I am leaving for the Wichita mountains wildlife refuge in Oklahoma for a weekend camping trip today. This is a place I have frequented for many years. Some of my greatest outdoor moments have happened within the boundaries of this 50,000 acre playground. I have been able to drag friends, co-workers, associates, relatives, girlfriends, dogs, fiancé, wife and many more to this great place. I am looking forward to bringing my kid there, but we are a year away from that. The lengthy relationship between cougars (the mountain lion variety, not last call), coyotes & rattlesnakes and 30 lb children has not been lost on me.
I have only been twice in the last 8 years or so. The first of the two was right after we moved back from MN in 2001. We were a group of three couples and our dog maggie. The trip was defined by two moments. The moment I had to turn back while hiking up elk mountain. Not by my design, and I have not summated since. The second was a rather nasty run in one of our party had with a couple John Wayne meets Terminator, meets A-hole, meets fondling themselves while watching COPS Park Rangers. You know, typical L.E.O.’s. The second was about 4 ½ years ago. A party of three we avoided most of the hiking and concentrated on canoe/kayaking and wandering flat trails.
This is kind of sad considering the great times had in this historic region. The goal this weekend? We will climb elk mountain. The best I can tell I am about 40lbs heavier than my last summit and at least 9 years older. This is a recipe for a long-ass day. Maybe I should buy that $49.00 care-flight membership? When I get back I will post a couple of before/after picturess of this weekend and maybe one from college for “perspective”.