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Pits of Hell

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If I was ever going to dungeonize a vile transgressor with no hope of salvation, I would dump the cretin into Snake Pit Cave, just east of Leasburg. It’s a collapsed cave. And the sinkhole it forms has sheer walls down to the pit 25 feet below. There’s no way out of the pit except by ladder. And any animal …

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Wilderness

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Downriver, I found a suitable gravel bar where I beached my canoe and set up camp deep in the Irish Wilderness. I sat alone by the campfire and thought about the strange evolution of this area: wilderness, then settled and clear cut and stripped, then abandoned and back to wilderness. The wilderness itself is named for the Irish families who …

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Winter Camping Alone

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If you wanted to hide, Lake Wappapello would do nicely. Isolated in rugged hills, wholly surrounded by the thick woods of Mark Twain National Forest, the lake stands apart from the crowd. Driving to the campsite, I knew I was in for a lonely night. Winter was nigh, and Erifnus and I had Wappapello State Park to ourselves. The park …

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Sharp Young Minds

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Just spoke to Grant Elementary geography classes, and was reminded that, even on my best day, I’ll never be as sharp as a roomful of fourth graders. We had a blast talking parklands, prairie chickens and preservation.

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Gustav Spills His Guts

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Just outside Windsor, Gustav’s guts started spilling. Gustav had slammed into Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane, and plowed north through Arkansas into southern Missouri. By the time it reached Sedalia, the storm had devolved into an extratropical depression, which meant that the system was going out of business, and the heavy clouds were liquidating all over the place. We …

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