Today’s hike was called Devil’s Kitchen, named for the interesting rock formations that can be seen from the trail.
There are three distinct layers of rock that make up the cliffs of the Ozarks area. Dolomite is the bottom layer, it’s more impervious to rain. Above that is a thin layer of shale, and above that is limestone. Limestone is what you’re seeing here, it’s higher up on the hills so taking this walk did require a fair bit of climbing, but it was worth it. It gets worn down by the elements and it’s hardness is inconsistent. Some areas wear away faster than others, leaving caves and sinkholes in their wake. There were three caves on this route, one which was too small to climb into right at the boarder between the limestone, shale and dolomite and it had a small stream running out of it.
The other two were big enough to climb into, so I did. If you peek at the brochures available at the park office you’ll find there are several caves around here that you can pay to get tours of. They’re no doubt much bigger and prettier than these were, but hey, this was free.
“What’s the password?”
“You heard me lady, what’s the password?”
On the way back down to the trail head I found this turtle in the middle of the path. No idea why he was there or what he was up to, but he was indeed very much alive. Maybe he wanted to see the caves too? I gave him a wide berth, I know there are snapping turtles in this area and don’t know what they look like so I didn’t want to take any chances. He left me alone and continued on his way, apparently the password isn’t necessary on Saturdays.
9/30/12 – Sunday
Is there anything more relaxing than reading a book down by the river? I took my fold up chair down to the park today to read by the water. The park’s a nice little area, it has a shelter, several picnic tables and benches, a few charcoal grills scattered around, and a pretty impressive playground. A couple of the trees here are starting to change, I think if I would have been here two weeks later it would have been quite spectacular.
Fortunately, I packed my toe shoes and a sense of adventure. In the the river at one point was a bit of a sandbar covered in gravel, that looks like it’ll be a great place to read. I forded across with my toe shoes, which are fine to get wet, and set up my chair. Ahh, now this is more like it. A premium view of the river, and no having to fight over benches with other park-goers.
10/1/12 – Monday
After three great days at Roaring River I am sad to leave, but work beckons and I’m due in at Big Chief RV park tomorrow. Checkout for MO state parks is 2 pm, so that gives me plenty of time to get ready. Goodbye for now, I’d definitely like to come back to this area again sometime.
A couple of leisurely hours of driving later, I decide to stop at Joplin, MO. The city was struck by a big tornado last year, but is recovering. I haven’t seen this much construction going on in years, since the recession started. The Walmart I stay at is new, and it’s massive. In the customer service area there is a memorial on the wall for the people who lost their lives in the storm, I hope their families have found some peace.
The sun hovers on the horizon under a blanket of clouds, and makes for a beautiful sunset that my phone just can’t capture. There is a local frozen custard place nearby, Shake’s, and I treat myself before retiring. I’m sharing the parking lot with three other travel trailers tonight, sort of.
10/2/12 – Tuesday
I’m not exactly sure when I pass into Kansas, don’t remember seeing a sign but it must have happened shortly after leaving Joplin. Things seem drier out here, the burn ban at the MO state parks had been lifted before I arrived due to recent rain but it seems like the South Eastern corner of Kansas has not been so lucky.
Finding Big Chief was no problem at all, and true to their word online it is located nearly right across the frontage road from Amazon, well, kind of kitty-corner to it. In fact, I can see the Amazon sign from my windows.
The sun stands tall and warm and a strong breeze blows dust across the park as I check in. I choose a spot as close to the bath house as I can. I still prefer to use campground facilities where possible and once it starts getting below freezing having a short walk will be a good thing.
My first impressions of Big Chief? It’s…an RV park. Not someplace you go on vacation, but clean and serviceable. It was built within the past few years, so everything is pretty new. The sites are packed close together in a grid. Essentially everyone who stays here is working at one of the warehouses or plants in this little industrial park, so the more spaces to accommodate workers the more the owners make.
The pads are dirt and gravel but mostly level. I think if it rained a lot it would muddy, in fact I can see some ruts in my spot from where it has in the past. There is no shade, and your view is either your neighbors, the warehouses across the street, or Highway 169 in back. But I’m not here for a pretty view, I’m here to work. It’s only 12 weeks, and I’ll have fond memories of my journey here to keep my spirits up as the temperature drops.