Our last day of vacation began at dawn to the sounds of birds chirping and Sophie yapping…ok, actually not the latter. David and I were the first awake and we actually were dressed and had our tent packed up and most of the car ready before the little sleeping beauties awoke.
But by 8am we were on our way to the Ozarks to go ride horses. I think this is the part the kids were most looking forward to and that David was most dreading. But, bless his heart, he agreed and ultimately, had a great time. The kids LOVED it, and of course now Sophie and Daphne both what riding lessons (as if they don’t have enough activities as it is!). I always enjoy being up on a horse (I even brought my boots JUST for that one event, much to David’s dismay), but somehow when your childhood memories include galloping bareback on your friend’s stallion, a slow trail ride just doesn’t quite compare. But the scenery was nice, and I enjoyed watching the girls (all THREE of them, even the 14 year old) smiling and chattering and having a good time. David somehow ended up toward the back of the pack, but he tells me he enjoyed it enough that he would do it again. Looks like horseback riding (and canoeing) just became a regular thing in our vacations – just like the caves! These things are getting easier and easier to plan.
For our final stop, we drove a short distance to Ha Ha Tonka State park, which means Laughing Spring in Osage. It’s a very interesting place, replete with beauty and historical interest. It is a fine showcase of Karst Geology as the entire area was formed from the collapse of a cave system. There is an underground spring that flows from the remnants of the cave system. The Spring is a constant 59ºF year round and feeds into the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. Additionally there are several other interesting natural occurences in rock – a natural bridge, a balanced rock, a sink basin, and tons of trails to hike and explore. There are also the ruins from an incredible castle, built in the early 1900s by a Kansas City businessman. It sadly burned down in the 40s, but the Limestone exterior walls still stand.
After a delightful and relaxing time at Ha Ha Tonka, it was sadly time to begin the final 3 1/2 hour trek back to Lawrence bringing our wonderful week of vacation to a close.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our travels. I’m already planning next year, which I think will be Texas (or the kids will mutiny), so if you have suggestions, I’m all ears!
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