/2017
Dead & Company Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Springs) 06/20/2017
Dead & Company Shoreline Amphitheatre (Mountain View) 06/04/2017
Dead & Company USANA Amphitheatre (Salt Lake City) 06/07/2017
Dead & Company Wrigley Field (Chicago) 06/30/2017
Offer valid for qualifying purchases between 8am local time on 5/2/17 and 11:59pm local time on 5/9/17 for participating shows only, while supplies last.
I’m going to Burgettstown for sure, and I’m going to grab a ticket for Fenway tomorrow and try to make all the other logistics fall into place.
Saturday, April 22, 2017. Hundreds of Indian paintbrush wildflowers (Castilleja coccinea) bloom in an open portion of the Ha Ha Tonka Oak Woodland Natural Area, as light rain and overcast skies greeted visitors to popular Ha Ha Tonka State Park located in the Osage River Hills region of the Ozarks.
A massive natural bridge composed of Gunter Sandstone makes a dramatic entrance into a former collapsed cave, now a steep sided sinkhole, providing a microclimate refuge for rare plants.
Karst topography dominates the primordial Ozark landscape rich in caves and associated features like springs, sinkholes, losing streams, and natural bridges.
A member of the Phlox family, many delicate, pale violet colored petals of Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans) were present in the serene environs of Ha Ha Tonka Karst Natural Area.
Cream Wild Indigo (Baptista bracteata) is a low, bush-like plant easily identified for an asymmetrical bloom pattern. Echoing the ancient home continent of all flowering plants (angiosperms), the Missouri native resembles varieties associated with Southeast Asia.
False dandelion (Krigia biflora) was dispersed in single golden blooms.
The complex visual splendor of Horsemint (Mondara bradburiana), a shining pollinator forest beacon, is a common sight during Spring in the Ozarks. Horsemint’s dotted curvilinear petals and multitude of textures provide a focal point of wild American beauty; nurturing a quiet, meditative atmosphere.
The semi-transparent, purple glowing, trumpet-shaped blooms of Dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne) appeared in sparse patches in only a few locations.
Returning from Lake of the Ozarks and Ha Ha Tonka State Parks, the Bluff View Trail at Meramec State Park was scanned for any new Spring wildflower species in bloom. Two or three of the rare white variety of the purple colored Dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne) were present.
A member of the Lily family, a handful of weather damaged Wild hyacinth (Camissia scilloides) grew high above the Meramec River.
Natural, wild American beauty distilled into a single flower, the exquisite Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) was suspended over a river bluff, adorning the entrance of a newfound cave.
A member of the Figwort family, Foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) attracts hummingbirds.
A member of the Waterleaf family, large hillside swaths of Phacelia (Phacelia purshii) almost concealed the trail. Phacelia means “cluster” in Greek.
Saturday, April 15, 2017. Deep in the Northwoods Wild Area of Cuivre River State Park, a May apple (Polophyllum peltatum) bloom glows in the Northern Missouri midday sunlight.
Cuivre River is one of the largest state parks in Missouri and contains two separate designated Wild Areas and three distinct Natural Areas highlighting the different natural communities found in the state like woodlands, glades, prairie, hollows, and river/creek bottomlands. Home to two major waterways of the area, Cuivre River and Big Sugar Creek, the park is a favorite of expert naturalists, families seeking solitude on nice days, groups of horseback riders, and hardcore hikers with forty miles of backwoods trail system to navigate.
A primordial place with ancient vibration, Cuivre River State Park and surrounding area of the Lincoln Hills was never encapsulated in the eleven different Laurentide Ice Sheet glaciations that occurred over the last 2 million years. This was not only refuge for the flora and fauna from Canada during the last Ice Age, but also home to Paleo-Indian tribes who originally discovered and populated a continent during a time where large portions of North America were inaccessible due to massive glacial ice fields.
A woodland plant found growing in colonies derived from a single root, the umbrella-like form of May apple (Polophyllum peltatum) dominates the understory for miles.
With clover shaped leaves and pink petals, Violet wood sorrel (Oxalis violacea) provided early Spring splashes of color to the brightly lit forest floor.
May apple grows in abundance during Spring and Summer in the woodland areas of the Midwest. Parts of the forest seem almost a verdant buffet of vegetation where a survivalist could feast for months, but all parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and many animals.
Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) was widely dispersed throughout the park.
A member of the Crowfoot family, Rue Anenome (Anemonella thalictroides) means “little windflower” in Greek and is believed to be the longest flowering species of early Spring.
Another member of the Crowfoot family, Golden seal (Hydrastis canadensis) requires moist habitat.
The tiny wildflower bloom of Yellow violet (Viola pubescens) balanced the many purple Common violets seen everywhere in Missouri for weeks.
A handful of Pussytoes (Antennaria parlinii), also called Indian Tobacco, were found in a glade-like area above Big Sugar Creek.
At home on the acidic prairie, a few, small Yellow star grass (Hypoxis hirsuta) blooms were present in the upper woodlands.
The delicate and anthropormorphic form of a Bird’s-foot violet (Viola pedata) bloom is seen in an open area on a hillside next to large clumps of moss.
Also found growing on an open hillside, small specimens of Hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens) were seen basking in the sun.
Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata) glowing in the bottomlands near Big Sugar Creek.
A member of the Phlox family, Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans) was only in a few moist areas.
Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) was found low to the ground in thick, rich soils.
Only, maybe two Gaura (Gaura longiflora), also called Butterfly flower, were observed in miles of hiking.
The Little Frog, Harvey’s buttercup (Ranunculus harveyi) was thriving near the creek.
One of my all time favorite Spring blooms, twenty to thirty specimens of Dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne) were found deep in the woods growing in a sandy creek bottom.
A rare sighting in the Missouri woods, a handful of the pure white variety of normally purple colored Common violet (Viola sororia) were also found in the thick, moist sandy soils of the creek area.
A member of the Carrot family, Golden Alexanders (Zizea aurea) bloom in complex geometric clusters.
Along the sandy banks of Big Sugar Creek in the Big Sugar Creek Wild Area were signs of Raccoon (Procyon lotor) and White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).
Squaw-weed (Packera obovata) grows on sand bars in Big Sugar Creek.
A yet to bloom set of Trillium (Trillium sessile), also called Wake Robin, growing on a very steep hillside next to Big Sugar Creek.
An early Spring native wildflower, Dog’s-tooth violet (Althronium albidum), also called Trout lily, was in decline as the transition of early to mid-Spring blooms had visibly begun.
Wood betony (Pedicularis canadensis), a member of the Figwort family, grows on top of a hillside among the ever present Spring beauty.
An unconventional wildflower in shape and texture, Wood betony grew in sparse patches along our six mile wilderness trek. Images almost seemingly derived from television production material like ‘Star Trek’, ‘Lost in Space’ or ‘Dr. Who’, Wood betony could easily inspire the design of a mysterious alien race of intelligent plant beings in a future Sci-fi production.
A member of the Honeysuckle family, the sweet fragrance of Southern black haw (Viburnum rufidulum) in full bloom saturates the warm, Spring forest air. This wildflower grows into a beautiful understory, shade tolerant member of the Missouri woods beginning at shrub size and maturing into a small tree.
Southern black haw provides not only a crucial food resource to local pollinators, but also colorful Autumnal foliage as its leaves turn bright red during cooler weather.
We only saw a handful of Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) the entire day. With their gorgeous pink/purple blooms, these native Missouri wildflowers once played an important role in Native American medicinal compounds.
Saturday, April 8, 2017. Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) petals glisten in the Springtime afternoon sunlight during an enchanting walk through the Washington State Park Hardwood Natural Area along the Big River on the 1000 Steps Trail.
Our trek for early Springtime Ozark wildflowers began in the high, dry glades above the Big River Valley among dolomite rock outcroppings and native prairie grasses.
As we entered the glade on foot, we passed a thunderbird petroglyph rock carving over one thousand years old.
An area rich in Native American shamanistic symbols of magic, warfare, fertility, weather, and animal spirits, Washington State Park was once host to a Mississippian mound-building culture known for innovation in shell tempered pottery, intricate carved jewelry, large community plazas centered around earthen pyramids, and a vast trading network across most of the continental United States.
Hummingbird and coiled snake petroglyphs, powerful symbols of the Missouri natural world past and present, were carved as rain elements in a compelling stone mural rich in tribal iconography.
These 1000 A.D. Mississippian culture elliptical, egg-shaped petroglyphs represent important concepts of mound-builder fertility shamanism.
Evenly dispersed throughout the glade, Bird’s-foot violet (Viola pedata) greeted us as the first native of our hike.
False garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve) also made an early appearance.
Freemont’s Leather Flower (Clematis fremontii) is a rare glade native of Missouri found in only two counties.
During our hike through several glade areas, we discovered a handful plants, only two of which had bloomed.
Based on strong intuition and past experience, our hike produced confirmation of Freemont’s Leather Flower blooming in the Missouri wild. During a chance conversation later in a different area of the park, the resident Washington State Park naturalist admitted neither he nor the Missouri Botanical Garden were aware of any Freemont’s Leather Flower already in bloom, or exactly where they might find them.
A member of the Lily family, Yellow-star grass (Hypoxis hirsuta) grows in acid soils of prairies and open glades.
Blue-star grass (Sisyrinchium campestre) is common throughout the park.
Squaw-weed (Packera obovata) bears the familiar shape and structure of most members of the Daisy family.
Common violet (Viola soria) is probably by far the most abundant wildflower in Missouri during early Spring.
A member of the Crowfoot family, Hepatica (Anemone americana) glows in the golden Ozark sunlight.
Typically found in the lower elevations and moister climates of the area, we were surprised to find Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora), another member of the Lily family, thriving in dry, open glade margins; an exciting and unexpected moment, this was only my second time observing Bellwort in the wild.
Hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens) was found simultaneously growing in small tufts and large bunches.
Because of its proximity to ancient volcano and lava fields once active over one billion years ago, Washington State Park lies in a quartz and geode rich region of the Missouri Ozarks.
The quintessential American prairie wildflower, Indian paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea) of the yellow variety thrives in the drier, open areas like the glades of Jefferson County, Missouri.
Both varieties of red and yellow Indian paintbrush grow in even numbers in the same glade locations. A fickle plant in captivity, Indian paintbrush takes years to produce a flower from seed.
Another glade loving native, Ground plum (Astragalus crassicarpus) produces bunches of small fruit later in the year.
As we exited the glade and descended further into the Big River Valley, we noticed a small group of Pussy toes (Antennaria parlinii), also called Indian tobacco.
Dog’s-tooth violet (Erythronium albidum), also called Trout lily, grew in large bunches down by the Big River in the Washington State Park Hardwood Natural Area.
Bluebells (Mertensia viginica) grew in great swaths between the river and steep hillsides.
The translucent petals of Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) glisten in the afternoon sunlight.
A native Missouri wildflower mostly dependent on ants for seed dispersal and reproduction, Dutchman’s breeches is a small flower found low to the ground in moist areas.
Sparkling Spring beauty (Claytonia viginica) was found mixed in on the forest floor with the Dutchman’s breeches.
The noble Trillium (Trillium sessile), also called Wake robin, was found on steep hillsides.
Another member of the large Lily family, Trillium’s form maintains both simplicity and sophistication.
Saturday, April 1, 2017. Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) in full bloom on the sandy banks of the spring fed Meramec River. Once home to a community of Osage Native Americans, this rolling, heavily forested Ozark terrain of rocky ridges of dolomite outcroppings and shadowy, moist bottomlands dotted with numerous caves and springs has been known for over eighty years as Meramec State Park. Originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps as a pine tree sapling nursery for use in combatting the devastating drought and wind erosion effects of the Dust Bowl ecological disaster of the 1930’s, hundreds of millions of trees were planted as a wind break in the central portion of the United States by an army of young men volunteers paid thirty dollars a month requiring they send twenty-five back home to their Depression Era families. The park is now a natural paradise of North American biodiversity where visitors are enthralled by American black bears, Bobcats, Bald eagles, and a dazzling Springtime wildflower display of continual, multi-colored blooms lasting months.
A member of the Poppy family once used by local Native Americans as a resource for dye, the early Spring white wildflower Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) takes shelter next to a rotting log on a steep hill above the river.
A common sight in the moist Ozark bottomlands near rivers, creeks, springs, and areas of poor drainage, the diminutive, waxy leaved Harvey’s Buttercup (Ranunculus harveyi) in Latin means “little frog”.
An early Ozark sign of Spring, delicate Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata), also called Wild Sweet William, grows in abundance throughout the region but seemed somewhat damaged by recent unseasonable weather and significant rapid temperature fluctuations.
Hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens) prefers dry, open uplands in glade-like environments comprised of acidic soils.
Rose verbena (Glandularia canadensis) grows high above the Meramec River from out of a crack in exposed Eminence Dolomite formed over four-hundred million years ago.
False garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve) sporadically blooms in small bouquets.
May apple (Podophyllum peltatum), also known as Mandrake, produces a fruit later in the season and is sometimes poached in the wild for a perceived medicinal property.
Dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne) is a particular smaller species that does not grow in great swaths in its native territory like other early Spring arrivals as Bluebells and Spring Beauty. A delicate creation of nature underappreciated in our modern society, Dwarf larkspur is a gorgeous Missouri wildflower that makes a lasting impression for a lifetime.
A Dog’s-Tooth Violet (Erythronium albidum), also called Trout lily, basks in the warm Spring sunlight on a steep hillside half-way up from the river. This delicate, beautiful, and slow maturing Missouri native takes at least four long years to raise the flowering plant’s first bloom from seed.
Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica) carpets the Ozark forest floor in a vivid display of high rates of reproduction.
Bird’s-foot violet (Viola pedata) is found in the higher, drier open areas of Ozark hillsides.
The petal color of Bluebells varies from pale white to an intense deep bluish-purple as they dominate the understory bottomland Ozark terrain in a spectacular botanical Springtime show of force for a few weeks each year.
Sunday, February 19, 2017. After waiting several years for the development and completion of Missouri’s 92nd unit of its state park and historic site system, Don Robinson State Park, an enchanting Ozark terrain of sandstone canyons, forested hillsides, open glades, and delicate, glacial floral relicts, we finally joined thousands of other eager, uninitiated visitors who also sought outdoor solace and adventure over the course of a warm, sunny weekend.
The inaugural visit to Don Robinson State Park coincided with our first listen of the newest release of the ongoing live Grateful Dead series ‘Dave’s Picks Volume 21, Boston Garden 4.2.73’. The continual soundtrack to our outdoor adventures, this particular live Grateful Dead concert, only a few weeks after the death of keyboardist/vocalist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, is spectacular in performance, recording, and set list.
Don Robinson’s degreasing agent ‘Off’ was a permanent fixture in my childhood home and a safer alternative to most toxic cleaning products available at the time. The proceeds of his business allowed him the further acquisition of nearby land and preserved nearly 900 acres in a quest in own his words to “reach the equivalent area of New York City’s Central Park”. Before his death in 2012, Don gave his pristine primary home and sanctuary to the state for use as public land; choosing to remain part of what he deeply appreciated, he is buried at a simple gravesite in the park on a hilltop across from his former cottage overlooking the rolling Ozark horizon.
Originally constructed in the 1920’s atop a prominent hill in the Meramec River Watershed, Don Robinson’s former rustic home is under renovation and will host the park’s future Visitor Center.
A typical Missouri Winter scene, the heavily forested terrain of oak, maple, hickory, sycamore, cedar, pine, and their shade tolerant understory aboreal cousins is the perfect natural refuge of the area’s magnificent biodiversity on display, regardless of season. Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, White-tailed Deer, bobcats, coyotes, wild turkey, raccoons, opossums, snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, fish, and gorgeous migratory songbirds like the Summer Tanager are also found in their natural habitat.
The park’s marquee hiking path, Sandstone Canyon Trail, is a four mile natural stroll offering hours of exploration and relaxation.
Always highly rated among the country’s top state park systems, Missouri, home to six million residents, received twenty million visitors in 2016 (a record number).
A glade populated by invasive Eastern Red Cedars offers space to wander, bird watch, photograph wildflowers, and picnic.
The Sandstone Canyon Trail, designated ‘red’ for simple identification and navigation purposes, is blazed in the standard state park manner of small plastic squares affixed to trees with one aluminum nail.
A quartzose sandstone registering at more than 99% pure silica grains, St. Peter Sandstone, formed 450 million years ago, is known for linear striations across strata, beds of moss and lichen, honeycomb porous formations, and shelter caves in moist canyons host to glacial plant relicts like the Walking Fern.
Sphagnum Moss is a common sight in the more shaded, cooler realms of the Missouri Ozarks, particularly in the canyon areas to the west and south of St. Louis.
Reindeer Lichen (Cladonia rangiferina) is found from large clumps and carpet formations on bald mountaintops to small, green balls dotting the forest floor throughout the more naturally preserved areas of the Ozarks. A fascinating organism operating a complex symbiotic relationship between a photosynthetic algae and two slave master fungi, the extremely delicate Reindeer Lichen only grows around three millimeters per year and takes decades to regenerate after damage.
LaBarque Creek, named for French fur trapper’s small, shallow water boats in this former area of colonial ‘New France’, is the clearest and most biologically diverse stream in the entire St. Louis area; hosting an impressive forty-two different species of fish, including five Darter variety, alone.
The North American Ice Age produced eleven different glaciations in a period of two million years. These massive, moving sheets of destructive ice forced the plants and animals of Canada, a thousand miles away, to seek refuge in the Missouri Ozarks. Once the flora and fauna exile ended, some plants and animals, called glacial relicts, remained and can be viewed today in the darker, moist environments that the sandstone shelter caves of St. Peter Sandstone found in Don Robinson State Park provide.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017. Daylight wanes as the bronze statue of Crusader French King Louis IX, also known as Saint Louis, gazes out across Forest Park from the pinnacle of ‘Art Hill’; a once medieval champion of the progressive ideals of presumption of innocence and rights of the accused, now a frozen, metallic sentinel mounted saddleback placed as symbolic guardian of local culture, history, natural science, and fine art in a Victorian constructed public space initially built to host the groundbreaking 1904 World’s Fair.
Construction of the opulent Art Deco-styled Peabody Opera House was completed during the height of the Great Depression in 1932. An instant source of civic pride, many estimate it to be one of the top venues in the United States for the elegant atmosphere, relaxed and amiable staff, superior acoustics, top tier performing acts, quality of audience appreciation, excellent sight lines, and ease of access within a large, Midwestern city.
Geometric shapes and patterns dominate the lobby of the Peabody Opera House, an apex of Art Deco public venues. Repetitive light fixture forms express the mass produced feature of Industrialism central to the era of the building’s birth where proper illumination was viewed as hygienic and modern.
Guitarist Derek Trucks, second from left, appears onstage with opening act ‘North Mississippi All-Stars’ founded by brothers Luther Dickinson on guitar and Cody Dickinson drums.
Bespectacled chanteuse Susan Tedeschi playing a vintage sunburst Fender Stratocaster with white pick guard on the Allman Brothers opening number ‘Statesboro Blues’. Once the first song was finished, the mild-mannered mostly sexagenarian crowd surprised the touring Floridians with roaring applause. The band was loud and rocking off the bat. ‘Statesboro Blues’ showcased the reason for their popularity and acclaim with stratospheric Rock trajectories elevating the evening to a level that did not recede until the final note. Seven fresh years into their existence, multiple Grammy Award winning Tedeschi Trucks Band rolled into a town built on the Blues and into the arms of a welcome, midweek audience ready to soak in music with substance, soul, and energy.
The Tedeschi Trucks Band brass section from left to right: Kebbi Williams on saxophone, Ephraim Owens on trumpet, and Elizabeth Lea on trombone.
Alecia Chakour, Mike Mattison, and Mark Rivers provide vocals and accent instrumentation.
Brother of Dead & Company bassist Oteil Burbridge, multitalented Kofi Burbridge throughout the evening played keyboard, organ, and flute.
J.J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell on double drums.
Derek Trucks playing his 50th Anniversary Signature Gibson SG, a variation of the popular Les Paul SG recent reissue of the original 1961 model with personal modification and electronic specifications.
The 2014 50th Anniversary Gibson SG Derek Trucks Signature model made of mahogany and rosewood with chrome Tune-O-Matic bridge, lyre-style tailpiece, and mother-of-pearl inlay was crafted with a Derek Trucks special request for the pickups to be made to original 1957 material specifications with classic features like wax application to wiring to combat microphonic squeal during high-volume playing.
Ephraim Owens soared during a solo Jazz trumpet free-form explosion, taking the evening to satisfying, unpredictable realms.
‘North Mississippi All-Stars’ guitarist Luther Dickinson joined the band for a 30 minute memorial dedication rendition of Allman Brothers ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed’. A single golden toned note rang out from Derek Trucks’s powerful Gibson SG in what was the beginning of an epic live masterpiece of Rock conjuring a myriad of elements and sonic imagery of the Sixties from the delicate background Afrobeat vibe often heard on Grateful Dead and Santana tracks to the sudden, raw instrumental explosiveness of a band like Vanilla Fudge; interwoven musical D.N.A. shared by a generation of performers on full display as tribute to art and life.
Tedeschi Trucks Band – Peabody Opera House St. Louis, Missouri 1.25.17
set one: Statesboro Blues, Don’t Know What It Means, Keep On Growing, Isn’t It A Pity, Laugh About It, Sky Is Crying, Ali, Let Me Get By, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, Leavin’ Trunk/Vol Slavery, I Wish I Knew, How Blue Can You Get, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
Sunday, January 1, 2017. Looking out of the massive, primeval entrance of Green’s Cave, the spring emanates from deep within the main passageway forming a permanent stream bed called a ‘spring branch’ as it slowly meanders into the background of the photograph; feeding the Meramec River beyond with a steady supply of purified freshwater where the pulse of Ozark wilderness life beats strong throughout all seasons.
Cross-cultural luminaries spanning the fabric of time explored the major role caves and dark spaces have played in impacting and shaping the human psyche through sensory deprivation. Countless intellectuals like Socrates, Buddha, and even Missouri born Mark Twain have meditated on the power of mysterious alien environments caves present, the tremendous unreasonable fear caves manifest in even the most adventuresome individuals, and how newfound abilities are attained confronting the emerging ‘subjective self’ during these periods of almost total lack of normal stimuli where minute exposure to sound or light creates vivid hallucinations. A fundamental tool in evolution, these natural voids offered early humans the ability to gain shamanistic insight to their world by communicating with their subconscious through power achieved by sensory deprivation techniques, providing spiritual guidance and a new perspective on life, determining the future trajectory of the human race, and shaping elements still present in the modern human condition.
An ancient sentry. The hulking moss and lichen covered ruin of the Hamilton Iron Works blast furnace lies at the entrance to Hamilton Hollow in an undeveloped portion of Meramec State Park. The brief Missouri iron boom and bust period of the 1870’s was the only major human development in this area’s history to disrupt the timeless wilderness setting; nature reclaimed these verdant surroundings rich in caves, springs, and wildlife with an overgrown vengeance.
Spring fed Hamilton Creek flowing through Hamilton Hollow towards the Meramec River, meeting several miles downstream from the point of this photograph.
A large, inviting mural of Green’s Cave adorns the Visitor’s Center lobby of Meramec State Park where my wife and I frequent hiking in the surrounding rocky terrain known for marquee wildlife sights like whitetail deer, black bear, wild turkey, and bald eagle. When asked about access, the cave is mainly reached by river traffic since the inland route is absent a developed trail, but with a contour map, compass, determination, decent outdoor instincts, good creek crossing ability, crafty tick removal techniques, good weather, a willingness to get lost at least several times/preparations and equipment for a night spent lost in isolated backcountry devoid of anything or people while consoling an uncomfortable partner, one can successfully make the challenging trek through a confusing network of the most wild, overgrown, difficult to follow creek and wilderness area one can choose to hike in and be rewarded with the splendor of emerging from dense woods after several hours to finally see the entrance of Green’s Cave comprised of almost an entire two hundred foot dolomite bluff. It took us three different all day attempts to find it over the course of a year and a half.
Native grasses during winter, an expansive ocean of River Oats must be navigated across Hamilton Hollow as the hiker follows the creek towards the river through terrain demanding focus and attention to trail detail.
The Grateful Dead provide the exclusive soundtrack to our beloved Ozark excursions.
Rustic, hand hewn wooden fence post ruins with barb-wire remnants are common throughout Hamilton Hollow as the trek route follows portions of old wagon roads and former farm fields now overgrown with invasive, impenetrable groves of mature Eastern Red Cedars forty feet in height. Ghostly impressions of distant lives carved from land left rusting in silence.
The smallest of Hamilton Hollow’s network of springs and their spring branches, Pratt Spring branch flowing into Hamilton Creek is a welcome landmark on the map in the middle of the overgrown hollow off of a faint/disappearing trail. The crystal clear spring water, purified underground through a network of submerged caves, provides the perfect climate for edible Watercress to thrive outside the spring branch and in the actual creek, itself.
A large Sycamore tree stands as landmark for another in a series of creek crossings.
Flowing groundwater created the one hundred foot wide by one hundred foot tall cave entrance.
Missouri is known as the ‘Cave State’ with over six thousand five-hundred caves, and due to the constant discovery of new caves, one thousand five-hundred new caves have been discovered in my lifetime alone for an average of around forty new caves found in Missouri, every year. Perry County, Missouri has six hundred and forty caves alone. Besides the igneous core area of the St. Francois Mountains in the Southeast, the fractured, porous bedrock of limestone and dolomite combined with constant rainfall has produced the perfect cave/sinkhole/spring environment called Karst Topography; it is this underlying terrain that has also contributed to the massive freshwater aquifers in the Missouri Ozark region storing trillions of gallons where some of Missouri’s largest springs average hundreds of millions of gallons of output per day like Alley Spring, Bennett Spring, Big Spring, Blue Spring, Greer Spring, Ha Ha Tonka Spring, Maramec Spring, and many others.
Over five hundred million years ago due to the continental drifting of plate tectonics, the ancient core of North America, called Laurentia, resided in the mid-Southern latitudes where Brazil is today. Two hundred feet deep underwater off the coast of ancient Missouri, the sedimentary bedrock dolomite began to form, later providing the porous material for Green’s Cave and Spring.
Green’s Cave is comprised from Eminence Dolomite formed over five hundred million years ago. Its large entrance is similar to and could be considered a relative of another Ozark natural marvel called Jam-Up Cave situated on the gorgeous Upper Jack’s Fork River in the must visit national park unit Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
A portal over four feet wide is one of many visible holes in the dolomite bedrock entrance of Green’s Cave.
The cave’s main passage entrance and ceiling height remains forty feet high for some distance.
The main passage is estimated to be around a half mile in length. Ten years ago, an adventuresome St. Louisian on a Green’s Cave expedition lost his wandering dog towards the end of the long passage and went home distraught without his four-legged cave companion. He returned to Green’s Cave over a week later with a willing rescue partner and fortunately found the confused pet alive at the end of the passage in the wild Ozark cave. Explorers and geologists spending long periods in caves report visual and auditory hallucinations after only a few hours of sensory deprivation. It is unwise to explore caves without proper equipment, guidance, experienced personnel, adequate time, and other safety measures including necessary authorization.