Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Tishomongo and a Bobcat

At  6 a.m., my wife and I picked up my young friend and set off in my wife's cool Altima to southern Oklahoma. We stopped at a donut shop, and then hit the road north. We first drove through Atoka, over to the McGee Creek State Scenic Nature Area. As we tried to find the park,  we passed two wild turkeys, a mother and her large offspring, strolling by us as we drove on McGee Creek Dame Road.  They seemed surprisingly unconcerned about us, with the mother turkey finally assuring us we'd be happier elsewhere, but no real efforts to fight or flee. We got to the nature reserve part in good order, after driving over roads which had a few washed out places covered by gravel.

As we pulled up near the parking area, near 9 in the morning, we saw a bobcat crossing the road. Unlike most bobcats, which are quite shy, this one stepped into the woods and stopped to look at us inquisitively before finally heading off. We loved getting to see this curious young cat.
We took an hour's hike on the Carnasaw Trail, which is wooded, rocky, and featured lichens, mosses and a few huge red spiders.

We then drove to the nearby stake park and lake. where we saw turkey vultures near the dam, and lots of doe and fawn deer near the road. We stopped at the swimming beach to look out at the horizon, as folks in tattoos with their kids swam in the lake water. It looked like a wonderful lake for fishing, but we had other things to do.

We drove into Atoka, 20 miles away. We stopped at an Amish store run by two nice women who obtain their merchandise from the Amish community roughly 20 more miles away. We got Amish wheat bread and some pecan oil. Then we went to a Radio Shack, as I needed batteries and also an SD card, as I found, to my chagrin, that i had been taking cool wildlife pictures without my SD card in, on the "internal memory".

We drove over to Boggy Depot State Park, a huge complex of trees and picnic tables marking the historical site important to Choctaw and Chickasaw post-removal history. A Choctaw chief of note lived near that area, and it also marked a meeting place.  We saw two eastern bluebirds (or maybe the same one twice), which was lovely. We looked at the cemetery, and marveled, as one always does, at how life was so short for so many people in the 19th Century.

We stopped by a cute rural greenhouse, at which nobody came out to say 'hi" but an energetic but non-threatening miniature pinscher. Then we drove to Tishomingo, the former capitol of the Chickasaw tribe of native Americans. On our way, we passed the lovely Blue River, at which I'd like to fish someday. We drove to a place in the country called Blue River Ribs, which was supposed to have good food, but it had closed early that day. Then we got hamburgers in town from a little place that was a bit disorganized in its service but made very good food.

We drove to the building which had once been the seat of Chickasaw government, and saw a great display about how that worked. The Chickasaw resided in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee before the reprehensible removal act of 1832 put them gradually but inevitably to Oklahoma. 

Chickasaw old capitol building

The curator of this museum gave us lots of information about the Chickasaw people and Chickasaw history. 40,000 tribe members are currently registered. We then visited the Council house museum, which told us the story of the Chickasaw people in detail. it is a story involving a lot of unjust treatment of the Chickasaw by the U.S. government and many individuals. The woman who spoke with us there told us that of the tribe, 75 still spoke Chickasaw. Chickasaw was her first language, and now she teaches it to classes and to individuals, to keep the language alive. like us, she had lived in the Los Angeles area. Now lives in Oklahoma.  We enjoyed the art, history, and information at the museum, which is a large brick building built around a 19th Century meeting house called a council house.

We then drove to Tishomingo National Wildlife Reserve, where we hiked a trail in 100 degree heat liberally attended by huge red spiders.
We stopped at the marshy, algal pond, where ducks heralded our arrival by flying away. We saw a cool raptor that appeared to me to be a Mississippi Kite, though my bird book also offers the idea it might be a white kite. Then we drove past more gorgeous rural Oklahoma, and arrived at my young friend's home by 6.30 p.m.  We had a great day When my wife and I arrived back home, she cooked us a great fresh grouper with a cool sauce a friend had given us as a gift. Then I embarked on the search for the USB cable for the camera which had lacked the SD card, so that I could upload the wildlife pictures into my computer. Some dozens of USB cables for other devices later, I engaged in a rare burst of frustrated profanity, as the right USB cable did not materialize. I hope that we find it, as I'd like to see the deer photos, and to see if my distant photo of the bobcat came out at all. I observed aloud, with great feeling, my own long-held view that USB cables should be all the same size, and universally compatible. But I was a voice crying after the wilderness.

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