Monday, November 2, 2009

Riot on Scott Mountain

Mount Scott rises up out of the mixed grass prairies of southwestern Oklahoma to almost 2500 feet and is the second largest peak of the Wichita Mountains. I hear your chuckles. Not so high for a peak, I know, but at more than 500 million years old - you gotta give a big hill a break.

It's a mountain by someone's official standards. From a state renowned for being flat and boring, we'll take it. That, and the fact that the people who call Oklahoma flat and boring have never actually been here.

Here's some boring for you. This is where the riot started.

And here is some flat...

And here's Oklahoma's most famous bird artist taking it all in. She knows where the action is when Fall starts a riot. She's traveled the world, moved here fourteen years ago from San Francisco Bay and...has...never....left. Take that flat state hate mongers.

Mount Scott rapakivi granite: salmon pink, slathered in neon-yellow lichen and studied by geologist all over the world. I like having that in my backyard.

as well as chinquapin oaks

and posing dark-eyed juncos. Only 'cause you got my good side, says the junco. And pretty on pink as well.

These purple-colored plants in the aster family start the riot in early October and keep it going well into November.

The guitar hero, straddling mountaintop, wants to be a rock star, literally. And what better place to serenade the changing season and

these changing leaves

and this riot of color made possible by unseasonably cold weather and damp days.

Mount Scott and the surrounding 60,000 acres became part of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in 1901, making it one of the oldest refuges in the National Park system.

Cache Creek is one of more than 20 lakes and streams that wrap the refuge like holiday ribbons.

This place is a rock lovers paradise. If you don't think rocks are alive - come here and watch your mind transform. This tumble of pink granite overwhelms the senses.

Teddy Roosevelt came here to shoot wolves and then went back to Washington and raved about the place. The wolves are gone now, as are the black bears and most of the hunters. But herds of buffalo and elk and longhorns are thriving. As well as prairie dogs, coyotes and bobcats. Mountain lion sightings increase year after year.

This place was home to the Comanche tribe for centuries. The Apache and Kiowa tribes were later forced here. Before General George Armstrong Custer met his match at the Battle of Little Bighorn, he had already wreaked havoc in this part of the state.

This magical place is 70 miles from my front door. I'm there in a blink of an eye and ever so grateful to have it in my backyard.

I hope you like Oklahoma and its outrageously colored rocks and impossible beauty. Because with the economy the way it is - that's just about all your going to get from this blogger until the Olympic Games hove into view in February. I have not been on a plane since July. Fortunately, I love road trips....

and I love Oklahoma in the fall!!

My world is Oklahoma, Mount Scott and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

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