Three Creeks LbNA # 6164
|Placed Date||Sep 9 2002|
DIRECTIONS: From Kansas City or St. Louis, take I-70 to Columbia. Go south on Hwy. 63 for 7.5 miles. Turn right (west) onto Deer Park Road. (Turning left will put you on AB.) Drive 2.5 miles on Deer Park Rd. to the Three Creeks C.A. parking lot.
TRAIL NOTES: You will need to be moderately adventurous to enjoy this hunt. Three Creeks Conservation Area is a state forest, not very developed, no water, no latrines. The trails are merely worn paths. Maps are available from Mo. Dept. of Conservation, District Office, 1907 Hillcrest Drive, Columbia, MO 65201. As in most wild areas, poison ivy is common. Insect spray in the summer is highly recommended. Terrain is rocky in some areas, but not difficult. I like to use a walking stick when hiking here. Wear sensible shoes. The creek is frequently bone-dry or very shallow. After a rainy spell, there may be several inches of water. Best not to hike the area in periods of heavy rains or flash flooding. Good Luck!
A pace equals approx. 22"
CLUE: Enter the trail at the iron gate next to the Cedar Creek Club sign. Hike along the grassy path, first tree-lined, then opening into a meadow for approx. 1/4 mile. There is a fork in the path with a yellow sign prohibiting horseback riding. Take the left fork, heading south. After about 110 paces, if you look carefully, you will see that you are crossing an old fence line, only rough-hewn posts remain. Here is the forest.
Go 70 paces to another fork in a small clearing. Choose the left fork, still heading south/east. 32 paces will bring you to a spreading oak tree on your left. The path is still grassy.
Another 56 paces, another large oak tree on your left. You will shortly begin your descent to the creekbed. The path will become a bit rocky. You can see Turkey Creek below to your left. After a longer walk, about 270 paces, there will be a clearing with a rocky campfire site on your right. 95 paces bring you to another fork in the trail. Go left. 150 paces farther is a second campfire site in the midst of several downed trees on your right. Your descent continues and the path begins to wind to the north.
The creek is at your right. At 70 paces you will find an old trail marker "8" lying on the ground. Perhaps you'll hear or see a pileated woodpecker in this area.
70 more paces will take you to the edge of the woods with the creek on your right. Follow the path along the edge of the creek. You'll pass trail marker "L" and quite soon you will see a large rocky outcropping on your left and a huge, fallen-away boulder. Pass between the outcropping and the boulder. Stand with the boulder at your right shoulder and face the creek. Look towards "10 o'clock" across the creek. This is where the trail resumes, at the bend in the creek.
After crossing the creek, take 14 paces along the path. The creek is on your left now. Look right for a tree with a forked trunk, about 7 paces off the trail. There is a hollow at the base of the tree and an animal's hole in the smaller fork of the trunk. In the hollow at the base is a large, flat, white creek rock. Poke into the hollow with a stick first, then lift the rock. You've found the letterbox!
You can finish the trail loop for about a 2.5 mile hike or return the way you came, about 1.5 miles.