Wednesday, September 23, 2009


September 19-22, 2009

As we arrived in the lush woodlands of this state park we noticed a pickup coming from the other direction parked in the middle of the road. We soon saw why. A deer doe and her fawn were peacefully grazing on the shoulder. We too stopped to watch as the white tail showed no concern about the humans in her domain.

This was to set the tone for our short visit in the area. We camped in the Springhill campground area of the park. We had no sooner set camp then deer started drifting through, all does and fawns. No buck was ever spotted by us, but based on the number of fawns we are certain there must be several in the area. That night a total of 14 deer visited our campsite.

It was so peaceful to enjoy dinner with the camper blinds wide open watching them enjoy their dinner. Even when Gary went outside to get the camera and snap photos they showed no alarm. It was obvious they knew they were in a protected area. It was also obvious that those who knew the area well were as attracted to this nightly visit as we were.  Each evening and morning we were there cars would slowly drive through the park to watch the deer graze.

If you are an extremely modest person the restroom here might not be for you. The stalls have half doors on them. All modesty is covered, but you feel very exposed while using the facilities. I found the ladies shower to be rather unclean looking as well, but that could have been from a previous camper using it. Gary said the men’s was clean.

We visited the Boiling Springs near the rangers’ office and were a little disappointed by it. It was merely a small square pond enclosure where the spring water bubbled up through the silt in the bottom in two places. So unimpressed were we, no photos of the spring were taken.

There are numerous nature trails and springs throughout the park, but our schedule was too tight so we didn’t take time out to explore them. Perhaps another time.

We only had a few shops to do in this area, but it was an area we had both always wanted to visit so we did the jobs quickly and then went exploring for one afternoon at the natural wonders not far from the campground.

First stop was the Little Sahara near Orienta, OK. To find a sand dune area of this type so close to such a rich woodland seemed strange indeed. It seems to be a favorite spot for four wheeler enthusiasts as everything in the area was geared toward them.

We had originally planned on camping at this state park but had changed our mind at the last minute. I’m certainly glad we did. Perhaps it was simply because it was a Monday and the trash people hadn’t arrived by the afternoon time we were there but the campground was dirty. All the dumpsters were overflowing and debris was blowing around in the stiff wind that gusted around us.

We drove around for a while looking for walking trails to see the dunes from, or perhaps an overlook but found none so we went to the Ranger Station and inquired about a location to take photos from. She was extremely helpful and soon we were at an area that only required a hike up a steep sandy grade near one of the campgrounds.

No four wheelers where on the dunes when we finally made it up the steep grade and we were glad we could enjoy the beauty of it without them. Wildflowers hugged the edge of the trail we walked on, with sunflowers being abundant everywhere.

Watching the sand blow on the distant dunes made us both think of all the movies we’d seen that took place in the desert areas. It also gave us an even bigger respect for our troops that fight in the deserts of the world.

While it is not a large desert it is still awe inspiring.

After several photos were snapped we made our way back down the dune to stand outside the truck and pick goat head stickers from our clothing for several minutes. Then it was on down the road to see the Gloss/Glass Mountains.

Originally called Glass Mountains are a series of selenite filled mesas that glisten in the sunlight like glass.  A transcription error in 1875 that turned the a in Glass to an O created the name conflict of Glass/Gloss.  Both are considered correct.

We nearly missed the area to view these mountains, near Fairview, OK on highway 412,  because it is not well marked. There is a single sign that says scenic turnout on it. Gary just happened to be in the correct lane and was able to pull in at the last minute. It’s unclear at first whether or not you can drive down into the area from the highway information area, so I’ll clear it up for you right now and save you a walk. You can. There is a nice parking lot and picnic area at the end of the road.

I walked down to find this out and then Gary brought the truck and camera down. In our younger and slimmer years we might have followed the young European couple that scrambled up the steep stair case from the valley to the mountain top for a panoramic view, but not now. We opted instead for the 300 foot long walk on the handicap accessible walkway down to the Horse Shoe Bend area. The view there was great.

Please note in this and most other national and state parks the taking of rocks is forbidden. However, here they do have small containers of samples of the rocks/crystals supplied for exactly that purpose. I am a person who loves rocks of all types so I was very pleased I could legally take a sample of both the white and green/gray selenite crystals  from one of these bins with me.

It was overcast when we first arrived and we were a little disappointed that we weren’t going to be able to see the mountains shine. Just as we headed back to the truck the sun came out and we were rewarded with a shimmering hillside. It was something to see.

From the Glass Mountains we journeyed on to the Sod House Museum. at Aline, OK.  The soddy was once the home of Marshall McCully.   The caretaker was coming out of the museum in which the sod house is preserved just as we arrived. We are very lucky we arrived when we did. It turns out it is normally closed on Mondays but she happened to be there on other business and generously invited us in.

It is a small well kept museum with articles from the time period as well as the soddy. She was so nice to give us a private tour and talk to us about everything from sod house construction to quilt making and customs of the times we felt very lucky to have ran into her. You can read more about the soddy at

We would have liked to have spent time at the Salt Plains and Alabaster Caverns while in the area as well, but once again time was our slave driver. So it was back to the camper to have dinner with the even larger herd of deer and an early bedtime because we were moving on the next morning.

Camping fees for electric at water at this campground were $18 or $16 for senior citizens.  It has a large picnic area that would be perfect for a family reunion with picnic tables set close together for such gatherings.

Jan who loves to tour natural and historic things such as we saw this day in OK


  1. Its too bad you didnt get a chance to see the Salt Plains! They are soo well worth seeing. We took a trip there when the boys were little and they got to dig for crystals. Its still to this my oldest sons favorite family vacation..even though it was probably the least expensive one that we ever took!

  2. We plan on making it there sooner or later. Since we are Oklahoma based all rotations home will be from the Tulsa area, so sooner or later we'll get there. It's on our MUST see list.

  3. Jan, just read your last three post in a row, and they fascinate me.
    Dermot will be so jealous when I tell him about that bluegrass festival, you made it sound great.
    I hope the rest of your adventure will be as good as it has been so far, and can't wait to read about it.

  4. You guys must plan on being their next fall it is really good and I'd love to meet you there. Jan who is currently in Amarillo, TX and enjoying a balmy 79 degrees while away from OK