A Quick Trip to Onondaga

The whole family spent the weekend at Onondaga Cave State Park last weekend. It’s near Leasburg, MO, about an hour and 30 minutes west of St. Louis on highway 44. We had a great time, as usual. We arrived at the campsite about lunch time on Saturday. It’s a small campground and there were only 2 basic spots left, so if you are headed out there, it might be a good idea to reserve your spot ahead of time.

This was the maiden voyage of our new, custom cargo trailer. It performed beautifully and made the trip much easier. We were able to bring all of our gear without having to get very creative with packing, and the tailgate came in very handy as a table top. Overall, we’re very happy with it!

We decided to have lunch before we made camp, so we unpacked our kitchen kit and ate our sandwiches and apples. While we were eating, we kept hearing people and music on the Meramec river, which was just down a short path from our site. We decided to investigate, so we walked down to the river. We found a huge gathering of people sitting on the bank, watching an even larger amount of people as they floated by on the river. It was quite a sight! We watched for a little while and the girls played in the water a bit, then we decided to head back to our campsite.

Later, we broke out the new Bocce Ball set (my birthday present), and had fun playing a few games. I think Riley won the most!

For dinner, we decided to try one of my dehydrated backpacking meals from Hawk Vittles. We had the cowboy pasta meal and it was delicious. The 2-serving size was enough to feed the four of us since we also made a side of corn. We cooked everything on the coleman stove. Dinner was great, and the cleanup was easy!

There’s an open-fire ban at all MO parks this summer because of the drought, so we had to improvise on our typical practice of sitting around the campfire and roasting marshmallows for s’mores. I brought my MSR pocket rocket and a small propane tank that roasted those marshmallows very nicely! We also tried something new with the s’mores. We used Reese’s peanut butter cups on some of them instead of chocolate. I think I have a new favorite s’more recipe!

After s’mores, we all sat around our large citronella candle and talked. Taylor worked on a couple friendship bracelets. Riley wrote in her notebook. We unwound from the day, looking forward to our big day tomorrow.

We awoke Sunday morning to rain. We haven’t seen much rain in our area all month, so it was welcomed, but thankfully, it didn’t rain very long. By 9am, it was drying up, so we started breakfast. We nearly didn’t get to have our scrambled eggs because when Jen pulled the container out of the cooler, we discovered that they were all broken! I guess the trailer is a little too bouncy for eggs! Thankfully, they were mostly still intact, just pre-cracked for us.

We finished up breakfast and headed over to the park office where the Onondaga cave tours started. They have a nice facility there, with some artifacts and historical items on display, along with a nice gift shop. We bought our tickets for the first tour of the morning. We met our tour guide, Scott, in the waiting room. It was just going to be the four of us. We had our own private tour! Scott was an awesome tour guide. He led us through the amazing cave and showed us all the great “speleothems”. (I remembered!). There are so many incredible formations in the cave that I cannot list them all, you really need to go see it for yourself. We all particularly loved the lillypad room. It is amazing. We all had a great time, and totally recommend the cave tour if you’re in the area! Remember to bring a jacket, though. It’s a little chilly in the cave!

After the cave tour, we went back to the campsite for some lunch. We had dehydrated Southwest Lasagna “soup”. It was just as good as the Cowboy Pasta. Once we finished lunch, it was time to clean up and break camp. We had a great time for such a short trip. It was well worth it!



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