Be Your Own Laura, Tom or Huck

Today, too many jobs create indoor creatures.  The jobs of librarians, archivists, and historians are no exception.  Additionally, technology influences the jobs in some way, shape, or form.  Gone are the days spent outdoors working using hand- and horse-power.

However, some days we need reminded of the past and of adventure.  Thus this bonus post.  Yesterday, my father had a day off.  We used it to explore a lesser known Missouri Conservation Area called Tower Rock.*  Tower Rock is located in the middle of the Mississippi River in Perry County, Missouri.  Country roads, beginning with a two lane paved paths and ending in a one lane gravel road covered the twenty miles east from Interstate 55.  Old homes, stores, and churches in various states of repair clustered along the route, broken by stretches of farmland and two lumber mills.  The route was a throwback to long-gone, simpler era.

Once at Tower Rock, exportation began.  Due to the drought, the river level was a couple dozen feet lower than normal.   Acres of riverbed was exposed.  Some was sand flats, but most were rock structures.  We traversed limestone-laden land, climbed usually-submerged shale stairs, and jumped the occasional water-filled crevice.  It was euphoric to simply climb, sight-see, and explore.  It was pure and simple freedom.  My fear of falling in the Might Mississippi paled in comparison to stumbling across a venomous snake despite the rapids and whirlpool.  And with the exception of the camera around my neck, the only technology in sight was our car and train tracks.

Tower Rock

Tower Rock from Observatory with Exposed Riverbed. Photo By Amy C. Nickless, Copyright 2012

My only regret was that the water wasn’t a couple feet lower.  If it was, we could have walked the stone path out to the actual Tower Rock instead of just exploring riverbed and the conservation area.  While only a foot or two covered the rocks, which were exposed just weeks before, they created the aforementioned rapids.  We could not cross because the strong current would knock us off our feet.  Before this year, this feat was impossible for visitors because the rock path is only exposed in times of extreme drought, the last being 1988.  Maybe another chance to explore the main attraction will occur in my lifetime as it seems to be cyclical event.

During the course of the day, being connected to technology was irrelevant.  Not only did I have no cell reception, but even if I had I was enjoying the simple life; life untouched by today’s fast-paced, tech-heavy lifestyle.  There was no need to be connected to a computer or my smartphone.

Here is my challenge to you.  Pick a place off the beaten path.  Explore.  Be your own Laura, Tom, or Huck.  And with the exception of a camera, leave the technology behind.

* More on Tower Rock:  Here’s is a Southeast Missourian blog and a KFVS video with more information.  Both have additional photos.


3 thoughts on “Be Your Own Laura, Tom or Huck

  1. Yep. There is no doubt it’s fun browsing photos of distant places, well-known or not, on the web. But nothing beats the actual experience!

  2. Pingback: Reflections on Fall, 2012 « Amy's Scrap Bag: A Blog About Libraries, Archives, and History

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