This year Bill and I celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. September was a busy month full of events, weddings and other going ons, so we planned to schedule a little weekend getaway in October to celebrate. Well, life got in the way again and soon it was mid-October with nothing planned.
After much searching, I found what seemed to be the perfect location for our trip: Koinania Lakeside Cabin near the Mark Twain National Forest. The cabin was quaint, near lots of hiking and outdoors activities, accepted dogs, and without Internet or cell reception. We booked the first available weekend, which just so happened to be over Halloween.
Only about two hours from St. Louis, we drove to the cabin Friday night, arriving around 8 pm. After checking in and getting settled, we read in bed like an old couple until we retired for the evening. When we woke the next morning, the dark and unknown area around us transformed into a beautiful scenic view of a lake and the Ozark Mountains by day. Everywhere we looked there were trees changing colors and leaves falling. Despite a little cold weather, it was perfect.
After making cinnamon rolls for breakfast in our cabin, we spent Saturday exploring the Ozark Mountains. First, we hiked a section of the Ozark Trail, a somewhat strenuous but definitely rocky wooded trail that at points tested this pregnant girl’s stamina.
We finished about 7 miles before returning for lunch at the cabin. After a little lounging around, we headed back out in search of another hike for the afternoon. We were in search of Taum Sauk Mountain, Missouri’s highest point at a meager 1,772 feet. Given we were doing all of our navigating sans phone or GPS, we ended up getting a little lost as we followed signs for Taum Sauk Lake expecting to end up at the mountain. Thanks to some friendly fellow hikers, we eventually found our way to the Mountain.
Interestingly, it was only a few hundred feet walk from the parking lot to the official designated highest point. And all of it was flat. Once we stop for a photo op, however, we continued on for a three mile hike past Missouri’s highest waterfall that, despite being relatively dry, was a sight to see.
After more than 10 miles (and 91 flights of stairs in elevation, claims my Fitbit), we headed back to the cabin for dinner on the grill and some tasty dark chocolate s’mores!
After another night of rest, Sunday turned into the most beautiful day of the weekend. After breakfast, we sat by the lake enjoying the sun on our faces while Slider enjoyed getting to meet the ranch’s cats and dogs.
Just after lunch (and several games of cards), we packed up our things and said goodbye to our home away from home.
On the way back to St. Louis, we stopped at Elephant Rocks State Park, a rather touristy, but fascinating park filled with massive granite boulders. The views were stunning and the weather even more so.
Finally, we hit the road heading back home and back to the real world. After about 48 hours disconnected from the world, I feel relaxed, filled with love and 100 percent exhausted.