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The Pinnacles

I try to keep a copy of Beveridge’s Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri in the trunk of my car, much to the chagrin of my traveling companions sometimes. But how else will a person know if there’s a geologic curiosity just a couple of miles off the highway? Geologic Wonders is my Michelin guide, directing me to out-of-the way marvels that speedier travelers miss.

Beveridge calls The Pinnacles (Boone County’s version of them, that is) “a compact outpost of Ozarkia,” a nice turn of phrase from a writer who is usually more prosaic. They are formed by two parallel streams, Silver Fork (seen in the foreground here) and Kelley Branch, which runs just a few feet behind the limestone outcrops seen in the photograph. A few hundred feet downstream, Silver Fork circles around and picks up Kelley Branch, and then winds southward again on its way to Perche Creek and eventually the Missouri River.

When I was attending college, the Pinnacles were a favorite spot to come for a weekend picnic and rock clamber. There wasn’t much hiking — a couple of trails lead along the stream but don’t last — but it was only 12 miles outside of town and felt like home. Technically speaking, they’re not part of the Ozarks, being north of the Missouri River, but they sure look like they belong.