Wichita Wildlife Refuge

Remember when situational comedies on television would often have some sort of joke about having to sit through vacation slide shows at dinner parties? You don’t hear the joke much anymore due to Facebook becoming the new dinner party slide show. After all, you can spit and hit a picture of a swim up bar at Sandals or a booze cruise on Facebook. But you know what? I always remember thinking that it actually sounded like a decent time – seeing pictures of places I had never visited, like Acapulco and Australia. I know, I know, it’s probably just another example of how I am lame. So if this image obese blog post about the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge reminds you of the (so-called) dreaded vacation slide show, I apologize in advance.

Scrapping our plans to go to Oklahoma City, we instead went for a drive through the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, the oldest managed wildlife refuge in the United States. Comprised of about 59,000 acres, the area is surrounded by the Wichita Mountains, which are roughly 500 million years old. To compare, the Rocky Mountains are estimated to be between 80 and 55 million years old. We really enjoyed the drive and I couldn’t help but take tons of pictures to document our day. Don’t worry, you’re only going to see a handful.

The refuge is home to 806 plant species, 240 species of birds, 36 fish, and 64 reptiles and amphibians. The Wichita Mountains are in full view and the prairie land seems to stretch for miles. There are also many small lakes on the property, perfect for our kayaks and fishing poles.

Along our drive, we spotted quite a few American Buffalo grazing.

And white-tailed deer too. Sadly, we didn’t see any Texas Longhorn cattle (like we saw this day) or Elk within photographing distance this trip. Additionally, armadillos and prairie dogs call the refuge home, with all the animals being preserved for their cultural and historical importance.

After spending about an hour driving around the flatland, we headed toward the summit of Mt. Scott. And no, I didn’t get any pictures of our journey to the top. The road was narrow and lacking guard rails for the majority of the climb. I was too busy avoiding looking over the rocky edge. It is funny, I am not afraid of heights when I am at the top, only on the assent. Is anyone else like this?

I made Clay take a picture of me standing at the top of Mt. Scott. He managed to get a picture of klutzy me, tripping over a rock. Nice. I didn’t fall to my death so don’t worry, I am not blogging from the afterlife. Mt. Scott has an elevation of 2464 ft. All of you readers in Alaska, the Rocky Mountain states, and anywhere else with a legitimate mountain range can just keep the smirks to yourself. In Oklahoma, 2464 ft. is high…I will take what I can get!

Mt. Scott offers a great view of Lake Lawtonka. In fact, if you look closely along the shoreline, you can see the neighborhood where we would love to buy a house. The house we love has a fantastic view of Mt. Scott and feels very Oklahoma, with a large front porch and distinct prairie style. Only time will tell if it will eventually become our home.

The wind was really whipping up top Mt. Scott, as evident by Weston’s hair. His hair is too cool for school, don’t be jealous. So there you have it – that wasn’t too bad, was it?  Hopefully the ‘slideshow’ wasn’t too painful. Now if everyone will grab their gin and tonics and make their way into the kitchen, the first course will be served in 10 minutes.

“Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain,
And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet.”

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