Lake of the Ozarks State Park

Lake of the Ozarks State Park

As I work my way through the State Park System, I find myself having to travel further from home to visit new areas. It is hard to make day trips to some of the parks when I have to drive three plus hours. The best part of the day is spent driving, and I have a hard time enjoying the experience because how long it will take to drive home is always in the back of my mind. 

One of the parks that falls within this category is the Lake of the Ozarks State Park. You may be familiar with the area if you have watched Netflix’s show *Ozark*. I can’t comment on the accuracy of the show, but I can state for a fact that it is an incredible area. 

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Sam A. Baker State Park

Sam A. Baker State Park

The St. Francis Mountains are an ancient range rising from the Ozark plateau. Millions of years of erosion carved away at the volcanic rock creating the many valleys, bluffs, and shut-ins that can be found there today. The land is a beautiful rugged wilderness: hiking through these mountains can feel like you are going back to a time before humans. Sam A. Baker State Park perfectly captures the essence of this area.

At the heart of the park is Mudlick Mountain, one of the significant domes within the St. Francis Mountains. The mountain is surrounded by the largest wilderness preserve in the Missouri state park system. The park features an extensive network of trails that allow visitors to experience the untouched beauty of the Precambrian mountains. There are also many options for backcountry camping, including three shelters built in 1930 by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

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Tennessee Part III: Climbing Mount LeConte

Tennessee Part III: Climbing Mount LeConte

For our fifth and final day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park we wanted to climb Mount LeConte, the third tallest peak in the park. We woke up before sunrise to a silent campground, stars still shining in the sky. We rolled up our sleeping pads and tent, and heated water for coffee and a warm breakfast of hikers granola. The sun was just starting to rise as we began the long drive across the park back to Trillium Gap Trailhead.

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Tennessee part I: Camp GRITS and Hen Wallow Falls

Tennessee part I: Camp GRITS  and Hen Wallow Falls

Welcome to my new travel blog! I am excited to begin sharing more stories from my trips than I am able to on Instagram and Facebook. 

Earlier this year my wife and I began planning a vacation to Tennessee. We initially made plans to visit Knoxville because it looked like a vibrant city, and it was close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After listing out everything we wanted to do, we realized that we could easily spend all of our time at the National Park. We decided to split the difference and spend four days in the park and three days in Knoxville. 

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