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

26 comments:

Dirkjogt said...

What a great pictures. We don't have mountains in Belgium, always love to see them.

Eve said...

What a fun series of photos! I just love all those beautiful Autumn colors!!

Stine in Ontario said...

Very pretty countryside! We don't have mountains in Ontario either. ;-)

Carver said...

Great shots of a beautiful place.

Martha Z said...

I will have to admit, you have some beautiful mole hills. Your pictures are stunning and would tempt me to visit some autumn.
But, if you want to see real mountains, check out my post.
http://zettsett.blogspot.com/

Jim Smith said...

What a beautiful series! In these tough times, we would all do well to learn that magnificent respites are so close if we don't overlook them. Great post.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Virginia originally, so these look like perfectly fine mountains to me. You make OK beautiful, Tim, and even those of us who love flyover country see it with new appreciation.

Crayons said...

Wow, TR. This is another wonderful piece of writing/photography. You have convinced me to put OK on my travel map.

Looking at the photos I kept thinking about your photos from Beijing this summer. Clearly the content is different, but the "take" is so different. Here you are at home not discovering faces and colors in China. You are taking photos of things that run in your blood. It's almost like a photo shoot of your ancestors. Very, very satisfying for the reader. Bravo.

Lawstude said...

Boring? No way, the place is gorgeous.

Susan Gets Native said...

Pfft. The people who say OK is flat and boring are the same type of people who judge all of NY on what they hear about NY city. Pfft, I say.

Marites said...

I love those pictures of yours, you showed your beautiful world, flat or not.

Murr Brewster said...

I second that Pfft. It's flat-out gorgeous, and besides, I like flat too; North Dakota is something to behold. You don't get shorted on sky. I hope you're home when I visit Oklahoma.

Gwendolyn said...

This is a wonder set of pictures. I wouldn't have ever guessed they were taken in Oklahoma. I'll have to make an effort to get off the highway and do some exploring. Thanks for sharing.

Alan Scott said...

Wow! Your awesome pictures bring back a lot of great memories. I haven't been to Mt. Scott in years, so I loved the trip down Memory Lane! Thanks, TR!

Territory Mom said...

So beautiful. Another reason I love Oklahoma. Thank you

jenX said...

i love the wichita wildlife refuge. go with me sometime and i'll be you lunch at the meer's store!

jenX said...

oh, and i have to say, the purple daisies. can they really be wild. I love the shadows of the thin petals on each other.

Gaelyn said...

Nothing flat or boring about these colorful scenes.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Mount Scott and the wildlife refuge is one of my favoritist places in Oklahoma.

Jenn said...

Wonderful set of pixes. I enjoyed the tour and glad to know that wildlife is thriving.

Vicki Jo said...

We will most certainly be taking more weekend trips because I can't imagine you not posting anything between now and the Olympics! You know where I am when you're ready!

Stark Raving Zen said...

Oklahoma is gorgeous!!! You tell those flat-state-haters to just go away, and take their ignorance with them! ;) LOL

Mel said...

That's a great place to be. I love the colors and the shapes.
Flat are the minds of some people...

Kathiesbirds said...

TR, I have to come visit you and go back to this place. I loved it when I was there in 2005 and I would see it with new eyes today. I can only imagine all the bird life there! Well written and photographed post!

Catbird said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catbird said...

Me three with the pfft! It's absolutely gorgeous! A hill mountain doesn't have to be new and craggy to be magnificent. And anyway, up close is the best way to really see and appreciate a place.

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