Sharon Sanders, librarian at the Southeast Missourian, discovered this gem of a story in the newspaper archives from 1935. This was a front-page article about a trek to visit the waterfall on Taum Sauk Mountain. Some of the details seem a bit exaggerated, but it's an amusing piece of history:
Girardeans Climb Taum Sauk; Discover Hidden Waterfall
Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian, July 15, 1935
Three Girardeans and an Irontan man, who went on a mountain-climbing expedition early Sunday to Taum Sauk, Missouri's highest peak, returned in the late afternoon fatigued and with feet made sore from walking over 25 miles of the state's roughest ground.
Those going were Dean Vest C. Myers of State College, Prof. A. S. Duckworth, curator of museums at the college, County School Supt. Andy Trask of Iron County, and G.D. Fronabarger of The Missourian news staff.
Those who climb the mountain will not find it an easy task. A good work-out walk is in store for those who make the venture before they even get to the mountain. The Girardeans Sunday traversed approximately 25 miles of ground after leaving their automobile parked more than 5 miles from the big mountain's base, the closest a car can be driven to it.
Taum Sauk has an elevation of approximately 1900 feet. It is not, as one might presume, peaked at the top, but has a wide tip of probably one or two square miles in area, which is forested with short timber, and abundant in underbrush and grass. Slightly lower are the rough places, the jagged cliffs and huge boulders. The mountain really seems to be upside down, the timber line last, although there is considerable timber for several hundred feet up from the base before the precipices are reached.
To go to Taum Sauk the mountain climber needs to give attention to explicit directions. The Girardeans took Highway 21 from Ironton to Hogan, near Tip Top, and then turned off a little used road to the right. This road led into inaccessible country. They parked their car after a jolting trip, at the cabin of a Greek goat herder by the name of Mechin. From there it was about 3 miles to the home of John Huff, whose house is the last one encountered before arriving at the mountain, which is approximately 5 miles from Huff's cabin. The quartet took about 1-1/2 hours in climbing the mountain, and spent another hour resting at the top.
The visitors were told by Mechin and Huff that there is a waterfall on Wildcat Mountain, an auxillary mountain to Taum Sauk, and that few people know of this fact. Prof. Duckworth, an authority on the state's geological history, said he had never of it previously. It was sighted, almost hidden, from the summit of Taum Sauk.
Another rough trip in the descent of Taum Sauk and ascent of the other mountain was in store.
Another 1-1/2 hours was consumed in this trip, and the group came to the base of the waterfall about 500 or 600 feet up the side of the mountain.
This fall, surprising to say, has a sheer drop of 200 feet or more from a cliff to its base, and a sizable stream added to its beauty. Two members of the party climbed the jagged cluff and at its top discovered a large pool of crystal water, formed by another short fall from an auxillary cliff. The climbers, wearied from their climb, took the opportunity to cool off in the pool. The descent from the cliff was more hazardous than the climb, but no mishap occured.
Back at Ironton several inquiries were made about the falls, but no person there had ever heard of them. Another expedition is planned soon to the mountain to last more than a day so that closer observation can be made of rock formations, the soil and plant and animal life.