A few from a trip up Black Mountain Cascades this spring.
This post features one of my favorite places to visit and photograph in my beloved St. Francois Mountains. Black Mountain and these cascades that tumble down more than 400 vertical feet in a series of steps lie southwest of Fredericktown and can be found literally alongside Highway E. The waters run under a drainage pipe in the road and travel another few yards before dumping into the St. Francois River. I was first turned on to this place by a fantastic landscape photographer of the Missouri Ozarks named Mark Karpinski. I highly suggest looking him up and buying a bunch of his photographs for your walls. His images are the best I’ve seen of this region.
As I mentioned in previous posts, this “winter” brought out possibilities for photography that I would normally be taking advantage of in the warmer months. These images were taken in early February following a couple of rainy days. These cascades run out completely in dry times, so you must carefully plan a visit following rainy periods.
Before you make plans for a visit, listen to warning. There are no trails here – it is just bush-whacking up the slopes. Sometimes you will need to go up leaf-littered hills and sometimes you must climb hand and foot over rocks and the cascades. There are all sorts of risks here. The rocks are extremely slippery. I highly suggest the use of felt-bottomed shoes or waders and take all precautions against water and your camera equipment. You will get wet! In the growing season I have been to few places with as much or worse concentrations of poison ivy. If you visit in mid to late summer, cover yourself head to toe and then burn your clothes afterwards. And ticks! In early February I hadn’t given a thought to ticks. This day I received a tick bite and found another three on my pants. I learned my lesson to pay attention to the temperature and not the calendar.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent some great days on this mountain. I have visited on 50% chance of rain days and was able to spend a few hours of cloudy, but relatively rain free weather – perfect for this type of photography. If you are in shape and have the determination to make the hike to the top, the view of the St. Francis River valley below is sure worth it. Pack a picnic basket!
The titles of the images in this post I stole from the lyrics of a song called “Buried in Teeth” by Mariee Sioux. I can’s stop listening to this song or Mariee’s music in general lately. I realize this may be considered IP infringement, but I have trouble with titles and I also wanted to try and give her some props, so to speak.
Thanks for visiting the blog. You can find more of my photos from this location here. If you decide to make an excursion to this spot or anywhere else into the St. Francois Mountain region, please be careful, enjoy yourself, leave only footprints and take only photographs!