small sample of my crazy quilt embroidery

About Me

I am a consumate crafter. I knit, quilt both sane and crazy, scrapbook, bead, mosaics and any other thing I can think of along the way. Someday I also hope to do real glass jewelery and stained glass but those have to wait until I have room and more time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The beauty of the Wichita's

I have lived here in SW Oklahoma for almost 20 years. now And only about 20 miles from the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Yet I hardly ever get out there to see the beauty that abounds at every turn in the road. Alot of time in the summer I think it is just too hot, during the winter too cold but those are just excuses, lame ones at best. But who would guess that my knitting would actually get me off my butt and out to the mountains this last week. And boy am I glad it did.

What precipitated this drive to go out to the mountains you ask? Well-My sudden love for dyeing yarn with natural materials. After an amazing experience dyeing with lichen from my trip to N Carolina I wanted to see if our very own moutains had anything new to give. It didn't even dawn on me at first that the Wichita's would have lichen since I tend to think very little grows out on those barren windswept dry granite crags. All my previous trips out there left me with the impression all that grew there was cactus, prarie grass and poor little stunted oak trees. But I googled "Wichita Mountains" and every entry came up with "Lichen covered" so I knew I had to go out with new eyes.

So this last monday it was slated to be just a tad bit cooler, perfect for hiking. I packed up my camera, strapped on hiking sandals over hand knit socks and grabbed some baggies for collecting and headed out. The first place I pulled off was the picnic grounds next to Mt Scott itself. It was early and being monday the place was empty. Well except for the 2 very big buffalo sitting at the one way entrance to the grounds themselves. But they let me by, I went on a bit to be sure I wasn't bothering them and got out of the car to explore. I immediately saw that lichen was on every single rock in the area. A beautiful chartreuse green, the common gray and quite a bit of a rusty orange. I found quickly that only the common gray was going to come off those rocks and go into my collecting bag. I thought this was probably just the same Hypogymnia that I have already used but so many are similar and can vary alot even due to local and climate. So I picked little bits off here and there to not cause any damage. Now I did know that it is illegal to remove any materials from a National Park so I was careful to keep my eyes open, not only for those buffalos but for Park Rangers too!! Anyway I collected enough from that area and moved on hoping for better variety elsewhere.

Next was the Jed Johnson lake area. After getting out of the car I chose the quick trail to the lake first. I had to walk thru some pretty heavy vegetation to get to the water but oh my-what treasures I found to the eye!! I can not name either one of these flowers just right now but are they not amazing?? No I did not pick any of this, it was way to beautiful just where it was.

This is probably some sort of campanula*7QfNdFdJExw7d-xNDq7py6xR4K/item.jpg?rot=1

This is from a large shrub that seems to be everywhere around the water

Then I took the longer trail that circles the lake part of the way and works it's way up to the tower overlooking the lake. I am not sure what the tower is for, perhaps an old lookout post?*kJIDp%25zV0lzDRenZ-2rEQKjv/item.jpg?rot=1

All along the trail up to the tower, the oaks were covered with more lichens. I easily picked just from dead downed branches and filled up my baggie. And I found more rocks with the gray lichen so plentiful that I quickly had more than enough of that also. So I could concentrate on the scenery around me a bit more. Which was good cause the trail was a bit of a rough one and more than once I almost did a bad ankle turn. And I worried just a bit about rattlesnakes as one should in that kind of area. Lucky for me I never saw a hint of a snake but instead was blessed to see a number of these collared lizards who didn't seem camera shy one bit!!

Back at the trailhead my car was still sitting all by its lonely self. I had yet to see a single soul on my walks. What a glorious day the rest of the world was missing. I mused at where I should head next. The park headquarters still to the west or back to the east where I would find Mt Scott and also some food cause by this time I was starving. But I did head west and stop in at the visitor's center. I didn't find much in the bookstore and I have been thru all the exhibits before so I made a quick turn around and back to the east. I did make a few quick detours down a few roads along the way back. The one to the Holy City of the Wichita's was thick with Buffalo. At one point I had to sit with my car in idle to let the massive beasts cross the road both in front and behind me. They took their leisurely time and let me get a good look at those lovely coats that yeild some of the softest, warmest fiber on earth. Right now I do not own any Buffalo yarn but sorely want to soon. But I think I will let those expert buffalo wrangler's get if off the beasts for me!!

One last stop to make-the summit of Mt Scott. The drive is a short one winding you round the mountains a few times before coming to the parking lot at the top. I can not even begin to tell you how resplendent the rocks were lining the drive up the moutain. Every rock was covered in the bright yellow green lichen that I had hoped to be able to collect some of. And the colors of the lichen just glowed against the red of the sandstone and grey of the granite rocks. Add the crystal blue sky above and it is no wonder my pictures came out so spectacularly that day. I walked around a bit at the top almost alone in the parking lot. I took the time to snap a few more pics including a few of Audry II since I had dragged her along just for that purpose. I climbed down a bit and sat on a rock out of sight of the world for just a few minutes and drank in all the glory God had given me that day. But eventually hunger really was taking over and I needed to go back to my mundane life and every day activities. And of course I wanted to see what my new lichens were going to give me in the way of color. I was barely in the house before I was boiling water to test out my new finds. But alas the colors of the day would all be in my pictures and in my memory cause all I got was the same orange I had gotten with my N Carolina lichen, nice but I have enough of that for awhile!!*nJV.b0Iw8YgTN*a8rcXBUTcCQMS30MB5KvES8Kks3%25FWD8/item.jpg?rot=1*nwuDTmrjbp24DcgQNLP97dOMeWM4z*78TjH/item.jpg?rot=1*NrvHSXIUGPQi.qlotRiihaQg/item.jpg?rot=1

So after a quick trip back down the mountain, I headed home. Well at least with a pitstop at Burger King and then to the commissary on the way. And here are a few of the final pictures I took on top of Mt Scott-please enjoy!!*k%253a1/item.jpg?rot=1*R3bGj.JrOQRbKRUTC5MxZ%3D5ND1atUzA10dVdQ26Q6DLdM0ab2cfwVoSD/item.jpg?rot=1

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