Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Wichita Mountains

Oklahoma doesn't boast many mountains--not loudly anyway--but those we have are glorious enough for me, since I'm more of a clamberer than a climber.

About an hour from my house,
a wildlife refuge nestles quietly into a little range of understated granite mountains.

It's an area where the Wichita tribe used to winter, and if you know what you're seeking, you might find one of their hand carved water bowls or even a lookout cave with a hidden entrance.
Elijah and Marie live close to these mountains and have been taking hikes there whenever the weather was at all mild. They brought these pictures back to my computer--all taken since she got her new camera for Christmas. If you click on the pictures to enlarge them, you can see intricate detail.

The refuge harbors many different native plants and animals, the most obvious of which are buffalo.

In fact, sometimes they stand in the road and have to be gently persuaded to seek the softer meadows on either side of the pavement.

There are also deer and elk. Usually these animals are seen from a distance, but Marie managed to get close enough for several shots of these normally timid beasts.

The prairie dogs, on the other hand, are not at all timid, and will stand at the little round doors of their dens scolding any intruders and preaching like prophets.

There is a museum--a large, well-kept one, and a ranger station where day-hikers can check in for weather and trail news. Over-night campers can rent a site for their tent or request a three day stint in the wilderness area so they can chase lizards over the rocks, fish in the lakes, or clamber to the top of a peak to look down on a lake below ...or up to a wild eagle soaring.

Sunsets in this area are beautiful; the stillness is sublime.

Then there are trails, snaky, hard-packed byways which crest the hills and wind through wispy little woods alongside creeks and dried-up beds where flowers sleep til spring.

In the evening, with sunlight on the tips of last year's darkening stems and tufts, these paths make a mystery of every destination...even the parking lot just beyond the footbridge.

It's not easy to say goodbye to these humble riches, and head back toward the screechy noise of nearby cities.

Not far from the refuge lies Medicine Park, a humble village recently decided by art and music lovers to be a noteworthy arena. Real estate followed their lead, and a lost hideaway was discovered by suburbanites, who proved very persuasive in converting the town into an "unspoiled" attraction.

Ah well, it still has plenty of charm, but a more expensive charm than what is offered for free by the refuge. It's a perfect place for a hot meal cooked and served in a restaurant with "atmosphere"; and after taking an eight-mile hike in the wilderness, who doesn't deserve to sit back and enjoy a plateful of calories with cream and sugar?

Pictures by Elijah and Marie

Our Three Word Wednesday prompt was:
Loud; adjective: (Of sound) strongly audible; having exceptional volume or intensity
Persuasive; adjective: Able, fitted, or intended to persuade; noun: Something that persuades.
Riches; plural noun: Abundant and valuable possessions; wealth.


Ren said...

Captivating use of the prompts.

On a side note, my hubby would move out there in a second. Love the pictures :)

jaerose said...

It looks beautiful - especially that sunset..I love when you take us on these picture and word rambles..and maybe it's better being one of life's 'clamberers!'..Jae

anthonynorth said...

That looks an amazing place. Stunning pictures.

Fear Not the Darkness but What lies Within said...

Sheilagh Lee said:Beautifully described place.

Kim Nelson said...

I feel as if I took a brief holiday, via your photos and words. Thanks, Lilibeth!

rmpWritings said...

that was a lovely trip, thank you for taking me there. the pictures were captivatingly beautiful.

Old Altonian said...

What a beautifully worded travelogue you have given us, and the accompanying pictures are just wonderful. Thank you for that - lovely post.

oldegg said...

What a simply stunning post. What you have shown us is so precious you almost want to keep it a secret.

Kylie said...

I enjoyed this peak into your world, the animals and scenery very different from where I live. That sunset is stunning!

ThomG said...

When I lived in Dallas, I used to come here all the time to climb. I was nearly trampled by buffalo twice. It's their place, and we're just visitors. Neat place, great story.

VL Sheridan said...

So beautiful! Love the pictures. Well done.

Nico said...

Nice pictures--and beautiful writing! "In the evening, with sunlight on the tips of last year's darkening stems and tufts, these paths make a mystery of every destination...even the parking lot just beyond the footbridge." Marvelous.

ms pie said...

love oklahoma.... thank you for a wonderful post journey....

trisha said...

those snaps are terrific. thanks for the marvelous narration you added with them.

i love a song sung by glenn campbell- wichita lineman.

i believe you must have heard it.


aftergrace said...