Sometimes the endless plains and scarce availability of hills makes us forget that Oklahoma has its own natural gems. One of these natural gems is nestled in the southern part of the state, just an hour and a half away from the state capital. This place is called the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Abundant with wildlife, such as bison, longhorns, prairie dogs, hawks, and the colorful mountain boomer lizards, the Wichita Mountains do not disappoint. On top of that, there are several pristine lakes for kayaking and fishing, adventurous hiking trails ranging from easy sightseeing to the more advanced, and of course the regal, granite mountains that make up its landscape.
A few weekends ago, we ventured out to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and pitched our tent at the Doris Campgrounds. Our campsite couldn’t be more serendipitous, as it sat right by Quanah Parker Lake. Although it was in the prime of the summer, with temperatures soaring in the triple digits, the breeze that arose from the lake and fluttered throughout our tent provided much needed relief from the heat.
We spent our mornings hiking in the backcountry of the Charon’s Garden Wilderness, taking the trail to Post Oak Falls, climbing up Elk Mountain, all while cherishing the wildlife that came across our paths. We spent the afternoon lazying about our campsite, cooking, playing games, and relaxing. At golden hour, we were mesmerized by the magical sunset as we viewed it from the summit of Mount Scott, and we continued our wonderment by gazing at the sparkling sequins in the night sky later at nightfall on the bridge crossing Quanah Parker Lake.
There’s nothing like getting out into the wilderness, and being away from the busyness of life. All you hear as you lay down to sleep in your tent is the crackling of charcoal fires, the symphony of insects, and the soft tread of deer passing through, with an endless amphitheater of stars right above you.
There was so much to explore and enjoy in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, that we were not able to experience them all. But that’s okay, because it certainly has captivated our hearts and we will back very soon to that wonderful, magnificent place.