I had to go back to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge to complete a hike I started a long time ago. Crab Eyes is a rock formation located near Elk Mountain and on the Charon Gardens Wilderness Area. I like the balancing rock formations almost as much as I like waterfalls. This hike was not easy. There were some steep inclines and the usual lack of trail markings. I really like hiking here and will be back again to do a couple other hikes I have not gotten to do.
The hike takes you through a forest like area and several water crossings. You will hike in an open area and see all the mountains surrounding the area. You will traverse down into a valley and then back up to Crab Eyes. The last climb is steep but absolutely worth the trip. The views getting to the destination are also some of the better views you get in the Charon Gardens Wilderness Area. The hike was a 4.5 mile out and back. The weird thing at the beginning of the hike was a longhorn steer on the trail. I decided to take a different way to the trailhead. I thought it would be gone by the time I returned, nope it was still there. I took my chances this time since it was more interested in grazing and further off the trail. It was big and angry looking.Open area with a viewWorking my way upHere I am near the top. Last pic on the trip up. I thought this was just a cool pic to get on the way backOpen plain on the way back to the trailhead
I get back to trail running for the next month and a half. I am going to try to fit in some hiking but I signed up for plenty of runs until June.
Great Plains State Park is located in Mountain Park, OK., which is about about 45 minutes west northwest of Lawton. The name of the city is an ideal name because it is surrounded by mountains. It is between the Wichita Mountains and the Quartz Mountains. The Great Plains State Park is miss named because it is nothing but hills and mountains. This was also my headquarters to go between the two mountains ranges. I unfortunately did not make to the Quartz Mountains. The prior day I spent more time than I thought at the Wichita Mountains. Plus this being the first trip with my camper I had some “forgot some stuff issues.” I did get some hiking time in this state park.
The park had the usual lack of trail markings I come to expect while hiking in Oklahoma. This time my hike to an unusual turn for the worse. I headed to the trailhead which was marked by an orange bucket with a flag in it. I had a map, it looked like somebody just drew it, and a compass so I felt comfortable. I also started the hike with plenty of sunlight and the park was not that big. At the first split in the trail I went in a direction that would take me back toward my campsite. The trail had no markings but there were cairns on the side of the trail every few feet. I quickly realized that this trail was not taking me up the mountain but around it. I wanted to get some elevation change plus look down on the park and see other mountain ranges in the distance. I back tracked to the split and headed the other direction.
This trail was a bit more defined but still no markings. I started to see blue tape on trees by the trail. I was guessing this was the trail marking. I followed them up to the top of the mountain overlooking my campsite. I got to see everything I wanted and had markings to follow to get back down. I followed the blue markings and quickly realized this is not the way I got up here. Then the markings went away, I tried to backtrack but I could not find the trail I was on originally. The trail map was no help at all. I went back to one of the higher ridge lines of the mountain and found the dam that was close to my campsite. I decided to take a direct route to the dam. I was on a trail most of the way down until the trail started to circle back up the mountain. I stayed the steady course downward and I had to bushwhack a bit to get to another clearing. As the sun was setting and trees were now blocking my view of anything, I thought of calling 911. I gave myself fifteen more minutes of straight hiking to find something I recognized. I continued in a straight line and I saw a campsite. It was the one in which was camping at but I did not know at the time. I finally get to the road and feel good. I see my camper and now I know I am about a half mile from the trailhead.
I hike the shoreline trail back to my car and the trailhead. I make it safely before the sun sets. The funny thing is I was not prepared to camp in a camper but was prepared to get lost hiking. Trail markingsMore trail markingsMaking my way upThe reason I hiked to the topThey were waiting for me.My way back downhill.Finally the Shoreline trail.
I survived to hike another day. Next up, I went back to the Wichita Mountains to finish a hike I started over a year ago.
I decided on December 1st 2017 to do another 52 Hike Challenge. I completed my first challenge this year in 46 weeks. The challenge I just finished was the Adventure Challenge. The hikes had to include things like waterfalls, sunset/sunrise, group, reflective, bucket list amd others. This challenge will entail 52 different hikes. I did repeat a few hikes last time but this time no repeating. I am also going to try to finish some trails I did not finish last year.
The Forty Foot Hole is located in the Wichita Mountains in Lawton, OK. This is my second visit and I got to finish this trail from the opposite direction. This side of the trail did not have all the waterfalls but had one nice one. The Forty Foot Hole was amazing. I hiked the rim and then hiked along the river. I could not believe how picturesque this place looked at dusk. I wish I had more time here but I was looking for another trailhead in which I did not find until it was dark. I will be back here to do some more hiking.
This was another fun trip. I did not see a buffalo this time but I did see the biggest elk I have ever seen. This place is great and well worth a return trip to finish off some other hikes I want to complete.
My next hike continues in the Wichita Mountains but this time it is a summit hike.