On the day after Christmas, my daughter and I climbed into the pickup with my brother-in-law Tim, my niece Katherine and my nephew Joshua. We headed north into the Ozark Mountains in search of adventure. Our first stop was the Rotary Ann Overlook on Scenic Highway 7. The temperature was in the low 20’s, and the wind whipping across the top of the mountains put the windchill below zero. We didn’t stay long.
From there, we drove to Pedestal Rocks in the Ozark National Forest. We had a mile hike through the woods to get to our destination. The trail, when we got to the Pedestal Rocks area, ran along the edge of the bluff. There were a few places where we could climb down below and explore the erosion caves. When we saw the thousands and thousands of icicles hanging off of pretty much every surface, we were, for the first time of the day, happy that it was cold. The place was simply amazing. The following photos appear in the order I took them as we worked our way along the trail.
Here’s the first pedestal rock we came upon. There were six or seven that were separated from the bluff like this. Others were still attached at the top but had cavities or tunnels underneath.
Icicles hanging from one of the many windows in the rocks below the bluffs.
One of the more stunning areas, a large tunnel with ice hanging everywhere. That’s Tim on the right and my daughter in the distance.
One of the many caves under the bluffs. This one had two windows separated by a pedestal-in-the-making. The “room” from which I took this photo was about as large as an average kitchen.
The view from the top of the bluffs.
Once we made it around to the sunny side of the hill, it was much warmer. So warm, in fact, that we frequently heard large chunks of ice crashing down the bluff as they melted in the sun. We climbed back down below the bluffs to explore this area.
Another pedestal, part of which can be seen in the above photo.
There was an area near here where dripping water had covered a fallen tree and a large area around it.
Looking up toward the edge of the bluff. We were very aware of the fact that we could be speared by ice at any moment.
Here Tim is attempting to photograph falling ice while Joshua was chucking rocks in an attempt to make it fall.
It was much warmer as we walked the mile back to the truck. Already, the day had exceeded our expectations, and we’d only just begun.