pictures: trip to Wichita Mountains NWR - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-18-2017, 11:50 AM   #1
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pictures: trip to Wichita Mountains NWR

I took a short camping trip this week to Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Reserve, west of Lawton OK. Driving through the area is only moderately scenic, and the major 'wildlife' I saw from the highway was a herd of wild longhorn cattle. I found that one must get onto the hiking trails to truly see and experience the park.

The trail around the west end of Quanah Parker Lake begins at the dam which creates the lake.

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The rock outcroppings can be quite colorful.

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I proceeded across the dam and followed the trail...

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... all the way to the Doris Campground. This was my planned camping destination, but unfortunately they were full when I arrived around 3pm on Thursday. Spring break week, and sunny upper 70s brought out plenty of campers. Yes, I went to the CG first when I arrived, but too late. Oh well. I had to drive 20 minutes east, out of the park, to the nearest fall-back CG which was Lake Lawtonka. They have electric sites for $20, but I had my tent for this trip and needed no hookups, so I took a site in the tent loop for $8. No picnic table, and the closest restroom was back in that trailer loop (so far away it made the most sense to drive over there!). I should mention that the restroom included two shower stalls, with no shower curtains whatsoever; exhibitionists would love this place. All in all, I was not thrilled with this CG, but at least I had a nice sunset view that evening.

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More to follow......
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Old 03-18-2017, 12:09 PM   #2
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This thread would not be complete without a picture from the summit of Mount Scott. Now, folks in the Appalachian or Rocky Mtn regions wouldn't call these hills "mountains," but hey they're the best we've got in OK. I took this on the way back to the CG to cook my evening meal of smoky tilapia filets. One can drive to the summit of Mt. Scott via a corkscrew-type road that winds around and around until it reaches the top.

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In the morning, I was reminded of one good reason why I prefer trailers. I would have packed up the tent, but at 8:30 am it was still wet... covered in dew! Forget the tent, I'll stop by for it later on my way home. Onward ho! My next stop was the trail to the Jed Johnson Tower. No, I don't know if Jed built this tower, or why anyone would build a tower in this location, or what it was for. But it looks good with the morning light.

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The view from the tower area itself was nice, too. This is another dammed lake (pun intended), and it's named after Jed of course.

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After this easy trail, my legs felt ready for a greater challenge. So on I went to the Elk Mountain trailhead. This meager parking lot serves as trailhead for 3 trails, and it is woefully inadequate in size. But I got there early enough to get a gen-u-wine parking space, and by the picnic tables no less! I was planning ahead for lunch, you see.

Up, up, and away! It's a fairly steep climb over rough, rocky, uneven terrain. But about halfway to the summit, the views were quite nice. I had to zoom in with my lens for this photo, or the girls on the outcrop would have been unnoticeable.

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I didn't get much farther than this, because the trail got even rougher and steeper as well as less scenic (into a post oak grove, which is not pretty when they're still all bare), so I headed back down. Good thing too, because I was really tuckered out when I reached the bottom. A picnic lunch helped, but after that I felt like my time (and legs) had been well spent, and it was time to head home.
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Old 03-18-2017, 01:01 PM   #3
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Great Pics !
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:54 AM   #4
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I always enjoy your meanderings, Mike! Thanks for posting.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:11 AM   #5
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Great photos. I'm going that way!
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:00 PM   #6
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Good trip report. Nice photos!
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:05 PM   #7
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Yay! I loved hearing about your trip and seeing your pics! With the unusually warm weather in Colorado, I'm just dying to get out my Scamp and embark on ANY kind of camping adventure. Can hardly wait!
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:23 PM   #8
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I stopped in there for a couple of days when I did a month-long walkabout in fall of 2015. I had a similar whoops as you: arrived to Doris campground, had a blissful quiet day almost alone in the place, and then on the next day a noisy crowd arrived and I was all what in the....? It was the fall school break. I had no idea schools have fall breaks. I hightailed out of there for Big Bend the next morning. I did really enjoy seeing some elk there, the bison, and the prairie dog town was super entertaining.
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