It's November. The tents and sleeping bags are all packed away. Camping season is done, right? Wrong! With a holiday on the calendar and a free day off work following that, it was the perfect opportunity to squeeze in one more trip! November weather, like any weather, can be pretty tricky to predict, especially months in advance. But none of that would matter because we would set our sights on an indoor camping trip to the Betty Lea Lodge at Echo Bluff State Park! This would not only be my first time staying at this park but it would, obviously, be the first time staying in the lodge here as well! After opening in 2016, (MO State Parks Centennial Passport Challenge (part 7)!) and seeing the place for the first time, I was always wanting to give it a try as they seemingly spared no expense in building this park! It was also going to be nice to spend some time in the area as well since the park is nestled in the middle of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways which not an area I get to visit frequently.
We would set off on Black Friday, choosing as always not to participate in the madness at the stores, and make our way down to our room for the weekend and first impressions met expectations! The view from the room of echo bluff was enough to make this stay worthwhile on its own!
Getting in late, too do much in the dark, it was dinner in the room with a fire in the gas fireplace and a movie on the TV to settle in for the night. This "4 walls and a roof" camping experience was definitely going to take some getting used to, but I was confident I could make the transition!
The next day would allow us time to explore the park and surrounding areas which, because of the unusually warm weather for this time of year, would make the exploration extra enjoyable! So much so, lunch would be from the park restaurant seated outside on the patio overlooking the bluff and Sinking Creek. To be completely honest, as a huge fan of snow and cold weather, this warm spell would be not only welcomed but embraced as, with snow at the very least, this trip would have been very different and maybe would not have even happened at all.
The rest of the afternoon would be spent taking it easy and enjoying the much-needed break from the day-to-day grind back home.
The final day of the trip saw one final opportunity to explore the area before packing up and heading home. We set our sights on a trail that would take us above Sinking Creek atop Echo Bluff where we could get a view of the lodge from above.
All in all, it was a great, relaxing trip and one that was very much needed after the year 2021 turned out to be! Echo Bluff provided excellent amenities and made it very likely we would return in the future!
Span of 3 days; Approximately 6 hours of cumulative driving; Approximately 325 miles; No fuel economy stats were collected on this trip.