Tuesday, January 11

Seventysix Conservation Area

Continuing with our monthly series, "Adventures With Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-Adventure," we travel to Seventysix conservation Area trail 3 miles NE of Brazeau, Missouri. Directions: Cross the bridge at Chester, IL, and drive 4 miles to a left turn on County C. Follow this for approx 20 miles and look for County D. Ignore the first sign for D, and continue to the next one. So far County C is a good road, although it is hilly and winding. It suddenly ascends from a flat plain to a ridgetop road with frequent distant views. County D is paved until we reach the conservation area.

Look for the second parking area on the left and arrive at the trailhead. No information about the trail is noted at the signboard. The trail is well-marked, but its ascents and descents are rugged. We start out on a long climb with cliff walls on the right and steep ravines on the left. We switchback to the top and enter a field. The trail becomes a wide swarth between acres of soybeans, corn, and wild grasses, along with frequent views of the Mississippi River and opposite bank. There are spur trails which afford overlooks into sinkholes, including ones with ponds. After 0.3 mile on top, we descend steeply thru woods, hit bottom, and look for a bridge and stair steps. We now have a short climb which brings us to an overlook above a major sinkhole area. The trail appears to end here. The length of the hike was approx 40 minutes each way.

Upon returning to the trailhead, drive over to the river and walk along the tracks for some views of steep ravines. Note a number of places for primitive camping. Approximate GPS coordinates 37 40' 25"N and 89 31' 28"W. For better pictures at the top and cliff line, Google southeast missourian and seventysix conservation area (the website title is too long to write here). North of this area on County C, note a turn for Red Rock Landing Conservation Area. Near its entrance the road seemed very questionable, plus a creek flowing over the road. For further questions, contact Bob Tyson at 618-684-5643 or robkay43@webtv.net.

04/09/12: correction on the GPS coordinates. 37 40' 27.411'N and 89 37' 22.239"W