Great Spirit Box LbNA # 22865
|Placed Date||May 28 2006|
Welcome to the quest for the Gitche Monitou….the “Great Spirit”. This letterbox is located in beautiful Rocheport, Missouri.
Background: The placer lives in the “south suburbs” of Rocheport, but claims the town as her own. This quiet river town is rich in history and atmosphere. From its significance to Native Americans, its evolution to a river and rail port for the white man, to its current status as a tourist destination, this town is ever evolving. Rocheport is one of several communities along the Missouri river whose rich history has been preserved. The railroad and the channelizing of the river have dramatically changed the surrounding area, bringing population centers that thrived with increasing commerce, reducing the flood plain, changing the habitat and wildlife that once thrived here, and shaping the path the Missouri led through these lands. The river decreased in importance in shipping, and the rail system became less and less of a mainstay for the local economies. The Katy gave up the line in 1986. In 1993 and 1995, the river claimed some of the land back as its own during the floods. Part of the quest for this letterbox showcases the amazing wetlands that are developing again along this massive waterway. This letterbox is not difficult, but care should be taken with bringing small children. There is a STEEP climb involved with drop offs nearby. Birders be sure to bring binoculars, excellent opportunities abound.
Directions: The town of Rocheport is located north of Interstate 70. From the east, take 70 to the Rocheport exit (State Rt BB), if you cross the Missouri River Bridge, you have gone too far. From the west, the Rocheport exit is the first exit east of the Missouri River Bridge (past Booneville). Take the exit and go north on BB to town. When descending the hill into Rocheport, you will see a sign for the Katy Trail parking area. At the bottom of the hill, turn left at sign to Katy Trail parking, and then left again past the Trailside Café to the parking area.
Clues: Our journey begins at the two giant cottonwoods located in the Katy Trail parking area. To your right is the historic Mt. Nebo Church. The building has been renovated and has housed several restaurants, but under the veneer the original structure remains. Head west on the trail to the informational sign. Read the sign well as it gives information about the area specific to your quest. To your right is the Trailside Café. This establishment provides killer burgers, cool drinks, and bike rentals seasonally. Rocheport is definitely a place to venture “off trail”. The town contains many restored buildings, antique stores, bed and breakfasts, and some excellent dining. One can even find other Letterboxs in the vicinity. Continue west on the trail and cross Pike St. An example of one of the local Bed and Breakfasts is on the right. At the Katy Trail B&B, you can even stay in a renovated rail car (which can be seen from the trail). Continue west past the children’s park on the right. At the intersection of the trail and Moniteau St., look right and notice the Friends of Rocheport Museum. The Museum is open seasonally on weekends and asks for a donation of $1.50 at the door. It is a neat place to see some interesting items from the river town’s heyday. Before the bridge crossing Moniteau Creek, look to your right and notice the garden of the landowner. They frequently have wonderful flowers blooming. Cross the bridge and stop at the tunnel. This is the only tunnel on the Katy line. To your right is a bench tucked away off the trail and overlooking the creek, to your left is an informational sign. Stop to read the sign and go left on the trail to the Diana Bend Conservation area. Walk on the boardwalk, and stop to read about yet another “Bed and Breakfast” in the area. The boardwalk continues to an accessible blind. This is a great place to stop off and bird/critter watch. Stairs go uphill to your right. Take the stairs and continue uphill. Go up….up…up…. Notice and perhaps take advantage of the bench on the left. Near the bench is a bat box. Continue up the hill. At the top of the hill, the trail forks, continue left to the scenic overlook. Pause to read the sign, take in the sights and catch your breath. Backtrack from the steps of the overlook 32 paces (one pace = 2 steps). At trail fork go left 22 paces. Look to your right. The pronged antlers of the Gitche Monitou are 13 paces to your right. Cradled within is the Great Spirit letterbox.