Arrow Rock Geography Camping Trip Win Win

Arrow Rock

Students learn while having fun!

When about 22 geography grads, undergrads, and faculty went to Arrow Rock for a camping trip Sept. 24-25, they learned a lot about the historical geography of the community, while making new friends and having a great time.

Of special interest was the community’s historical ferry landing, the reason Arrow Rock exists. Migrants first traveled across the Missouri River there in 1816, and by 1821, the landing site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was heavily used by Santa-Fe-bound trading caravans.

Grad student Michael Terhune led the tour at the landing, which is just outside of Arrow Rock and down a hill, says Soren Larsen, full professor of geography.

“The Missouri River flooded in 1927 and moved about a mile away from the ferry landing site,” Larsen adds. “It won’t go back to its original site, but you can see a remanent of the original ‘arrow rock’ on the river where the ferry landing was put in originally.”

The adventurers also went to Arrow Rock Museum where they viewed exhibits and watched an interpretive film on the history of the area. They also explored the architecture of the town, complete with federal-style buildings. They even got ice cream at a local sweet shop: The Badger’s Hideaway.

Students exploring Arrow Rock, while on a camping trip with the Department of Geography.

They stayed the night at Arrow Rock State Historic site, where they used the special-use campground. They set up tents, ate hot dogs and brats cooked over an open campfire, enjoyed Smores, and even a little rain.

“Around 10 p.m. it started raining though there was only a 10 percent chance,” Larsen says. “It didn’t last too long, but the cool thing was we were in a really forested area and had the drip drop of rain coming down on our tents. It was great sleeping.”

They also collected Persmission fruit, which came off a local tree. “We had a little taste. They were good,” says Larsen.

Breakfast was granola bars, graham crackers, coffee, and fruit. The students and three faculty members: Clayton Blodgett, Doug Hurt and Larsen -- all joked that it was like an “Arrow Rock Continental Breakfast.”

Lunch, delivered by grad student Sarah Kammeyer and her partner Megan Boyer, was Panini sandwiches from Hyvee.

“It was relaxed, fun and friendly and definitely educational,” Larsen adds. “We were excited to get back to some normalcy. We had this trip scheduled last year and it was canceled due to Covid. It was nice to be able to go this year.”

More camping trips are planned in geography’s future: like Hermann, Echo Bluff State Park, and Taum Sauk Mountain State Park.

Hermann is known for its river and the German Rhineland.  “The area of Augusta/Hermann is called the German Rhine,” says Larsen. Taum Sauk, in southeast Missouri, is home to the highest mountain in the state. And Echo Bluff is known for its bluffs, clear Ozark streams and beautiful natural springs.

Watch the geography website and Facebook page for upcoming activities in the department.