Thursday, November 11, 2010

The White Cliffs of Epes

On our trip down the Tenn-Tom, our guide and guru is a slim little book, The Tenn-Tom Nitty-Gritty Cruise Guide, by Fred Myers, an experienced local boater.  Besides the usual data on marinas, anchorages, locks and dams, the guide alerts you to notable sights along the way. Like the White Cliffs of Epes.
We'd been cruising along a segment of river where the banks were cliffs of eroded yellow sand, mostly head-high.  The scenery was pretty in a ragged sort of way, but mostly unremarkable.  "Fred says to get the camera out," said the crew, dragging it from its storage drawer in the stern cabin. "White cliffs coming up.  Fred says we'll want lots of pictures."

We peered ahead.  The sand cliffs got a little higher.  A little more pale, perhaps.  Are these the so-called cliffs? Is that all there is?

Then we negotiated the slightest of bends and there they were.  Bluffs of pure white "Selma chalk," laid down in the Cretaceous by warm ocean waters. Stuffed with fossils. Eroded into fantastic shapes. The foundation for the rich soil and prairie flora of the region.

More photos on Facebook at SlowBoatCruise

Also, keep reading below for the solution to the Nov. 3 "What IS It? quiz.

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