I spent the weekend at Beavers Bend, a 7000 + acre Oklahoma State Park located in the south-central Ouachita Mountains. We hiked trails, sampled the river for macro invertebrates, visited habitat for the Red Cockaded Woodpecker, climbed at 95 foot fire tower atop Mt. Carter, and learned to cast for fly fishing the trout they stock in the Mountain Fork River.
We practiced fly tying, here is my attempt:
I loved exploring the park and learning of its history. The cabins were build by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. My Father-in-law was a former member of the CCC in Missouri so I was especially interested in their work done in Oklahoma. The Forest Center Heritage Center had an excellent book on this topic. I found their work to be very similar to Missouri; building cabins, trails and offices.
Here is a picture showing the view from the top of the Carter Mtn. fire tower. The mountain is approximately 1300 feet tall and we climbed 95 feet to the top of the tower. Judy, the person still watching for fires gave us the grand tour and spoke about her 40+ years spent on lookout. She could climb the 95 feet in 3 minutes in her heyday, now it takes her 5 minutes. In those 3 minutes she often packed up a sewing machine or a young child to help occupy the day. I didn’t time myself on the climb and the swirling wasps didn’t help me feel more comfortable. The next morning my legs felt the climb.
I have more to share about my experience in Oklahoma in future posts. I hope you Enjoy the ride!