Location Spotlight: Devil’s Shadowbox

Early European settlers and pioneers of the Missouri Ozarks were said to be tough, rugged and individualistic.  The Ozarks were and still are a difficult place to “make a living”, especially  based on traditional agricultural methods.  I will suggest that these settlers had little imagination when it came to naming the geologic and other natural features of their newly found homeland.  In “The Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri”, Beveridge lists no fewer than 80 features with Devil in the title.  This includes 25 “Devil’s Backbones” and close to ten “Devil’s Den’s”.  Beveridge makes the interesting comparison of the Missouri Ozarks naming conventions to those of the south-western United States which use Angel in a large number of their names for geological features and rarely use Devil.  This is likely due to the cultural differences between the settlers of the Ozarks, largely Scots-Irish, and the Latin/Spanish influences of the American south-west.  Beveridge accounts for no named surface feature in Missouri with Angel in the monicker.

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens @ 24mm, ISO 160,  f/14, 1/3 sec

My goal for this particular winter’s morning was to find a “Devil’s Den Hollow” purported to be found in Warren County in the northern Ozark area.  I believe I was pretty close to finding the location, with several runs of rapids and waterfalls so excellently described in Beveridge’s book, but ultimately gave up because it seemed to be surrounded by private property.  I was able to find this little feature presented in this post.  I am unsure whether it has an existing name of its own, but I am calling it Devil’s Shadowbox to continue our Ozark naming convention.

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens @ 65mm, ISO 100,  f/14, 0.8 sec

Devil’s Shadowbox was also on private property but was literally feet from the road.  I decided to beg forgiveness if necessary and spent an hour working the scene.  I didn’t see another person the entire time I was there.  The water level was low enough that I could stroll through the creek with my Gortex-lined hiking boots.  My feet did stay dry but the water had to have been close to the freezing mark and my feet where painful and numb by the end.

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens @ 32mm, ISO 100,  f/16, 0.8 sec

This relatively un-flashy feature actually had a few small pieces that came together nicely.  Above you can see a short (4-6″) shelf that crosses the stream.  This shelf lies just downstream from the hole/natural arch.  There may be some potential here depending on what the spring foliage looks like.  Too much water, however may take something away from the geology that is visible under these conditions.

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens @ 24mm, ISO 160,  f/14, 1/5 sec

I really do try and respect the rights of the property owners while out on my expeditions.  The problem is finding out who owns the property in question and how to contact them to ask permission.  From what I’ve read, in most circumstances the owners of the property have no problems allowing hikers, photographers and explorer types access to their property.  If you have any familiarity with this feature or have any knowledge concerning Devil’s Den Hollow in Warren County, Missouri please let me know.  I will be forever grateful to find out anything else that would help me find and make a lawful visit to the waterfalls and other features this place promises.

Bill Duncan: ceibatree@gmail.com

Winter’s Bone

I found this spot on a recent scouting trip in Warren County over the holiday break.  When I was driving on the higher main roads the outside thermometer on my all-wheel drive all the time Subaru Forester read 33 degrees.  When I reached this spot down near the bottom of the holler, it read 16 F.  This was probably the coldest weather I experienced in this so-called winter we are having.  I saw the frost-touched post, barbed-wire and vegetation with the forested hill and the sun rising beyond that and of course I had an opportunity to try my new graduated ND filters.  If you’ve ever tried to do intricate photography or any other kind of work in such temperatures then you know how challenging this can be.  Overall, this trip yielded some interesting images even though I discovered my main sought after location looks to be surrounded by private property and I did not press my luck in getting there.

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens @ 35mm, ISO 100,  f/14, 1/10 sec

“The sky lay dark and low so a hawk circling overhead floated in and out of clouds.  The wind heaved and knocked the hood from her head.  That hawk was riding the heaving wind looking to kill something, rip it bloody, chew the tasty parts, let the bones drop”

-Daniel Woodrell

“Winter’s Bone”