Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma
I never get tired of visiting the Wichita Wildlife Refuge, no matter what time of year I go, it's always beautiful. And the view from the top of Mt. Scott will always be one of my favorites. But going in the spring is the best time. Everything is in bloom, the rolling hills and plains covered in yellow flowers and cacti with purple blossoms.
Darrell and I went down on a Thursday, taking small back roads to avoid tolls. I've driven that section of the turnpike more times than I can count and I'll take the slow way over the fast any day. Over the years giant windmills have been built, popping across the landscape, strange star like flowers. I can remember when they weren't there, too many years ago, but I don't really see them anymore.
Our first stop was the the Narrows trail and it was lovely to have it all to ourselves. The refuge is crowded on weekends so it was definitely worth going on a weekday to avoid coming across another hiker every five minutes. It was also great to see all the animals; buffalo and longhorn cattle roam all over and there are several prairie dog towns where you can stop and be barked at.
Sometimes living in Oklahoma City I forget that there's more out there than lots of flat urban spaces and highways. And this is beautiful country, something unexpected in a place where the trees are a little scrubby and in the middle of summer everything seems to be a uniform brown. I love the stark beauty of the area, the rocky hills and finding water in the deep places. I love the silence when you stand at the edge of the waving grass, buffalo dotting the prairie in the distance.
Next time I'd like to hike Charon's Garden Trail, I've seen photos on Instagram and it's stunning. Has anyone else spent time hiking here? What are you're favorite spots?