Ha Ha Tonka State Park Safari



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CSA explores Natural Bridge
One of Several Large Sink Holes and Glades

Ha Ha Tonka is Typical of Missouri's famous Karst Topography. Here intrepid CSA explorers visit a Natural Bridge. Those on the far side are in a glade, in a large sink hole formed when the rest of the cave collapsed, leaving only the "Natural Bridge"

Participants Gather at Camp CUMCITO

Friday Night (City Union Mission Camp in the Ozarks)

The Ha Ha Tonka Safari starts Friday evening at Camp CUMCITO (City Union Mission Camp In The Ozarks) near Warsaw, Mo. Typical agenda Friday evening allows for late arrival of guests. Get acquainted, setup camp, campfire, sing along, SMORES.


Saturday typical agenda: Brief introduction to Karst, travel to Ha Ha Tonka State Park.

Seminar on the Origin of Caves

Classical Karst consists of Caves, Underground Rivers, Sink Holes, Springs, Natural Bridges and porous rock. It is all found in the small area of Ha Ha Tonka State Park, in abundance. But how did it all form? We will learn that most of it formed in the very short space of a few hundred years, and even cave decorations (stalactites, etc.), in spite of the slow rates frequently observed today, could have all formed in less than a hundred years.

The Turkey Pen Trail

Exploring the Turkey Pen Trail we see a natural savannah and gradually enter the Karst area. We also view the beautiful wildflowers among the trees that make this one of the few remaining natural savannahs.


Natural wildfires are required to maintain a savannah.

The "Devil's Kitchen" a small sinkhole

The kids are always the first to find, and the leading explorers of, The Devil's Kitchen, a small sinkhole. Here, a few of them explore one side of the hole, which, as you can see, has access from the top. Less obvious is the fact that the cameraman is standing in the original cave passage below the kids. Even less obvious is that this small sinkhole was part of an enormous room in a vast cave. The ceiling of the cave was about 60 feet above the cameraman.


Just outside the "Devil's Kitchen" we'll all walk through the larger sinkhole, equal to several football stadiums. We'll rest along one of the former walls of the cave, a site used by Indians as a temporary shelter. And we'll notice a striking difference in the ecology of the sinkhole than that of the Ozark hills around it.

Some of the Safari Group Take a Break While Traversing the "Devil's Promenade"

The Devil's Promenade

You may have noticed that, according to the wisdom of our public servants, the devil owns most of the planet. (Actually, Hindu gods own Grand Canyon)


("Many are the afflictions of the righteous" Psalm 34:19)


As you make this walk you will also notice that this immense sinkhole (as well as the other large ones) has become a beautiful glade, with an ecology much different than the Ozarks around it.

Ha Ha Tonka Spring

The major spring at Ha Ha Tonka forms a small river that once powered a sizeable mill. Some of the kids are shown here enjoying the spring. Behind the camera the rest of the folks are exploring the large hill formed from the ceiling of a large collapsed cave. The "room" some of the kids are standing in was over 100 feet high. Atop the bluff in front of them is the 60-room Ha Ha Tonka Castle, built by a Kansas City man who was killed in the first fatal automobile accident in Kansas City.



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Thursday - 05/23/2024