2013 Trip Eight, Oct. 26, The Ozarks

Sunrise Beach, MO Oct 26

Morning view of Oct. 26

Morning view of Oct. 26

This was just a gorgeous fall day. Sunny skies. Temperatures in the 50s and 60s. The fall leaf colors are still muted. They are changing but it does not appear this fall will be a glorious leaf color year.

Cliffs of Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Cliffs of Ha Ha Tonka State Park

We spent most of the day at a Missouri State Park called Ha Ha Tonka. The name stands for laughing waters. This park has a natural bridge, a 500 foot long and 300 foot wide sinkhole, lake side cliffs of 250 feet, and a spring discharging 48,000,000 gallons of water per day. We hiked by, around, up, down, and over all the above.

Boulder Ridge trail

Boulder Ridge trail

The Spring-source of 48,000,000 gallons of water

The Spring-source of 48,000,000 gallons of water

Along the Island Trail

Along the Island Trail

We stumbled and bumbled along Boulder Ridge Trail. Aptly named, the uneven trail is full of stones, boulders, and exposed tree roots. The Island Trail circled a small island and passed by a rock neatly balanced on one edge. The Spring Trail took us to the visible source of the 48 million gallon discharge of clear, fast flowing water. The Colosseum (their spelling) Trail took us down into the center of the sinkhole and then up and around the surrounding bluffs.

Castle ruins

Castle ruins


Castle ruins

Castle ruins


Oh, and the castle ruins. A wealthy Kansas City man acquired 5000 acres and began construction of a castle like home. His death in 1905, one of the state’s first automobile deaths, delayed the completion of the home by his sons until the 1920s. Unfortunately, a fire in 1942 destroyed the interior of the building, leaving only the stone walls standing. We hiked around the castle ruins, by the water tower and carriage house, both gutted also.

Mothers' Shrine

Mothers’ Shrine

Before church we visited the Mother’s Shrine, an outdoor amphitheater established by the local Catholic Church to seat 6,000 people for Mass during the summer months. They have erected a statue, fountains, and plaques honoring all mothers. It did not take long to see but since it was attached to the church, we made the effort to visit it.

We had asked a woman greeting people at church for dinner recommendations. We took her advice and went to the “Chances R” restaurant. It had all the ambience of a VFW hall, complete with a bar area that allowed smoking and the same level of high quality furniture. But the food was great and the prices very reasonable. Judging by the banter between the customers and the servers, all of the locals go here. One of the beverage options was buttermilk, my Dad would have loved it. We did not see a wine list, sorry Kathy.

So, a full day. Tomorrow is forecast to be equally pleasant.

Ha Ha Tonka bluffs with castle ruins at very top

Ha Ha Tonka bluffs with castle ruins at very top


View during hike

View during hike

Ed and Chris Oct 26 9:30 pm

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