Tuesday, November 10, 2015

In Search of Monkey Mountain

When my mother sold her last milk cow it freed her from having to be home both morning and night. And when my youngest went away to college it freed me from my care-taking duties. Which helps explain a trip of exploration Mom and I were able to take twenty-four years ago. We didn't want to spend hours driving to a destination. I had been to Brownsville, Nebraska a time or two and knew there was much to explore in that area.
Also, my youngest's first year of college had been at Northwest Missouri State. His girlfriend that year was from a little town nearby which he had visited with her. He shared stories with me of how beautiful and interesting those bluffs along the Missouri River were. He told me about Monkey Mountain.
Mother and I set off early the first weekend in October with Brownsville as our first destination. We explored the downtown area and drove around looking at all the gorgeous old mansions.
I don't remember if there was a fall flea market/festival going on that weekend. There might have been which would explain the Turk's Turban squash in this picture. I have it labeled as "Mom on Memorial Bridge in Brownsville, NE with Carson House in background".

From there we went Southeast along the Missouri River to Indian Cave State Park. In 1991 it was still quite a climb up to the cave to see the Petroglyphs. Mom stayed in the parking lot while I made the journey up to the cave. Since then Bud and I have been back and there is now a boardwalk and series of stairs to the cave - much easier access.

At the northern edge of the park is the rebuilt school house of St. Deroin, an early settlement chartered in 1854. It began as a trading post with a ferry crossing the Missouri River around 1840.

Nearby is this reconstructed log cabin. It is near the original town site. I never did discover the use of that old piece of equipment next to the cabin.

We also visited the towns of Rock Port and Fairfax as well as Big Lake State Park. We went through the little town of Corning where nearby is this most unusual cemetery with headstones meandering this way and that up the hillside.

Now if you Google Monkey Mountain in Missouri, you will find two different areas with that name, both of which seem to have similar legends behind the name. But twenty-four years ago all we had was my son's directions - "Go through Amazonia to County Road T. Follow it to......." I remember going through a very small settlement and then on to a narrow gravel road. We crossed over a creek on what could barely be called a bridge. There were no guard rails. There were just some planks with wide gaps in between them. Scary. But on we went until we came to a very high hill. We believed we were on Monkey Mountain.
At that time I was still making walking sticks and would gather material whenever I found something suitable. I remember getting out of the car and cutting a small sumac the right size. Then we turned around and went back before we got completely lost.
This is the one photo I have which is labeled "Farm scene East of Monkey Mountain".
There have been reports of Bigfoot sightings in the area around Monkey Mountain. Yet another reason to someday revisit this area?
Whether or not we were on or near Monkey Mountain that weekend, Mom and I had a wonderful time together and a great adventure. Just being out enjoying nature and our time together was enough for us.

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