Saturday morning, we drove from Tulsa NE / Will Rogers Downs KOA Journey (blog post) in Claremore Oklahoma to Lake Arrowhead State Park outside Wichita Falls Texas. The traffic was heavy on I-44 through Tulsa and Oklahoma City. West of Oklahoma City the traffic broke up and we breezed on through Lawton Oklahoma and on through Wichita Falls Texas where I-44 turned into US-281. We turned off US-281 and arrived at the park 10 or so miles later.
At the ranger station, I unhitched the Jeep as Linda went inside to get our campsite assignment. While they do have a few pull-through sites, we opted for a back-in site. After setting up camp, I found this beautiful Monarch Butterfly on the parking pad. I’m assuming they are migrating right now.
These animals are so gorgeous and graceful. Because of habitat destruction to wintering grounds and milkweed availability, Monarchs are at risk.
On the way to the campground bathhouse, I saw this pump jack. The sign near the pump jack says this pump jack has been in use since 1955. It wasn’t bobbing up and down while we were here but you just never know.
On a sign outside the bathhouse, I found a list of things to do in the park. Visit the prairie dog town. Cool. I’ve only seen one other prairie dog town in the wild. It was in a Texas State Park (I forget which one). People were not allowed within 100 yards of the prairie dogs. That is too far to really see them.
Sunday afternoon, we took the dogs out for a drive around the park. We found the official prairie dog town. Ironically, the prairie dogs have moved to the day use area close to the water.
Because the town has moved, it is easy to get within 20 feet of the prairie dog mounds. The prairie dogs were not alarmed at all when I got out of the Jeep and moved around. It wasn’t until I leashed the dogs and got them out of the Jeep and onto the ground that the prairie dog danger signal went out. All but one popped back into their mound. Safe in their little prairie dog bunkers. Interesting how they don’t see humans as dangerous as dog predators.
This is a lake park. As such, there is the obligatory boat ramp. Expect boaters to fill the park on weekends.
Most boaters that we saw (late September, early October) were fishing. In the summer, expect more water skiers and jet boats.
The lake is on the migratory path for some birds.
Monday morning, we went to a laundromat with a good Yelp rating. I liked the laundromat but Linda didn’t. I thought the staff was really nice. We had a little trouble finding working washers. When it came time to dry, two dryers took our money but didn’t want to run. Later, we saw that others were able to get the dryers to work just fine. I don’t like dryers that require training to learn. Maybe in addition to reading the reviews, we need to look at the pictures to see if the machines are new and in good working order.
After dinner, I sprayed DEET all over myself and took the dogs for a walk. I hoped the DEET would keep mosquitos and noseums from biting. The dogs and I found the trail. The dogs always pull like crazy on trails they like. This trail was no exception. The dogs were definitely walking the human.
Eventually, the Mesquite Ridge Trail emptied onto the Horse Trail. We walked the horse trail back to the main park road.
The setting sun on the wildflowers inspired me to capture the moment.
In addition to looking up and around, there is value in looking at the ground to find the next step. I saw this little fellow before the dogs could. Smart. Picasso tries to eat anything that remotely resembles food.
Our campsite has a shade/rain shelter. I’ve been using the broom to knock down spider webs. I gave up evicting spiders by Monday night. These guys just keep coming back and making the webs. Knock them down at night, new webs are built in the morning. Tuesday morning, on the walk back from taking a shower at the campground bathhouse, I saw a spider (more white than the one above) suspended above the roadway. I shined my light on him. I could see the web he was making. He had strung a line from one tree on one side of the road to another tree on the other side. This would be a span of at least 25 feet. What an industrious little bugger!
Tuesday, after lunch, we broke camp and left for our next stop, Abilene State Park.
This post covers days x through y of our big fall trip.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!