Mid-MO Autumn 2017
I probably complain too much about the autumn colors in Missouri. Maple this. Maple that. Where are the maples? What can I say? Western New York spoiled me with its colorful autumns. Even so, I’ve managed to get some pretty nice photos here. In fact, one of my favorites, a local bluff, is a 30 inch canvas print on the wall of my wife’s office.
I went to that bluff yesterday to try a different angle – actually another exposed rock face in that series of bluffs. This was not expected to be a colorful autumn, so I was surprised to find some nice, if not as brilliant, colors.
Another place I’ve place I’ve relied on for nice outdoor photos is Ha Ha Tonka State Park. The park is located at the end of one of the many arms of Lake of the Ozarks. It has many karst formations, including a natural bridge. The gem that seems to draw the most visitors is The Castle, which sits high atop a bluff, above the lake. A wealthy Kansas City businessman starting building his 60 room “European-style castle” in 1905, only to die a year later in one of the state’s first auto accidents. His sons finished it – less elaborately – in 1922. Later, it was leased out as a hotel, and sparks from a chimney burned it to a shell, also gutting a large carriage house. A stone water tower, 1000 feet away, survived, but was gutted when burned by vandals in 1976. The land has been a state park since 1978.
The ruins of the castle and water tower, as well as the many trails at Ha Ha Tonka, offer great photo opportunities. On Wednesday, I spent 3 1/2 hours hiking 4 miles from bluff-top to lake and back while taking photos. While other years have offered better fall colors, I got some nice photos, and I had a beautiful day for hiking – sunny and 50 degrees.
It was a day well spent.