Friday, July 6, 2012

Vacation Day 2 - Missouri State Parks Are HAWT

First, let me just say this:

I don't know if you can see what it says inside that little purple box down there at the lower left, but today's high where we are was 109°F (43°C).  Maybe it wasn't quite that hot officially, but it was hot by anyone's standards, even mine, and I get cold easily.  So, along with about 50 or so other crazy folks, we decided it would be a great day to climb around on huge granite boulders at Elephant Rocks State Park.  I swear it must have been at least 120°-125° on the rocks that were in direct sunlight. Not to mention we endured enjoyed a hike of about a mile.

Picnic hideaway.

Shane and Kat with Sage along for the hike.

Sage putting her new hiking outfit to the test.

This was one hot slab of granite.

Glad this one was in the shade.

Shane, who somehow ended up carrying the doll.

I have no idea who these people are.

Really big rock.  There was a breeze up there, so we sat in the shade, where it was a brisk 90° or so.

After we saw the elephants, we decided it was time for lunch.  We found Baylee Jo's Barbecue, and found it tasty.  I had a Reuben sandwich with a twist -- the corned beef was also smoked.  Shane had a barbecued pork sandwich (better than the one from the night before), and Kat had another fish sandwich with fries (this time it was catfish).

Our next stop was Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, which is the highest point in Missouri.  From here, you can see the beautiful St. Francois Mountain range of the Missouri Ozarks for as far as 15 miles or so.  Some don't agree, but I'll take a tree-covered Ozark Mountain over a Rocky Mountain any ol' day.

Uh-oh.  Where's Sage?  She's still at Baylee Jo's.  Time for a quick rescue mission.

Then it was off to Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, the best part of our day.  Sage had to stay in the truck, but the rest of us spent a couple of late afternoon hours beating the heat in this natural water park.  Water depths ranged from barely there to 40 or more feet deep!  The water was very comfortable to me, ranging from slightly cool and refreshing to slightly warm and relaxing, and it wasn't always the deepest water that was coolest.  There was some natural "seating" among rapids that felt better than any hot tub or spa I've been in.  It's a great place to play, and if we lived in this area, we'd visit this park often.

Kat making her way to the water.

Nice shot of the back of my head.

That's me.  I think.

Yep, that's me.

Waving at, and waiting for, Shane.

Sorry there aren't more pictures of us in the water, but we gave up right away on the idea that we could keep the camera dry.

It was nearly 9:00 by the time we made it back to camp and we're all tuckered out, so supper was just whatever snacks were at hand.  Tomorrow, though, promises to be more low-key.
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