Skip to main content

Tour of Missouri: Ha Ha Tonka State Park

It took forever but I believe that spring has finally sprung in my part of the world.
Warmer weather means we finally get to crawl out of our cocoons and start exploring once again.

My family and I have set out to explore parts of our great state that we never have visited before. We are turning to our own state parks and other natural resources for entertainment. It is our summer goal to earn a Missouri Camper Award, bike The Katy Trail, and complete the 100 Missouri Miles campaign.

To be eligible for the Missouri Camper Award you have to camp at five different state parks in one year. We currently have four of the five trips lined up. The Katy Trail is a 237.7 mile path from Clinton, Missouri to St. Charles, Missouri. It is a former railroad trail that has since been converted to biking/hiking path. From what I gather, it has amazing views that are only visible from the path. Finally, the 100 Missouri Miles campaign just started it's second year.  Missouri was the winner of the 2013 Best Trails State Award by American Trails. To celebrate the Governor challenged us all to log 100 Missouri Miles. I blogged about it here.

Our first stop on our tour of Missouri was Ha Ha Tonka State Park located in Camdenton, Missouri. There is no camping at Ha Ha Tonka but it is a wonderful place to hike and explore. Nineteen caves have been recorded so far in Ha Ha Tonka State Park. We also experienced sinkholes, caves, underground streams, large springs, and natural bridges. There is also the remains of an abandoned castle in the state park.

We hiked about 5 miles this day. I had to carry The Short Chic on my back for a large portion of those. Why must children learn the hard way? She insisted on wearing new high top shoes with low profile socks. The end results: blisters. {But, you already knew that,didn't you?}

The girls are standing in a sink hole. The sink hole formed a natural bridge, which you can walk under and over.

Robert Snyder began building a massive home in the Ozarks in the early 1900. Before he could complete his home, he died in one of Missouri's first automobile fatalities. His sons finished the home but it was destroyed by fire in 1946.

This building was the water house. It pumped water from the natural spring below to the mansion. It burned in 1976 by vandals. It's roof has been replaced but it now barred off from entry hopefully deterring any future vandalism to the property.

Snyder's former property sits high above the Lake of the Ozarks on a bluff. It is truly a beautiful site during any Missouri seasons.

The Short Chic and her BFF explore the stone skeleton remains of Synder's castle. The Short Chic and I spied our first sign of spring on our hike to the castle. We found crocus flowers in bloom. After a long persistent winter, we were most excited to see the little bright flowers!

After viewing the remains and a picnic lunch we took off to explore the island.  We found a large number of turtles in the lake as we crossed over to the island.   We hiked around the island and found a cave and the balanced rock. I have visited Ha Ha Tonka several times via boat and lake in the summer and with the dense green leaves, I have never seen either the castle remains or the island with balanced rock.

Below is one entrance to one of the caves at Ha Ha Tonka State Park. The entrance is sealed off from human visitors. However, bats still use the cave on a regular basis. I am thankful we were visiting in broad daylight and not at dusk. I do not want to face any of the thousand of bats that call this cave home!

 From prior visits to Ha Ha Tonka via boat, I know the water around this area is very cold. It feels rather refreshing on a hot summer day. The cold water is supplied by a natural underground spring. This is the very spring that the Snyder's used the water tower to pump water up to the mansion.

The water travels from the spring down a waterfall and ends up joining the Lake of the Ozarks. I let The Short Chic climb down to the water's edge to see how cold the water was. And guess what, she nearly fell in! {You knew that too, huh!}

The good news, by the time we reached the car-van after this portion of our hike, my Fitbit was vibrating as I had reached my 10,000 steps for the day!

Impression: This was a wonderful park to visit. The staff at the visitor center were super nice and we enjoyed visiting with them. The trails were mostly well worn foot paths or boardwalks. The trails on the island were not so level and were a bit tricky for a couple of six year olds. There are a lot of steps at this state park. You could have a very intense workout if you wanted to. However, if you were not up for all the step climbing, don't worry, you can also drive your car around to the next parking lot and skip most of the steps! Everything was pretty accessible with a short walk.

Number of Missouri Miles Completed: 5


Popular posts from this blog

My Weekend Project: A PVC Camping Lamp Post and Flag Holder

I have seen a few of these around campsites and I knew I would like to have one. The only problem that I had is The Husband.

He already thinks we drag too much stuff with us when we go camping and if I had told him my desire to have a PVC Camping Light Pole he would have shut it down quickly!

So, that leaves a girl with only one choice: Figure out how to do it by herself.

I did some internet searching and found a few road maps on RV forums. They seemed easy enough!

I visited the local hardware store for the supplies:

An exterior post lantern light2 inch PVC pipe (I used 5 feet but had to purchase a 10 foot piece)A 3 inch toilet flangeA 3 inch to 2 inch ReducerPVC GlueA 12 foot electric cord kit2 - 3/4 inch PVC Caps I also used a few supplies we already had on hand:

White Spray Paint

3 1/2 foot - 3/4 inch PVC PipeDrill Bits (1 inch and 1/2 inch)Tent Stakes

The first step was preparing the lantern light. I could only find black in the store and I knew I wanted all white. I covered the gla…

Camping Activity: Wood Chip Necklaces

My worry in taking a wide range of kids camping is that the younger kids would be happy just playing together but the older ones, the one's in that awkward pre-teen/teen age, would think everything was so uncool they would just sit around and mope. So I designed a few activities that would hopefully get them up, participating, and moving.

 I came home from work a few weeks before the Family Camp-out and found my neighbors had trimmed their tree limbs and piled the mess in my yard. I refrained from getting angry. Over a nice dinner, I asked The Husband to help me with a little project.

He looked at me in disgust. I was pulling him away from ESPN to help with an unnecessary camping craft.

 I admit I did some begging. In the end, The Husband borrowed his father's chainsaw and decided to help me cut medallions out of a limb.  His mood started changing, quickly.{I then begged him to let me try my hand at the chainsaw, but he would not let budge on that one. I had to settle for hol…

Hand Made Gifts: Tutu Ornaments

My  Short Chic is turning into a little dancer. To thank the dance teachers for their help, we decided to make them a little gift for Christmas. A tutu ornament.

Supplies needed:

Tulle. I selected black, white and hot pink. The pink and white both have glitter {I have been walking around for the past four days with glitter all over me!}. Glass Ornaments that coordinate with your tulle. Some kind of string {I used stretch magic}. And some super glue.

Step 1: Cut  the tulle. 

I learned, from trial and error, that my cell phone was roughly the right size. So, I used it as a template for cutting the tulle.  
Step 2: Tie the tulle to the string.

Using a simple slip knot, tie the tulle onto the string {or Stretch Magic}. I think I used about 40 loops per ornament.
Step 3:  Adhere it to the Ornament.
I do not have a photo of this step. But simply, you take some super glue and glue the tutu ring to the ornament. 
FINISHED!  Once the glue is dried, you are finished. {Well except the wrapping!} I …