Motorcyclists will have an opportunity to get their bikes blessed.
The Legend of Taum Sauk Mountain ~ A Native American "Romeo and Juliet" story as told to John Russell, from the Kansas City Star, by "Old Uncle Jim Connelly" back in 1953, the summer after the park became accessible by automobile to the public. Uncle Jim, an ex-railroad worker, who for many years ran a service station and tourist court from his home near Ironton, knew a host of stories and Indian legends tied up with the mountain.
"Uncle Jim's favorite story probably is one about Taum Sauk, the Piankashaw Indian chieftain after whom the mountain is named, and his daughter, Mina Sauk, for whom the beautiful waterfall on the northwestern slope of the mountain is named.
"Long before the white man came here," Uncle Jim relates, "this land of flowers, now called the Arcadia Valley, was the hunting grounds of the Piankashaw Indians. The Piankashaws had a famous chieftain, Sauk-Ton-Qua. Because the name was hard for the white man to pronounce, he was later call Taum Sauk."
"Taum Sauk was wise and although the Piankashaws were not as large a tribe as the Cherokees or Osages, he was able to hold his territory against their invasions. The Piankashaws lived in comparative peace in and around the Arcadia Valley, where they hunted and fished and raised a little corn in the summertime. In the winter they would move to the limestone bluff shelters along the Mississippi river and stay there until warm weather."
"Taum Sauk's beautiful daughter, Mina Sauk, was greatly desired by all the young warriors in the tribe. However, Mina Sauk met a young Osage warrior in the woods and lost her heart to him."
"For a long time he wooed her secretly, but one day she was discovered in the arms of the young Osage. The young warrior was captured and taken before the chieftain. He was tried and condemned to death."
"He was executed on the slopes of Taum Sauk Mountain, where a great porphyry outcrop form an escarpment overlooking Taum Sauk creek and facing Wildcat mountain. The young warrior was tossed from the parapet down a succession of benches on the mountainside, thrown from bench to bench with the spears of warriors. He fell bleeding and dying in the valley below."
"The grief-stricken maiden was restrained by the tribal women from interfering with the execution. But at the fatal moment, she broke loose from her captors and threw herself to death on the same benches."
"The old Indian legend says that this displeased the great spirit, and that the earth trembled and shook, and the mountain cracked. Then a stream of water poured forth and flowed down the rock benches, washing away the blood."
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT TAUM SAUK MOUNTAIN - CLICK HERE
"A mile down the Taum Sauk section of the Ozark Trailwaits the Devil’s Tollgate. This eight-foot wide passage of volcanic rhyolite stretches 50-feet long and 30-feet high on both sides.
Nearly 1.5 billion years ago, this largest mountain and the St. Francois Mountains surrounding it were created by volcanic eruptions which threw hot gas and ashes into the air. This fell and cooled, forming a dense layer of fine-grained igneous rhyolite over a heart of coarse-grained granite. The majority of the Ozarks were once covered in seas which deposited over a mile of sedimentary dolomite and sandstone atop them, and were only created when the Ozarks region uplifted about 250 million years ago.
On the other hand, Taum Sauk and its closest neighbors are ancient, volcanic, Precambrian uplifts many times older than the Appalachians, and may be among the few areas in the United States never to have been submerged by ancient seas. This volcanic origin can be seen in the many open, rocky expanses called glades that are scattered throughout the park and are home to many desert-adapted plants and animals. Also, prairie plants such as Indian Grass, Little Bluestem, Ashy Sunflower, White Prairie Clover and Rattlesnake Master thrive in the glades and open, carefully burn-controlled woodlands. " -