An artesian, or free flowing well, occurs when ground water becomes pressurized and forces its way to the surface. Pressure is created when the ground water recharge zone is at a higher elevation than the head of the well. This forces water to flow from the well without pumping. The word artesian comes from the town of Artois in northwestern France, where Carthusian monks drilled the first such well in 1126.
Figure 1: How an artesian well works
Figure 1 illustrates the geologic conditions needed for an artesian well to flow. Artesian wells are most always located at the base of a high hill or mountain – the situation we see here. The wellhead is at about 715 ft elevation, while the hill immediately to the west (the ground water recharge zone) is nearly 200 ft higher. This elevation difference provides the pressure that drives the water in this well.
Figure 2: The well
This artesian well (see Figure 2) is located in Mark Twain National Forest. It was drilled by National Lead Company in the early 1950s in the search for lead and zinc deposits to feed their Fredericktown smelter. No metals were intercepted in this well, but because it produced such copious quantities of cool, pure water, the Forest Service purchased the well casing and left it open for public use.
I first became aware of this well in about 1980. It has produced more than 100 gallons of water per minute for over 50 years. There is watercress growing nearby. It loves the cold, slightly alkaline water and has a tangy, peppery flavor.
FINDING THE CACHE
To make this cache muggle-resistant, I've ditched the metal tag. Stand at the well (or as close as you dare) and project the following waypoint:
· BEARING = 249.7 DEG (TRUE) · DISTANCE = 1.24 MI
This is where you'll find the cache. It's an ammo box placed at the base of a tall pine tree near the intersection of a road and a trail. It contains some nifty items and the logbook. If the road is dry you can drive right to the cache with most any vehicle. The first half-mile is pretty steep (grades of up to 11%), so if the road is muddy you may have to walk, or use 4WD.
Figure 3: How to get here (without getting stuck)
DRIVING DIRECTIONS (see Figure 3):
This is more than just a suggested route. It’s actually quite IMPORTANT that you approach the well by this route to avoid getting stuck.
1. Take MO Rt 72 to Hwy O · The intersection is approximately 12 mi east of Fredericktown at 37 N 31.305, 90 W 06.195 2. Take Hwy O south to County Road 872 (4.11 mi) · This intersection is at 37 N 28.196, 90 W 06.916 · CR 866 will also get you to CR 872 3. Take CR 872 west to FS 2137 (1.86 mi) · The well is visible from the CR 872/FS 2137 intersection
Do not try to approach the well from the north on CR 247! This will require you to ford Grounds Creek (at 37 N 29.236, 90 W 08.644). You may get stuck in this creek, even with 4WD. The route to take is highlighted in yellow (see Figure 3). The routes to AVOID are highlighted in grey.