HaHa Tonka State Park, Part 1

Today’s post deviates a bit from my typical posts. Last week, I spent a few days in south-central Missouri, at a very interesting place … HaHa Tonka State Park. This park is located in the Lake of the Ozarks region and is 3,679 acres in size. The park is a classic example of karst geology, characterized by numerous sinkholes, caves, springs and natural bridges. Some of the park’s trails lead up towering bluffs that overlook one of the numerous arms of the gigantic Lake of the Ozarks. This was my first visit to the park, but I guarantee it won’t be my last!

This first image was made high atop one of the trails that winds around the bluffs. This image was made by combining 5 different exposures (using Photoshop’s HDR feature) to help capture the wide lattitude of light found in this scene. This image was made late in the afternoon, shortly after entering the park. As you can see, the fall colors are evident in this photo. However, like most of Missouri, this area received a substantially high quantity of rain in the spring. This excess has caused many of the trees to be infected with a fungus; consequently, a lot of the leaves are not changing colors as they usually do, instead they are turning brown and dropping. Missouri Conservation agents note that this is a temporary condition and that most of the trees should rebound to a healthy state for next year. If you look closely, you can see a winding trail along the water’s edge, that leads to a large spring:

HaHa Tonka in fall colors

As we hiked along Castle Trail, we came upon this interesting old, dead tree with plenty of character, that seemed to shout out at us as we approached:

HaHa Tonka State Park

And another angle:

HaHa Tonka State Park

As you can see, this area contains a lot of beauty. In upcoming posts, I will feature some more images of this fun trip.

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