Ha Ha Tonka and Bennett Springs

I spent the weekend at Ha Ha Tonka and Bennett Springs State Parks with 2 others from the KC Adventure Club.

We arrived at Ha Ha Tonka Friday afternoon and backpacked our stuff in about a half mile along Turkey Pen Hollow trail before finding a suitable camping spot.  After setting-up base camp we hiked the rest of the trail and decided we chose a pretty good site.  Much of the area is too steep, rocky, or heavily vegetated for camping though that makes for some great scenery.

A guest stopped by to grab a bite to eat.

Sunset at the glade on Turkey Pen Hollow.

Saturday we hiked the Devil’s Kitchen, Spring, Boulder Ridge, Island, Dell Rim, Quarry, and Colosseum trails.  Along the way we saw the Devil’s Kitchen formation, Balanced Rock, the spring, the castle and associated stuff, and the natural bridge.

A big overhang along Devil's Kitchen trail.

The Boulder Ridge trail was littered with, uh, boulders.

Here's where the spring emerges from underground

A view of the castle ruins from where the Spring and Colosseum trails split

Looking under and through the natural bridge. I played with brightness/contrast/gamma settings to bring out detail at the expense of naturalness.

At the other end of the natural bridge, looking back toward "The Colosseum". This is a favorite pic at full resolution - the lighting gives it an other-worldly look.

Sunday we packed-up, hiked the short loop of the Dolomite Trail to see River Cave, then headed to Bennett Springs to hike the Natural Tunnel trail.  The tunnel was neat but the trail wasn’t very interesting.

The mouth of the natural tunnel, with a creek flowing from it.

Inside the mouth of the tunnel, looking toward the other end.

About halfway into the tunnel, looking back out the mouth.

The other end is the mouth so this must be the sphincter. There's lots of broken concrete here from an idiotic attempt to close-off the tunnel and create a lake many years ago.

We racked up 25-27 miles on foot for the weekend and got tick-bombed at least twice each.

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About Michael R

I enjoy hiking, landscaping with native plants, nature photography, dark chocolate, fine dining, good movies, and old jazz.
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