What a great site!
Continuing in the theme of, “Wow, Oklahoma!” we moved on to Chickasaw National Recreation Area. It was a short drive, which was much appreciated, given the potential for severe weather. After we left Wichita Mountains, there was no more weather to speak of, all the way there and through set up. Richard even got to bike to the site while I blogged at the Walmart in Sulphur, OK. In fact, he beat me there and helped unhitch and do a Caravan Mover spin to maximize the premium view. Since this was going to be a two night stay, and given the extremely nice view, it was definitely worth the effort.
Woo hoo! Got inside right before the rain dump!
Almost exactly on cue, we finished setting up, got Richard’s bike in the car, and then the rain and lightning started up. Incredibly lucky timing there! I did some weather research and was expecting quite the ride. But again, the worst of the storms seemed to just dissipate or pass us by to the south. We got a couple of exciting flash-booms, but that was all.
What was that in the road?!
After a really tasty dinner of Sweet & Spicy Chicken with Snow Peas, we drove together through the park a little. It’s pretty large and spread out, all around Lake of the Arbuckles. As I was driving, I thought my eye caught a glimpse of a huge spider in the road. I figured, that can’t be real; must be some child’s plastic spider toy. We had picked up an information flier for the park, which listed the various wildlife present in the park, and sure enough, Tarantulas were on the list! I turned the car around and found the spot on the road where I’d seen it. I can guarantee it was a live Tarantula.
Red Shouldered Hawk
We did not see any Bison from the Bison Viewpoint, but I did see a Red Shouldered Hawk looking quite stylish. He/She scored a snake or a lizard before flying away. Then it was time to head back for shows and bedtime. We added “Jailhouse Rock” to our repertoire and unplugged for the night, just in case of lightning.
Boat launch from site. That is a coveted rarity!
For our full day in the park, I got my boat out and launched right from the site. I was all wishy washy about whether it would be too muddy, and therefore a pain to clean, and this would be easier if I had a cargo box on top of the car, and blah blah blah. Then I just went and did it, and it was barely an inconvenience. I had a lovely paddle just meandering up and down the shoreline. I tried telling Strava I was doing a kayak workout, and after ninety minutes, it gave me zero calories. I agree. That seems about right. I probably expended more energy thinking about whether or not to set up the boat.
Well done Visitor Center
Meanwhile, Richard rode up to the Visitor Center and reported back that it was quite nice. He returned around four and helped me carry the boat out of the water so that no mud happened. We had a bit of time before the Visitor Center closed, so we drove back together. I concur that it is a nice Visitor Center. We watched the informational movie about the history of the park, which incidentally, began as one of the earliest National Parks. There are many mineral springs, which the native tribes wished to preserve along with a land deal. Later, more land was added and it changed into a National Recreation Area. Inside, there are displays and many many terrariums. No Tarantulas, but they had a bee hive that you could look at through a plexiglass panel.
“It’s covered in BEES!”
We walked a few of the trails to go see “Little Niagara Falls” and “Travertine Island.” We saw many of the natural springs and lots of people enjoying themselves in the Travertine Creek.
Little Niagara Falls – many things here are named after famous places in NY
Again, we are impressed with Oklahoma! This was a very nice place to stay and we would definitely come again. I seem to be crushing it with site reservations, although I have no memory of any of it, since I made them all about six months ago.
Total miles from Wichita NWP: 126.8, 16.5 mpg, 5 hours 33 min. Site 59C hookups. Not much solar because of trees, but electric hookups, so all good. Some cell for ATT, but nothing for Verizon. Great dump with potable water, down near the boat launch. Perfect site to launch kayak from rocky beach.