I didn't really know what to expect in Branson - I must have seen something a long time ago that showed a "strip" ... that is what I had in my head anyway - I thought it would be like Vegas! With a strip that you could walk along and touristy things to do. It isn't like that. We got there at about 8:00 AM and nothing opens until 10:00! Not being what I had expected, and not wanting to wait around 2 hours to try to find something to do we decided to go on out to Table Rock Lake.
I had been to Table Rock several times when I was MUCH younger and wanted to see if it was like I remembered. We went to the state park entrance and drove through. It is a beautiful place and we put it on our bucket list of places to stay at later!
We continued on down the road and saw a sign for Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. We didn't have anything else to do so we decided to go check it out. Boy were we ever glad we did!
It was still raining while we were there, but we checked out the visitor center and looked around a little and decided we would certainly come back again.
That is just what we did! Wednesday we slept in, but headed toward Dogwood Canyon about 8:00 AM. This is a GREAT area for hiking. There is a paved trail, it is fairly flat. This park has a TON of activities available - horseback riding, bicycles, fishing as well as hiking through the canyon. Right around the first bend we saw our first waterfall.
We continued down the trail and came to this beautiful handmade covered bridge.
I loved the way the look changed as I got closer...
Finally a view of the inside.
One of the main attractions in Dogwood Canyon is the Hope Wilderness Chapel. They do weddings here and I told Pepaw we need to renew our vows here for our 50th wedding anniversary!
At the far end of the chapel, behind where the bride and groom would stand you look through two HUGE glass doors and floor to ceiling windows and see this!
We walked around that area and we found this interesting leaf on a bench - couldn't resist the contrasting patterns.
About 1/2 mile further down the trail we came across Thunder Falls. This is another highlight of the hike, I think you can see why!
We continued past the Chuck-wagon and Three Shoots Pine to the Glory Hole. I loved this look at a small waterfall through the bridge.
As well as the intricacies of the metalwork on the fencing.
Look at the trout in the pool!
By this time we were worn out and still had to hike back. There is a lot more trail, so we'll certainly have to go back again!
Again, I have a lot more pictures to go through - but these were some of my favorites.