Lick Creek (39° 9’0.34″N; 92°23’6.31″W) is a fun little conservation area for off-trailing. There really isn’t too much to it, but the trail which heads north from the parking lot leads to a nice little draw that takes you into a wide and moist lowland that is flourishing with life. After you have reached the lowland, if you head west, there are some very old trees and a few oddities. One of the oddities is a hill that has water seeping from it. Calcium mineral deposits have begun to form at the source of the seepage and make a soft white formation that looks a little like flowstone. The seepage also hosts some bacterial colonies that make some stunning colors. The tenuous nature of these colonies makes them hit or miss so don’t be disappointed if they are not present sometimes. The trees seem to get older as you continue west towards the creek. There is not that much wildlife in the area, but it is secluded and I have never run into another person there. It is a good place for contemplation. Once you have reached the stream, you can head north or south. I often head north. As you head north, you find coal deposits and fossils. The coal hints at the potential for good fossils, although I have never found anything extraordinary. Also, if you think you have hit the jackpot and are going to buy the surrounding land to become a coal tycoon, think again. First, the process of mining coal is destructive and why on earth would you want to destroy such a beautiful area. Second, the coal is high in sulfur compounds, so it is useless in today’s coal market. The stream is a place that I like to sit and relax. I suppose the only thing that would make it better is a hammock. If you want a challenging hike, don’t go to Lick Creek. However, if your goal is to get off-trail and be alone with your thoughts, there are few other areas in mid-Missouri that offer such solitude.
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