Monday, October 26, 2009

Platt National Park

(travertine creek via jason daniel brown)

For us, hiking and camping comes second, right after growing food. A strong motivator for leaving Dallas was the distance to outdoor activities - hiking in North Texas is just lame. Our other constant obstacle was the dogs. With no one to watch them it made anything but day trips almost impossible. Back here in our home state, we have access to some of the most beautiful trails in the mid-south, and someone to watch the pups while we're gone. This weekend we drove two hours south to Sulphur, OK - home to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area (formerly Platt National Park).

We camped overnight, cooked potatoes and corn over the fire, swam in a freezing cold stream, hiked the trails and generally had an amazing time. As it's fall, the park is thick with deer and they're mostly unafraid of people. The second morning we walked 1/4 mile with a family of them watching us and following after. The doe and fawn seemed especially interested in our activities while the buck kept more distance.

The swimming hole was deserted so we spent almost an hour in 60 degree water before I couldn't feel my toes any more. The rush and high was incredible, and I understand why people join Polar Bear Clubs now. I also drank from the famous sulphur spring, just to say that I had. Obviously, it didn't taste very good.

In some ways I regret having waited so long to take advantage of Oklahoma's natural beauty, but I also recognize that the old me probably wouldn't have appreciated it as much as I do now. We'll be going out again as soon as we can, I'm taking a full week off at the beginning of November to hike and garden. We haven't decided where to go yet, maybe Robbers Cave, maybe the Heavener Runestone, maybe the Ouachitas. There's so much to do back here, I don't know how we'll fit it all in.


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