Four days off to explore!
Sunday evening after work I drove up to Lover's leap that overlooks the Mississippi.
My hope was that I could visualize taking sunrise pictures over the Mississippi river. But, as you can see, my sunset is running parallel with river. From this view you can see how much flooding Hannibal has taken from the flood waters. The levee did hold but a lot of water still filtered through.
I was asked to work in the afternoon to cover the department, so I kept my sightseeing to the Hannibal area. I did the menial tasks at home...laundry. Then set my sites on the riverview park in town. A great place to walk, jog, picnic or walk the dog.
I know I sound repetitive, but I couldn't do the lower trail due to the high river.
It was a nice relaxing day. OH, and the mosquitos were not near as bad here.
Hit the road!! Time to see some state parks. Charlie and I actually made it to 4 state parks today. Our first stop was to Elephant Rock State Park. If you get the chance, it was worth the visit. Perfect size to walk and let the kids explore and climb on these granite boulders.
On to the next park. The drive was less than 20 miles from Elephant Rock. I was super excited to see this park. The rocks have formed to make nature's water slides. It is called Johnson's shut in state park. We got to this park early afternoon when it was the warmest. Lot's of people heading to the water. I, unfortunately, would not be one of them. This park has a NO dog policy. Even the trail that goes around the perimeter says no dogs allowed. It was too hot to leave Charlie in the car. I really wanted to just take a quick hike down to the water to get a glimpse, but I didn't want my spoiled pup to get too overheat.
Next...41 miles to next state park. We went to hike the tallest peak of Missouri. Welcome to Taum Sauk State Park.
This was a 3 mile hike that was rocky with small elevation changes. Waterfall only a trickle. Small tide pools were visible. Waterfall best experienced after good rain storm. The trail head recommended 3 hours to do this trail, but we completed it in about half the time. It does connect with the Ozark trail if you wish to do some backpacking. There were no other trails recommended for this park, so onto another!
We ended our day in Hawn State Park. This park has a number of trails but I didn't do my research before entering park. Most of the trails average 6 miles and it was well past 5 p.m. It was a nice park with a cute campground that when I return I will have my camping gear to spend a night there.
My intentions were to get a hotel room and do a second day of hiking but finding a hotel with good reviews that takes pets is not promising. Again, another reason to have my camping gear in the car. The drive home was a 2 1/2 hour drive. Made it home around 10 p.m. Long fun day.
Let's just admit it now, I did not get out of bed before 7. I decided it was rainy and not worth taking another long trip to the southern part of Missouri. Hannibal it is! Charlie did not complain to be left at the rv. I think the warm weather and hiking is wearing him out. lol
I highly recommend both of these caves. The guides are well educated and entertaining as they wind us through the different passages. I can so see how easy it would be to get lost in the caves. Our guide would take us to a dead end and then I thought we were returning by the same passage...nope totally different path.
Mark twain cave has been visited by tourists since before Mark Twain. It even was a hideout for Jesse James and his outlaws.
I took so many pictures, here are a few...
Landmarks were used as guides in the caves. Many given names for the rock formations. Examples: Alligator...obvious the rock looked like an alligator. Post office. A small cubby with window. This area was used to document the children exploring the cave. They would write their name on chalk board and cross it off as they left cave. Any names not crossed off, search parties were organized. The parlor. This was an area that the town would hold meetings if the weather was too warm. The caves keep a steady temperature of 57 degrees year round.
The tour was an hour long and if you can walk, you can do it. There are no steep inclines or narrow passages. Again, highly recommend.
The Cameron cave is a cave that was not discovered until 1925 and therefore has not been marred by human hands. They have kept this cave in its natural form. No lights, no autographing walls or touching.
This cave got me all twisted around. I would have been lost in less than 15 minutes. Flashlights were handed out and this was the only illumination given. Once in the cave the pure darkness is eerie.
You can tell by my pictures the difference in lighting from the Mark Twain cave to the flashlights in the Cameron cave. AND, did you see my last picture...a snake on our path back to parking lot. Is it a copperhead? That's my guess, but I don't know for sure.
My last day off before my weekend shifts begin again. Time to take a car ride to another state park. Charlie and I drove to Castlewood State Park with is about an 1 1/2 hour drive. Its located west of St Louis on the Meramec River.
This is a beautiful park that boasts picnic areas, hiking and biking trails. Dog friendly too!
Our trail should have been 3 miles but once we were down by the Meramec river the trail was under water. Still hiked about 3 miles by backtracking and detouring to a different trail. Weather was great with a small breeze and mosquitos were kept at bay. I still got bit, but not near as bad as my first hiking day at the Cuivre River park.
Charlie got his workout and says he is ready for a few days of rest.
Until next weeks adventure. Rain is in the forecast so my adventure may be painting the walls in my trailer.