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Hughes Mtn. (Missouri)

 

 My wife and I have hiked to the top of Hughes Mountain a couple of

times.  It is definitely well worth the effort to make the half-mile

climb to the top of Hughes Mountain.  (Detailed directions on how to

get there are included in the info I've typed up and appended below.)

You get a really great view from the top; along with a peaceful place

to "sit a spell" to watch the hawks and vultures circle in the

thermals.  (We will definitely once again make the excursion to the

top of Hughes Mountain the next time we get back down that way.)

 

If you go...one word of caution, though:  Be sure to take specific

note the EXACT spot from whence you emerge through the treeline toward

the top of Hughes Mountain.  You want to do this so that you can more

easily find your way back to the same return trail down the mountain.

(Believe me, if you do not do this you may have a somewhat difficult

time relocating the precise spot from which you emerged from the

trees!)

 

The following info (appended below) is taken from p.p. 18 and 19

of the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources' 1990 publication

(second) edition _Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri_,

wriiten by Thomas R. Beveridge (State Geologist of Missouri from 1955

through 1964).  (We have our own copy of the book and have used it

quite a bit to check out many of the sites noted within the book's

almost 400 pages. --- We've also been to -- and either hiked in,

bicyled to, and/or camped out in -- each and every of Missouri's state

parks and historic sites administered by the MO DNR, too.  Missouri is

a great state for discovering the joy's of outdoor exploration.  Same

for much of Illinois, Arkansas, Iowa, etc. :-)

 

[NOTE:  Underlined items link to additional related info about the points of interest.]


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10. DEVILS HONEYCOMB

 

    Washington County, 3 miles southwest of Irondale, atop Hughes

Mountain, in NE1/4 SE1/4 SW1/4 sec. 28, T. 36 N., R. 3 E., Irondale

7 1/2-minute Quadrangle.  [Note:  Those numbers refer to U.S.G.S.

topographic map coordinates. --Bob S.]

 

    Devil's Tower National Mounument in Wyoming, Devil's Post Pile

National Monument in California, and the Giant's Causeway in Ireland

are world-famous scenic examples of igneous rock which has cooled to

form giant polygonal columns bounded by fractures (joints) created as

the once-molten rock cooled and contracted.  Hughes Mountain contains

a smaller but, by Midwestern standards, a unique and scenic example of

the same phenomenon.  For this reason, it is hereby christened the

Devils Honeycomb.  The columns are a bit short for fenceposts, but

the polygonal pattern as viewed from above leaves no doubt that the

Devil has apiarian interests [fig. references here --Bob S].

 

    Hughes Mountain is composed of rhyolite porphyry, once-molten

rock with contrasting crystal sizes.  The rock is salmon pink but is

colored yellow by lichens along with weathered surfaces.  The yellow

coloration produced by these small plants has excited novice uranium

hunters in many areas but, unlike the yellow uranium ores, it will

burn easily and doesn't cause a Geiger counter to emote.

 

    The columns have from four to six sides, are 8 to 10 inches in

maximum diameter, and from 3 to 4 feet in maximum height.  The site is

well worth the easy climb to it.  The mountaintop view is excellent,

the top is devoid of brush, and the stairstep honeycomb structures are

cooperative subjects for any photographer.  The most photographic

exposures are on the south edge of the mountain crest indicated by the

heavy 1,200-foot contour line.

 

    Hughes Mountain is most easily reached from Irondale by taking

Missouri Highway M to the southwest.  From the railroad track crossing

at the south edge of town, follow the highway for 3 miles to a gravel

road junction on the left (south).  Turn left onto the gravel road and

follow it for 0.3 mile to the top of the hill.  The car may be parked

in a pullout on the east [left --Bob S.] side of the road and a

footpath (or jeep trail) can be followed for an additional 0.6 mile to

the southeast crest of the mountain.  The walk is easy and well

rewarded!

 

     The Missouri Department of Conservation now owns Hughes Mountain.

The Devils Honeycomb is part of the Hughes Mountain State Natural

Area.

 

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