Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Extremes of Oklahoma

Trout Stream Beavers Bend State Park

I am fascinated by the physical extremes of Oklahoma.  I moved from Texas to Oklahoma in 1978 and thought I was moving to a smaller state but I quickly discovered that Oklahoma is not small at all.  If you start in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, Idabel or Broken Bow, you are in pine forests and mountains, with the swampy Red Slough Wildlife Refuge in the extreme southeast.  Red Slough has resident alligators.  Beavers Bend State Park, Broken Bow, Oklahoma, has trout streams and outstanding forest vistas.  It is very easy to believe that you are in Colorado or Wyoming instead of Oklahoma. 
If you get in the car in Broken Bow and drive to Oklahoma City, stop and have lunch, get back in the car and continue through the Oklahoma Panhandle, you will see the landscape undergo an extreme change.  The land becomes flat and on clear days you really can almost see forever.  Highway 3 is straight as an arrow pointing west toward sundown. 
At Boise City in Cimarron County, you angle northwest and head to the highest point in Oklahoma, Black Mesa, near Kenton.  You are almost guaranteed see a herd of antelope along the way.  The flat land gradually changes to mesas and western-movie perfect canyons.  You almost expect to see a posse in pursuit of bandits come galloping over the rise.  At Kenton, you are literally a stone's throw from New Mexico, and from the top of Black Mesa, you can see Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.  How odd that the highest point in Oklahoma is a mesa, not a mountain. 
Black Mesa, Kenton, Oklahoma  
 When you arrive in Kenton, you will have driven twelve hours (counting lunch and potty breaks), gone from the forests and swamps to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains without leaving the state, and when you spend the night, you will fall asleep and awaken in Mountain Time, because the town of Kenton operates in a different zone, in more ways than one.  But that's another story.
Photos of Beavers Bend and Black Mesa by Ron Stahl


  1. So glad you're blogging! I doubt you remember me, but you interviewed me at my little Route 66/antique auto museum in Afton a while back. I've been a fan of your writing, broadcasting, and political sense ever since.
    Laurel Kane

  2. Proud to know you, my friend! love ya, Mary Kay

  3. Keep writing like this and you may get me to appreciate the state I've lived in all my life.

  4. This is kind of fun. Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. Welcome to the blogging world!!! I love Oklahoma!!!