Monday, November 12, 2007
Not far from the castle (see post below) at Ha Ha Tonka Park is a natural bridge. It seemed more than a little spooky to me. I couldn't help but wonder how many crimes have been committed in the shadows below. The park is located near Camdenton, in the heart of Missouri's spectacular karst. There are lots of caves, cliffs, and sinkholes. The name of the park allegedly means "laughing water" in Osage, but I'm suspicious -- having studied more than a few Native American words, I'd guess that it means something closer to "sacred waters." Or not. The photo below is a tighter shot, showing the arch, which is quite large -- large enough, in fact, for several adults to stand beneath with plenty of headroom. You could even get horses in there. A great place to hide and a terrific setting for a story.
Okay, this is one of the weirdest things I've encountered in a spell. I went trout fishing at Bennett Spring (catch and release only this time of year) over the weekend and, since I was close, took a side trip to Ha Ha Tonka State Park. On the top of the highest mountain are the ruins of a castle built by a Kansas City businessman named Snyder in 1905. Snyder died in an automobile accident in 1906 (yes, one of the first car accidents in Missouri) and the castle operated as a hotel until it burned in 1942. What's left is surreal. The Roms (the Romantics) would have loved it. The ruins would be a terrific place for a Shakespeare festival. I can easily imagine Hamlet performed below.