Saturday, September 10, 2005

Twin Bridges State Park, OK to Lake of the Ozarks State Park, MO

number of bats encountered: 1. number of minutes spent building our first campfire: approx. 60; number of minutes spent enjoying our first campfire: 30; number of times I stalled out while practicing driving stick shift in the campground loop: 3; number of minutes I drove during the Test Drive: 20; number of leftover logs we stored in the car for the rest of the trip but never used: 1.

Lake of the Ozarks is really, really beautiful and I wish we could have spent more time there. It was a short drive from Twin Bridges, so we arrived in the early afternoon. This left enough time to take a tour of the Ozark Cavern, which I highly suggest. I'd never been in a cavern before and this was a good one to start out with. A few tidbits from the tour: Ozark Cavern contains a unique natural phenomenon: Angel Falls. Water drips out from the ceiling of the cavern and drips down to the bottom. Over the years minerals in the water have built up and created Angel Falls, which looks a little like a shower head dripping into a basin. Rock formations like Angel Falls are very rare--there are, I think, 14 known formations around the world and only 4 in North America. Most of the cavern looks like Angel Falls--mineral deposits that appear soft and silky and curve into little spouts all over the place. Another cool aspect of Ozark Cavern is the fact that it has been used and explored for so long that there are still remnants from early spelunkers. In the 19th century, a man crawled through the cavern (using most likely a candle or flame lantern) and actually signed his name on one of the cavern walls. He's not alone--many others have also left a signature, but his is the oldest. What's more, you can still see it on the cave wall. As water dripped over his signature, it created veil of mineral deposit that is still so thin that it is translucent and you can read what he wrote. Wish I had a picture of that, but at this point in the tour the guide made us all turn out our lanterns so that the cave was completely dark. I pretty much forgot about the photo op at that point.

Bonus: it was at the Lake of the Ozarks that we noticed the air conditioner started spitting frigid cold water onto my feet every time J! made a left turn and onto his feet every time he made a right turn. J!'s father seemed unconcerned: when called about the problem he simply advised his son to avoid turning right.

Old Testaments--New Prices!


J! gets ready to spelunk.


Angel Falls



Lake of the Ozarks, MO


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