SEMO’s Cardiac Hill

Several of my readers have mentioned Cardiac Hill on the Southeast Missouri State University campus. They’re mostly crazy folks like Terry Hopkins, who participated in track, a sport where you run even if nobody’s chasing you.

It’s quite a bucolic sight, looking off to the west of the path that leads from the Academic Hall area down to The Towers and other student housing. Even on an afternoon when the temperatures are sliding to around 103, the shade and greenery have a cooling effect. You can click on the photos to make them larger.

Cardiac Hill’s not so tough

In 1990, we took the Great Trip Out West, which included the Grand Canyon. I knew that you should never walk DOWN further than you are able to walk up, so I discouraged Wife Lila and Sons Matt and Adam from going down too far on a day when the temperatures came close to the surface of the sun as measured from Mercury.

When it came time to turn around (actually, when it was PAST time to turn around), I got about 15 steps and found myself with my hands on my knees, bent over, watching sweat splash onto my Redwing boots. Adam, who was about 10, kept scampering around us wanting to keep going. Finally, hoping he would get lost or eaten by a goat, we turned him loose.

When we looked up, we saw him seemingly half a mile ahead of us hanging over a lookout point with some concerned-looking adults. We could make out that they were having a serious discussion, probably about his welfare. Finally, he leaned way out and pointed to us. He was probably telling the strangers, “Those are my parents, if they live.”

Learning from the Grand Canyon

Even though it didn’t look like Cardiac Hill was all THAT steep and it wasn’t all THAT long, I used the Grand Canyon Rule and went down only about a third of the way, not quite to the emergency stanchion that I assume is the half-way point.

I DID mention that it was 103 in the shade, right?

I’m going to use a different rule next time: Take the temperature (103), subtract my age (65) and subtract the grade (12.5 degrees, estimated). The result (103-65-12.5) = 25.5 feet, the distance that I should consider walking down Cardiac Hill. I was going to build in humidity, but that would have left me with a negative number to walk.

Thanks to Dr. Bambi, AKA the Yarn Bomber, who told me how to get to Cardiac Hill.



13 Replies to “SEMO’s Cardiac Hill”

  1. Ken Steinhoff, can you GET any funnier?? (Yes, I know that’s not good grammar, but I took a grammar shortcut.)
    From what I know of mountain goats, they are not carnivorous, but you took a reality shortcut, didn’t you?
    Brings back memories of the good ole days! I wish I could go back and start all over. Maybe I could swear to take better care of my body, so that such a steep incline wouldn’t be so far out of my reach today!

    1. When you are about to pass out from altitude sickness and you’re watching your precious bodily fluids splash out on your Redwing boots, it’s not the time to dwell on zoology. Goats, mountain lions, marauding tortises, whatever.

  2. i get like this just walking up the hill from the river, on independence st…hehehe…thank you for the giggle this morning Ken

  3. here i am in arizona, 113 yesterday and humidity, my grandson is in altenburg visiting my brother and his wife. he grew up here, and he is dying there. i wish it were 103 here, it would seem like a cool front going thru

  4. WOW! my name is mentioned in a KEN STEINOFF article and I TOO busy to notice it the same day! I need to get up earlier, stay up later and get working harder so I don’t miss an opportunity an honor like this again! By way, did you know I NEVER ever ran up or down that hill in question… I never went that way or something… As for the worst running hills in Cape that are killers, the Bertling hill west of North West End Blvd. going west toward Perryville Road is a true killer. The road is steep and has steep dip in the last 50 yards at the very top of the hill. It hurt going all the way up and when you were totally worn out, then the dip and the grade increased the last 25 yards almost straight up! That usually finished your run into a walk.

  5. Oh the memories: back-to-back classes on opposite sides of campus, 10 minutes to make the trek and Cardiac Hill to climb in the process. You bet it was a killer ~ even with an 18 yr old’s endurance!

    1. Ohio University’s campus was as hilly as Cape, but more spread out. Housing was located on the East Green, the West Green and the Main Green.

      Guys would determine where a girl lived before asking her for a date. If you lived at the bottom of the hill on the East Green, she’d have to be mighty special before you’d date someone on the West Green, especially in the winter.

      We didn’t have shuttles, either. You got around campus by hoofing it. I’m going to guess the majority of students didn’t have transportation other than shoe leather or the rare bicycle. I didn’t have a car until I started working for the local paper and needed to go further than walking distance.

  6. I used to go to band camp at SEMO. When I was in maybe the 6th grade (could have been 7th)Towers was pretty new and I got to stay there band camp week. Of course our music sessions were in the music building (with Mr. Mason, of course!) and we had to walk up Cardiac Hill to get there.

    There was a set of steps along there somewhere. On the way back to the dorm one day early in the week I got to going too fast down the stairs and fell. Oh my gosh, I don’t think childbirth hurt as bad as that! I hobbled the rest of the way to the dorm and went to bed. I didn’t tell a soul.

    I went into a fitful sleep and missed lunch. Sometime in the afternoon our floor mom, Mrs. Henry, came to check on me because I hadn’t shown up at the afternoon session. I was still in bed, about half delireous, and my knee was swollen as big as a grapefruit.

    She got me a cold washcloth to put on it. She looked very concerned. She told me to stay in bed for the rest of the afternoon. She didn’t call my mother or even my daddy, who actually worked at SE Missourian Litho and Printing and was only a few blocks away!

    I had problems with that knee for years (and will probably pay for it again as I get older)but I definately remember Cardiac Hill–and not fondly!

  7. That really is one of the most bucolic spots on campus, but it wasn’t until I looked in the dictionary that I realized it. You have some really great Picts of old campus buildings.

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