What does a glade sound like to you? A cool, green sunny place in a forest opening? Not. Glades are hot, dry, rocky openings in a forest, bathed by the hot the southern or western sun.
When I started an on-going project I call, Missouri Rocks, I did not have a clue about glades. Now I find them the most interesting landscapes Missouri's Ozark have to offer.
The glades vary from rock formation to rock formation. But within each formation there sports a variety: bare rock glades, gravel glades, rock shelves, grassy glades.
The U.S. Forest Service manages the Glade Top Trail, a ridge road in the Missouri Ozarks. Rock shelves mark sparsley-treed glades, which fall to either side of the trail. Look closely and you can see the ridges of Jefferson City limestone.
The igneous glades at Elephant Rocks State Park offer few cracks in the pavement, which water can seep into and trees take root. When they do, stumpy oaks grow.
Lichen grow on the bare rock glade that covers the roof of the cave at Graham State Park. Where moisture has seeped into a crack in the St. Peter Sandstone, a small sprig of grass grows.
A fringe of trees surrounds the opening on which grasses take root on Bear Bluff Glade, a sloping shelf of Plattin limestone.