When I was a kid, Johnson’s Shut-Ins was a regular spot for teenagers and adult fun-seekers but not-so for little children. -be sure to click through slides at the top of that page, if you don’t want to read the blurb — or don’t, look at these photos
I wouldn’t suggest that you take your rugrats, unless you plan on being very, very careful.* It’s a dangerous place where people are injured and killed fairly regularly.
People are stupid.
I guess at around age 9, I started going with friends’ families. My parents didn’t actually want me, so things went South from being born ‘not a boy.’ Keeping it real.
Brother and his friends went often enough and typically drank booze (which is unlawful in State Parks, by the way. -know laws and don’t do as I say or do…ever, possibly, never as Brother does!
-are the new readers gone yet?
At any rate, it’s not far from El Rancho Reedo and it’s a cool place. Basically, there’s a river / creek that tumbles over rock formations. This doesn’t sound that cool but when you’re there, it is.
Now, if anybody outside of Southeast Missouri has ever heard of it, it’s because of the Catastrophe. Here’s the state’s official page about the Taum Sauk Reservoir Failure.
In short, within a few minutes, 1.3 billion gallons / over 4.9 billion litres tore shite up really bad. Due to the fact that the Ozarks are dismally-populated by humans, a whole bunch of humans weren’t killed BUT it brought scientists from around the world (still does) to see the literal unearthing that resulted.
All the visual landmarks were gone. There were so many feet of sediment, you weren’t standing at the same elevation. ~Greg Combs, from the linked article
If you are really interested, here’s a federal government public pdf. I skimmed the first few pages, so don’t ask me, k?
I have been to the park (all over the St. Francois Mountains area) my whole life but hadn’t been in the water of Johnson’s Shut-Ins since I was a teenager. For one, half-Irish and look it. Can’t take too much sun, especially bouncing back at me off water. Secondly? I can’t actually swim. I bob. Depending on water-depth (due to rainfall), in deep places or places that may not be that deep but have a strong current, I cannot go unless in tandem. You’d think not a big deal but it’s a burden for whomever I’m with if you’re spending the day. Also, let’s face it. You don’t go there and not get cuts, bruises and burnt. It’s opting for a day of boo-boos. Oh, and I have congenital lupus, which means I can’t take heat, so while I can go outside and inside to cool off, not-so when you’re in the middle of nature.
I don’t get out there too often!
Sis, goddaughter, her fiancé, Brother and the nieces-3 and I all spent the afternoon there. Sis and I should’ve taken that left turn in Albuquerque cos we ended up going a minimum of 40 miles out of the way. Oops.
I’m sitting here in still-damp clothes and I smell just barely of sulphur. You don’t notice it really there but I’m detecting it. Granted, I have a primo sniffer.
Anyhoozles! Due to our continuing flooding, the river is high and even more treacherous. I got whisked away and under to be saved by Sis (she’s 6’1″ and strong), who has known my trouble in water since our childhood.
Brother had his kids to care-for and my youngest niece, at 9 years, and I are about on the same level of expertise only I’ve got a good foot of height on her.
Anyway, I’m bruised (everybody is) and scraped up but this is normal for the shut-ins. Five separate strangers had to help to the left bank (where you can very strenuously clamber / rock climb but do so OUT of the rapids) when Sis got carried away and I mean she was SCARED FOR ME as soon as she realised that she had really had a near thing. A wonderful time was had by all and I would not hesitate to go again — when the water’s lower.
-photos are not my own but belong to various travel sites
* There are easier sections and certainly, even in high water, there are ‘paddle pools’ which would be fine but there’s still a current, so you’d need to supervise and you’ll still need to rock-scramble, even in the easy areas, such as: