Thursday, July 28, 2016

Table Rock Lake - Day 6 - Thursday

Today is our last day, with a long trip home. We didn't have to check out of the cabin until 11am, but our goal was to be packed up and headed on the road by 10am. I think we actually hit the road around 9:30am, after one last picture! I hated to leave and I cherish every moment we get to spend together as friends! Thanks Steve & Patti for another awesome adventure - looking forward to many-many more!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Table Rock Lake - Day 5 - Wednesday

A new day was dawning and you could smell coffee, bacon and eggs cooking drawing the stragglers {steve} out of bed. Today we planned to kayak the opposite way we went yesterday, excited about exploring new territory on the lake!
We paddled quite a ways as the lake narrowed to a river.  We finally came to a bend in the river and decided to shore our kayaks, do some swimming and look for arrowheads! 

 Taking a break from padding to "cool" off in the not-so-cool water!

We were hoping to paddle to the bridge, however, the ice mule cooler got left back at the cabin with all our cold drinks and lunch, and we weren't sure how much further it was to the bridge. Everyone was thirsty and hungry {at least I was!}
The river was as still as glass when we decided to paddle back to the cabin. It was a good thing we decided to head back, as we could here thunder in the distance and skies were starting to look a little ominous!
After loading the kayaks back on the trailer, Patti and I walked, as the guys drove back to the cabin. We put the covers on the kayaks, cleaned up and headed to Roaring River State Park Lodge for dinner. The trout dinner was delicious! As we were heading out of the lodge, someone told us there was a double rainbow outside. We walked outside to a spectacular sight and I ran to the car to grab my camera to capture the full rainbow! If you look closely on the left side you will see a double rainbow!
We followed the rainbow almost all the way back to the cabin...it was beautiful! The sun went down and darkness arrived on our last night at the cabin. We have had such a wonderful week, and as usual, vacation passed much to quickly but the memories will last a lifetime!
As the evening skies cleared, we were treated with a beautiful galaxy of stars, as the Milky Way peeked thru the parting clouds.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Table Rock Lake - Day 4 - Tuesday

It really didn't matter how stifling hot it was, each morning began with at least 2 pots of Muletown coffee, my camera and a fantastic view!
The weather was perfect for a day on the lake kayaking and we were all anxious to hit the water!


The rock formations were just incredible to paddle around as you could see the depths of the rock deep down into the clear water!
Our cabin can be seen from this photo and if you look closely, the 3 kayakers near the wall of rock are Scott, Steve and Patti. I paddled across to the other shore where I spotted this Great Blue Heron in a tree up above! He was none too happy that I was in his territory!
After several hours on the water, we paddled back to the boat launch, where we talked to a couple we had acquainted with when we launched earlier. They told us that going the opposite way from the launch would make for a great kayaking excursion for us, as the lake narrows to a river and if you go far enough you will come to a bridge, so we were excited about exploring that way tomorrow! 
We loaded up the kayaks and drove the 1/8th mile trek back to up our cabin. We decided to do some more exploring and located Roaring River State Park. We located some of the several campgrounds and streams where people were trout fishing, then came upon a huge fish hatchery! It was the coolest thing ever to see!
There is a large cave with spring-fed water that was so cool to see the trout swimming about! The limestone made the color of the water such a beautiful shade of jade!



Walkway to the spring-fed cave
 I convinced Scott, Steve and Patti to take a short hike up to the top of the cave, even tho Patti said she was in flip flops not made for hiking! Pfft! C'mon, I promise it will be worth it!
 The view of the hatchery from up top was well worth the hot hike up and comments from the others that it better be worth it!
Overlooking the Fish Hatchery
Mountain View
Fish Hatchery where trout are released into the river
We were all so surprised that this area was so rich in trout fishing. It's obviously one of the biggest sports in the area! We left the hatchery, did a little more exploring around the park and found a lodge where we decided that tomorrow night we would eat our last dinner at. Trout was on the menu and it after seeing all the fish at the hatchery, it had our mouths watering for a trout dinner!
Back at the cabin, we had another spectacular sunset to end a very fun and full day!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Table Rock Lake - Day 3 - Monday

Monday morning we woke to ominous skies. We figured it wasn't going to be a kayaking day, so that means it's an exploring day! We decided we would go to Branson and see what we could explore along the way! By the time we got ready to leave, it was raining pretty steady.
We didn't get too far when we came across signs for Dogwood Canyon Nature Park and we decided to check it out! The rain had stopped and skies were trying to clear. Driving into the park was beautiful and even more beautiful once we made it to the parking lot!
We went up to the Ranger Station to get some information. After checking out prices of admission and tours, we decided to sign up for a Tram-Tour of the park, which is a 2 hour ride thru getting us access to the entire park. We had a little time before our tour, so we did a little exploring on foot, visited the gift shop, then went back to the car to eat some snacks.
The ride thru the park was well worth it! Click on the image below to access a slideshow of images from our visit to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. Use your back button to return to the blog after viewing photos.
After leaving the park, we continued on to Branson where we did a little bit of shopping, then made a stop at Big Cedar Lodge. On the drive in to the lodge, we stopped at a lookout of as the sun was beginning to set! What a spectacular view of Table Rock Lake at sunset!
I didn't take a ton of pics because it was getting dark, but this place was amazing!! There is an adorable little white church that sits in the middle of the Lodge grounds and I was able to capture the sunset sky in the windows of the church. These windows are where the alter of the inside of the church is - from the inside of the church you can view Table Rock Lake, however the church was locked so we were not able to go inside, but we could peek in the windows.

Front of church with circular fountain



We had a great day of exploring and the weather tomorrow looks like a perfect day for kayaking!






Sunday, July 24, 2016

Table Rock Lake - Day 2 - Sunday

Rise and shine and grabbing a quick breakfast from the hotel, we were ready to head to Springfield, MO to the largest Bass Pro Shop in the world. It took longer to get there than we anticipated and it's location was in a busy part of town, however we were amazed at the massive size!
This place is bigger than entire Malls! There are three levels, with a restaurant on the uppermost level. It was really quite over-whelming! I didn't take too many pictures inside due to the fact that pictures just will never give the full perspective of the enormous size!


We spent a couple hours shopping, then decided we needed to get back on the road for the cabin, which was another hour south of our location. We made one last stop at Wal-mart to get groceries, then made our way to the cabin, making a few route mistakes before finally arriving!
The view from the cabin was just breath-taking, as it has a walk-around deck with a spectacular view of Table Rock Lake!
We unpacked and unloaded our groceries and got settled in, excited about the next few days! Heat index was 109, just too hot to unload kayaks and get on the water. We decided to drive around and check out the area, locating the boat launch and a nearby Marina.
We got back to the cabin and relaxed for the rest of the evening as we watched the sun fall into to a gorgeous sunset.
Before bed, I took a walk out on the deck to see a spectacular light show from the starry skies and milky way reaching to the horizon and the reflections of light on the lake! Oh so peaceful! Needless to say, it was hard closing my eyes to sleep from my loft bed with this amazing view!




Saturday, July 23, 2016

Table Rock Lake Trip - Day 1 - Saturday

This year's annual Anderson/Brown trip takes us to Table Rock Lake in Missouri. We loaded the kayaks and headed out on our journey. 


Our first stop was meeting up in Sikeston, MO, where we incredibly arrived just minutes apart with us traveling from TN and Brown's traveling from MS. Patti found us a nice hotel right off the interstate and we spent the evening catching up on each others lives and talked about our trip plans for the coming days.

Monday, August 24, 2015

"Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time."

The landscape, nature and wildlife of Yellowstone and the Grand Teton Mountain National Parks is nothing short of spectacular. It is nearly impossible to reproduce in photography what you can see with the naked eye. We hiked trails and we climbed mountains. We traveled thru forests, plateaus, and valleys. We crossed rivers, lakes and streams.  We saw gorgeous landscapes, nature and wildlife that you just don't see on any ordinary day! This trip was anything but ordinary, it was extraordinary! It went way beyond my expectations!
...and once again I say, only God could create such beauty!
I took so many pictures! It was hard not to when there is breath-taking beauty everywhere you look! I'm so thankful that the rest of my crew put up with me every time I said "Stop! You just gotta turn around so I can take a pic"! or "Pull over, pull over, pull over! I gotta get a shot"!
I've processed pictures since Day 1 of our trip and I think I might never get done! I tried to pick out the ones that really represent everything we saw in the short time we were there. I am convinced that you could spend a month in these parks and still not see everything! If you have never been there, I hope that my photo albums will pique your interest in planning a trip out West! My photo albums can be accessed HERE!
"Take nothing but pictures. 
Leave nothing but footprints. 
Kill nothing but time."