Danny Brown, Brenda Hente and Barb Brownell helped me see more of the natural Missouri, by taking me to ‘s
Hughes Mountain .
The wiki says, "Rhyolite, a type of igneous rock, on Hughes Mountain, was formed from ancient lava flows around 1.4 billion years ago. Under certain conditions as lava cools it can form columnar joints." They did look like rock bricks, and there were several geometric patterns in the rocks...it was fascinating to see.
Barb picked me up at (I am not kidding) 2.45 am, because we needed to get to Brenda's place, then to Danny's, then to the nature area, and be at the top by sunrise. We made it there in time, and it was not only dark, but quite misty.
As we went up the trail, I was, irresistibly, reminded of the trail to the Bhavani temple on the Bannerghatta-Kaggalipura road. The rock might be different, as were the tree species...but the gentle ascent, through plants and bushes, was eerily similar.
The mist made for some very interesting scenery, and I did not miss the view at all...the mist was something to view in itself!
The sun did burst through at sunrise,
but the mist closed over us again, and in drifting veils, the vapour flowed past us. The sun through the mist made for some beautiful sights.
The colours of the rhyolite rocks were quite incredible...pink shading to indigo,
sometimes, touched with gold as the rising sun shone upon them.
There were some rain pools, too.
This area is apparently full of wildflowers in spring; in high summer, we only saw a few,
and of course, there was sumac everywhere.
The pine trees were festooned with lichen,
as were the rocks.
There were so many kinds of moss.
Raindrops spangled everything...grass
We did the only mammal photography that was possible; Danny did the serious, artistic part, while I did the Fun Stuff!
Danny's camera gear was a kind of Easter Island figure!
I certainly saw a lot of different kinds of spiders. There were Funnel Web Spiders with diamond-bespangled webs
and this new one, which built arches that reminded me of the Gateway Arch of St.Louis...each spider sat at the top of the arch!
We exchanged jokes, and it felt so good to enjoy the easy camaraderie of some good-hearted people from whom I could learn a lot.
On the way back, we stopped at a McD's breakfast bar. Danny introduced me to "senior coffee", where they give one a reasonable-sized cup of coffee for 56 cents. McD's, contrary to the high-priced franchises in India, are our equivalent of the ubiquitous "darshini" eateries.
We returned to Danny's place, where we met Joyce,
who's enjoying her recent retirement. Danny and Joyce's home is as beautiful as they are hospitable, and the views are stunning!
As we returned home, though, a jarring note was struck by this truck swerving in and out of its lane, and three more trucks cutting in and out of the traffic. This was St.Louis highway traffic at its very worst.
But it could not take away from our enjoyment of the morning, and I certainly returned home with my soul at peace after my tryst with the temple of Creation that the natural world is to me.