I've heard the rumor for years: after an exceptionally heavy rain, Ball Mill Resurgence in Perry County will tumble rocks with such ferocity that the sound can be heard for miles away.
Well, that's the rumor anyway. It's safe to say that our recent round of flash flooding could be described as an exceptionally heavy rain event. So here was the perfect chance to see if the rumor is true.
I reached Ball Mill not long after the rain had ended, a trip that was complicated by the fact that Highway 61 south of Perryville was closed due to flooding.
At the trailhead parking lot, I didn't hear any rocks tumbling. While slogging down the muddy trail, the first sound was that of a waterfall along a small tributary.
I saw fish bouncing through the temporary falls, likely swept by the flash flood from the comfort of their home pond.
Continuing past the waterfall, I reached the flat hollow below the resurgence. The creek here is usually bone dry, but on this day the resurgence was living up to its name as it resurged massive volumes of water.
With the trail inundated, it was necessary to wade through the overgrowth to reach a good vantage point, while hoping not to make a false move and land in the drink. That would not be optimal.
Clinging to a narrow ledge, I watched the water bubble up from below. The scene was similar to Big Spring near Van Buren where a torrent emerges from the base of a tall bluff.
The difference, of course, is that Big Spring runs every day, and the water is usually crystal clear. The runoff at Ball Mill was anything but clear, making it impossible to see if this geological wonder actually functions as a rock tumbler. It didn't make much of a sound other than the rushing water sloshing between downed tree branches.
Perhaps, in order to fully experience Ball Mill, it's necessary to visit in the middle of the rainstorm when the rushing water is at its peak. In this particular flash flood, the peak came overnight, so that wasn't really an option. Even then it probably wouldn't be possible to safely get anywhere near the resurgence.
Nevertheless, Ball Mill Resurgence is an impressive place to visit during after a heavy rain, if you dare.
From Cape Girardeau, take I-55 north to the Perryville exit (#129). Turn right and take Highway 51 to the stoplight at US 61. Turn left on US 61, go north 1 mile, and turn right on Route V. Follow Route V until the highway ends at a fork. Take the right fork (County Road 916) and continue 1.5 miles to the Ball Mill Resurgence parking area on the left.