While driving from Fort Worth to Wichita on our South Central Loop last spring, we took a small detour to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, OK. This turned out to be one of our favorite parts of the trip, a reprieve from what would otherwise have been an entire day of interstate driving. We spent a few hours taking in the spectacular scenery and wildlife as we hiked and drove around the refuge. As an added bonus, we almost had the park to ourselves since it was still early in the season.
The Wichita Mountains are home to a great variety of plant and animal species – over 1,100 in all. The 60,000 acre refuge was established in 1901 with the purpose of protecting this diversity while providing recreational opportunities for the nearby inhabitants. Today, two-thirds of the park is designated as a wilderness area. Elk and bison – at one time extinct in the region – now number in the hundreds thanks to repopulation efforts taken on by the Refuge.
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- 10.10.21 : The waterfalls of Hocking Hills State Park. Pics 1 and 2: Upper and Lower Falls along the Grandma Gatewood Trail near Old Man’s Cave. Pic 3: Cedar Falls.10.10.21 : The rhythm of the campsite… night, sunrise and afternoon from our wooded oasis at Stacked Stones Retreat in the Hocking Hills.10.09.21 : Had an awesome private evening ride with Becky at Blue Moon Acres Stables in the Hocking Hills. We rode the father/daughter team of Stroker (Nick) and Mystique (Neil).10.09.21 : Took a walk around the earthworks at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park on the way to our camping weekend in Ohio’s Hocking Hills. These geometric ceremonial mounds were built by native cultures that lived in the area from about 200 BCE through 500 CE. The park is made up of six separate sites located around Chillicothe, Ohio.07.29.21 : The final big hike of our summer trip was Pennsylvania Mountain near Fairplay, Colorado. It’s not a well-known peak, but it’s a 13er and provides great views of the continental divide and surrounding mountain ranges in a quick (but steep) 5 mile round trip.07.21.21 : At 9 miles, our hike down the Grand Canyon’s North Kaibab Trail was our longest and by far the most strenuous hike of the summer. We went as far as Roaring Springs, 4.5 miles and 3,200 feet below the rim.