My fourteen year-old nephew and I returned to the Arbuckle Mountains in southern Oklahoma Saturday, after an earlier July excursion convinced us that the locale might be even more fun with fewer people and cooler weather. We found just what we sought.
We first went to Turner Falls Park, where we walked the trail,pausing in particular at the impressive battlements of the hilltop-fortress-style castle a University of Oklahoma professor built there in the 1930s. The interior sections have not been preserved, but the walls and rooms remain in reasonably good shape. We also enjoyed the 72 foot waterfall for which the park is named.
Then we went to the Arbuckle Wilderness park. The first order of business, needless to say, was the go karts. The track there featured a figure 8 upon which we raced with as much abandon as lawnmower engines and rather snug racing helmets permit. My nephew is better at racing cars than I am, so such excursions involve a great deal of waving as he passes me by.
We then did the automobile tour of the wilderness park. This featured a drive through lovely mildly hilly fields, armed with large paper cups full of food. Emus, ostrich, rhea, burros, llamas, bison, and other horned, pronged and hoofed animals come up to one's windows, and then one gets to feed Purina chow to the gaggle of creatures from said cup with a sure hand and those facial expressions, including smiles, suitable to watching a 7 foot tall bird acquire food in rather abrupt motions from one's cup. We proved to be soft touches, whose three cups of food were headed burro-ward long before we had reached all the animals. Our cause was not advanced by the bison who grabbed half a cup of food, the cup and all save fingers.
We next approached the bumper boats. We had expected this to be a high speed excursion involving bumping. Instead, the bumper boats were low speed conveyances which involved amall water cannons.
We cruised around the swimming pool, shooting jets of water at one another and at two children whom fate had placed in our path.
We returned to the go karts, to make our day complete. We had a wonderful time there, except that my simple video camera did not survive the experience. These things happen, and it is easily replaced, but it cast a bit of a pall on things for my nephew, who had been holding it when it was slayed by a pavement dragon. My own view was a bit more sanguine, as I hate to break anything, but recognize that when one climbs the big rocks in life, and cruises the really exciting figure 8s, a little breakage is bound to occur. I am rather a less than perfectly physically graceful person, myself, so such a view of life is useful. We still enjoyed our final kart spins, and then we headed for home. We stopped for Chinese food in Ardmore, Oklahoma, and then rolled in the non-linear way which is my driving style back to our respective homes in Texas.
I really enjoyed our hiking outing, and the lovely mountains in general. I can hardly wait to go back again someday soon.
Click twice on the picture to see our hike.