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Ha Ha Tonka

posted Oct 19, 2018, 4:12 PM by Justin P   [ updated Oct 19, 2018, 4:12 PM ]

Friday, Lil made us a delicious breakfast and we chatted with her for a while before taking off.  We drove to Ha Ha Tonka State Park and parked at the trailhead for Devils Kitchen.  It was lightly drizzling at this point but not too hard.  We shortly came to the Devils Kitchen another interesting cave.  It was part of the bigger Devils Promenade that the trail followed for a ways.  We came out to the road near the old post office and crossed the street, heading down to lake level.  A bridge crossed the shallow lake arm and we hiked the Island Trail.  The trail initially went up to the center of the Island at Balancing Rock.  Past here it descended down towards the lake again where the water was a beautiful turquoise color.  The trail looped around the Island then we crossed back to the mainland and headed to the Ha Ha Tonka spring.  The water came out of a cave and flowed into the lake, the source of the lovely turquoise water.  From here, we had to climb up a tall staircase up to the rim and then headed to the park's signature attraction - Ha Ha Tonka castle.  Built in the early 20th century, it had been destroyed by a fire and all that was left was the ruins.  But it was still really cool and seemed like it belonged in Europe, not Missouri.  Near here was a stone water tower, which also had been destroyed by a fire.  It was just a short walk back to the car, but first we got on the Colloseum Trail and hiked under the natural bridge.  There sure are a lot of cool geological features in this part of Missouri.  The Colloseum was a wide bowl of steep rock walls that the trail led around.  Finishing up the loop, we hiked back to the car and departed.  Driving north we stopped for lunch at New China and then continued to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park near Columbia.  The short Devils Icebox Trail led first to the bridge.  The creek made an impressive cave through the mountain and we climbed down to go under the bridge.  It's big enough that it was pretty dark in the middle.  Where the creek flowed in, there was a small waterfall right in the cave.  Continuing on, we climbed down to the entrance of Devils Icebox and Connors Cave.  Although visitors are allowed in the cave, we didn't have the right gear.  And with the light rain, the water level was up and would have been dangerous to go far.  But it was a really cool area.  Before leaving, we hiked the Sinkholes Trail.  From here, we headed back towards Kansas City and checked in to the Hilton Garden Inn at Independence.  For dinner, we had BBQ at Jazzy B's and then started packing for tomorrow's flight.