With a sky like this how could it not be a perfect day. It had been forever since DH and I had gotten up the gumption to go out and hike in the Wichita Mountains. And with our time in Oklahoma slowly drawing to a close, we figured we better get our selves out there while the gettin' was good. So with a picnic lunch in tow, cameras strapped on and our walking shoes laced up, off we went.
The first walk of the day was to the Narrow's area of the Refuge. It is only a mile up and a mile back and for the most part it is not to strenuous. The Narrow's itself is carved by a stream thru a granite boulder canyon. The amount of water present depends on the season. Being at the end of a fairly dry summer left the pools of water low but still enough to be a cool oasis at the end of a hot hike.
These people were actually illegally rapelling down this small cliff!!
This is DH once we were down into the Narrows
After our hike out we found a shady picnic table and ate our picnic lunch with just the Blue Jay's to keep us company.
Our afternoon hike was planned for the Charron's Gardens area. The trail is officially 2.5 miles in and 2.5 miles back. But they don't tell you how much up and down you are going to do along the way. The first half mile in was thru cool shady woods. But very suddenly the woods go away and leave you with a spectacular view of the true back country wilderness.
The trail along the way had many places that are not well marked and I was glad that I had someone with me who had the intrepid pioneer spirit and was willing to lead the way. On the way in we took the more travelled path and found ourselves having to navigate over some monster boulders. Some of which were not all that close together. And in between-huge deep chasms that could snap a limb or even worse!!
This crossing almost got me!! I was pretty sure I was going to be done for.....
But we managed to get over and thru. Others on the trail turned back at this point so we felt pretty smug being able to still do this at our ages!! Again we passed thru some nice shady narrow areas..
And some wide open spaces..
We passed some deep canyons with rainbow walls
And then around the back side of Elk Mountain where many of the younger folks were climbing to the top the hard way. Not us old folks-we enjoy the view from a safe distance. See how tiny the people are in the picture-helps show the size and scale of these rocks.
The whole backside of the mountain
There were times when we had lots of human company on the trail and then times when all we met were these little guys...
There were balancing rocks, arches and small caves to explore along the way.
This is at the furthest point of the trail. Time to turn around and head back.
It didn't take much to decide we needed to go around the huge boulder area that almost ate our legs on the way in. The sites were not quite as amazing as it took us out of site of Elk Mountain. But after everything we had put our bodies thru we probably would not have made it over without some horrible mishap.
No one who hikes in the Refuge all day needs to have to go home and cook dinner. So we stopped on our way out in historic Medicine Park, Oklahoma to partake of some of its charm and to stoke our furnaces. We took a short riverside stroll past the old swimmin' hole and down to the dam, then headed back to eat at the Old Plantation Inn. We feasted on burgers bigger than the buns they came on and enjoyed the atmosphere of the old place. Then we strolled the river one more time before finally heading back to our ranch.......This was truly a day to be remembered as a highlight of all our days in Oklahoma