11/3/10: Both boxes confirmed in place.
UPDATE0 1/9/07: I've re-carved the stamp for the Bonusbox (it had been stolen last summer)and re-hid the box in a newer, hopefully safer location.
This LB is part of the nine-box "Five Star Drinks" series. For a full explanation of the series, see "Five Star Drinks: Herbal Tonic."
Ink: Bring your own ink. I recommend black, blue, red, purple, yellow, and brown.
Pace: One pace = two steps. From parking lot bulletin board to left (east) post of gate = 20 of my paces.
Length / Terrain: About 2 miles with 100 foot change in elevation from highest point to lowest point; includes creek crossings and possible wading; no bushwhacking.
Decryption Instructions: See “Five Star Drinks: Herbal Tonic”
Other: If you seek Winter Warmup in winter, make sure it’s a nice warm day (or else cold enough to freeze the creeks). You’ll have to cross some creeks; the water levels may vary tremendously. The water was up to my knees on some of the crossings the day I planted this box. On the day I planted the bonus box, one creek was bone dry, another was frozen solid. I recommend socks, shoes and pants that can get wet and muddy. Parts of the trail are a little rough. You may also be glad for a change of socks and shoes when you return to the parking lot.
This LB hike includes some wonderful scenic views of bluffs and boulders as you twist and wind alongside, around and in one of this area’s multiple creeks.
Background: Abraham Lincoln’s famous Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 freed slaves only in those states that had seceded from the Union. During the Civil War (1861 to 1865) Missouri was one of the few slaveholding states that did not secede from the Union. Missouri freed her slaves January, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation and 11 months before the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution freed all the nation’s slaves. What became of these freed men and women?
In Boone County, which had one of the highest concentrations of slaves in the state, many of them gained parcels of land in what is now the 1479-acre Three Creeks Conservation Area. The area is named for the three creeks, Turkey, Bonne Femme and Bass creek that flow through the area. Bass creek was named for Eli Bass, a landowner in the Deer Park Area who was a major landowner and a major slaveholder before the Civil War.
The ex-slaves were given the rugged hilly, rocky areas that was hard to plow, hard to farm, and even harder to hang onto. It was the first African-American community west of the Mississippi. They formed a church called Log Providence which still exists today just east of the Three Creeks. Still, despite the hardships, they could take some delight in this “bottom of heaven,” if only that they could literally look down upon their former masters.
Eventually, many lost their lands and moved to the cities, and eventually this area was purchased by the Missouri Department of Conservation. As you hike around, take note of the remnants of the old homesteads here and there. If you do your homework ahead of time, you may also find a letterbox along the way planted by Jenny J.
HIGHWAY 63 about eight miles south of interstate 70 near Columbia, MO. Deer Park exit. Head west until road dead-ends into Three Creeks Conservation Area (2nd parking lot).
Take main trail (by gate) and follow western edge of no-hunting zone. When you reach an area where horses must go right, head straight bearing 155 degrees. Soon, enter woods, passing cut stones on left and pond on right. At intersection, go left. Pass stone foundation on left. Enjoy views of Turkey creek on left.
At ▼, veer left. Soon enjoy bluffs on right. When trail reaches creek, look at 10 o’clock. Cross and pick up trail on other side. Hike a little more to the next creek crossing. Cross creek again. Hike. Cross creek again. Hike. A few feet before next creek crossing STOP. This is Point W (for Winter-Warmup).
Next, using the letters below, walk a Twisted Path 12 feet wide and 15 feet long (see Five Star Drinks Herbl Tonic for detailed decoding instructions). Go down the first column, up the second, down the third, etc. If you do it correctly, the first row will read: F R O M P O I N T W G O.
FR3DL PFRSE OLLEU ARLL5 FAIAA EFPIR
OGAAF CLGWT PTOBR DOWRA FEHLE TLCHM
PTELG SETDA CEBXE DIAEE CLANT OESUO
IPTN5 OTNOE SWSNB YSEIT LGDRL 1LOHN
TISOM AEMSE OTLIR ODEHS FOOER OGALW
GLWOR GORNT MHTEC KGTOA GLENE ENE2O
Please replace rock and re-hide well to prevent theft, vandalism, or animal mischief. Clues for the bonus box are in the logbook. When you’re finished stamping in, head back to point W.
Before you head back the way you came, take this little detour (you’ll be glad you did):
Cross creek and turn left toward campsite and wet-season waterfall. From fire ring head due north on trail. When you reach the field, turn left bearing West. At next campsite, turn right (north) and continue on trail. You’re in for a pleasant surprise.
If you would like a cipher-lesson plan that explains how to decode many of the ciphers used in mid-Missouri letterboxing, please e-mail me using the "Contact the Placer" link.