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Tunnels and Caves

posted Oct 19, 2018, 4:11 PM by Justin P
Thursday, we made the short drive to Bennett Spring State Park.  There were a good number of people here, but they were all fishing.  Parking at the trailhead for Natural Tunnel Trail, there was no one else here so it would be a nice quiet hike.  Heading down the trail, it was a scenic stretch of woods along a mostly dry creek bed.  Like just about everywhere in Missouri, there were lots of rocky outcrops and small caves along the trail.  At one spot, there was a really huge tree.  In just over three miles, we came to the tunnel.  At almost 300 feet long and S-shaped, it was pretty dark in the middle.  The other side had some broken concrete slabs; not sure what they were for.  We explored the tunnel and got some pictures before making our way back.  Around half way back was a split and we made a partial loop to return to the parking area.  Before leaving the park, we stopped along the river to hike the short River Trail.  The other side of the river was crowded with people fishing, but it was just us over here.  The fish seemed to understand that fishing was prohibited on this side of the river as they seemed to be congregating on this side if the river.  It was about a half mile to the other end where we turned around.  We spotted a couple snakes on the hike back.  From here we drove north to Lake of the Ozarks to Bridal Cave, near Camdenton.  After paying admission, we started our tour with Sarah who was a really great guide.  One of the first sights was the Pipe Organ, a beautiful cluster of stalactites.  In the past, people would bang on them to echo throughout the cave, but this was damaging them so now prohibited.  Further on, we saw the Kissing Camels, a reference to Garden of the Gods.  The rocks weren't yet touching, but in a few centuries, they'll connect and complete the kiss.  Frozen Niagara was another gorgeous formation that resembled a frozen waterfall.  At the end of the cave, there was a deep pool down below.  We turned around here to finish the tour.  Before leaving, Sandy bought a salt lamp from the gift shop.  It was still too early to check in, so we headed to Marty Byrde's for dinner and drinks.  The bar is themed from the show Netflix show Ozark.  We started watching it since we were planning to come out here, so it was stop by.  Then we headed to the Garden House B&B to check in.  It was a beautiful place to stay, right on the lake.  In the evening, we went down to the dock to watch the beautiful sunset over the lake.
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