Southwest Oklahoma Expedition – January 2021 Part 2 (Post #591) 2/2/2021

If you missed Part 1, jump over to that post and catch up (the link is after the break). Or don’t, this is still a free country, more or less, depending on who you ask. What follows is Day 2 of the Great Southwest Oklahoma Expedition! See there, this trip just got more awesome the more we drove!

Continue reading “Southwest Oklahoma Expedition – January 2021 Part 2 (Post #591) 2/2/2021”

More Bears? (Post #578) 5/9/2018

Bears?

When did bears become a thing in the first place?

Actually I’ve known the bears were back for a few years. We were down in southeast Oklahoma around 10 years ago and all the trails had bear warnings.

These aren’t grizzly bears, they aren’t even brown bears, they are black bears. Think of them as smaller man-sized bears that, like there ferocious cousins, will kill you if you are stupid. Imagine the scene from The Revenent but the bear is smaller.

When in bear country, read that as Oklahoma and Arkansas, you should always take bear precautions. As always keep your food up high, make plenty of noise when hiking trails.

Apparently there are many misconceptions about bears. Some people think taking a selfie is a great idea. There was a recent news story about a bear enthusiast who was killed along with his girlfriend while trying to take a selfie with a grizzly bear. I call that natural selection at work. It’s just dumb.

In the unlikely event a bear charges to attack, you should aggressively fight back against the bear, according to the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Do not attempt to “play dead” during a black bear attack, the agency says.

Good to know. I’m pretty sure after fighting a bear for 5 to 15 minutes I might appear to be “playing dead” but trust me I’m laying down because I’m out of shape and need a rest. I may have also run out of bullets. Maybe I will give a class on defending yourself from a bear attack by fighting like a rabid ninja turtle.

That quote from above is from KFOR who posted a news story about the increasing population of bears in Oklahoma. The heat map is a good start but be aware if you are on a river bed you can encounter bears.

Mountain Lions and Big Cats

I for one am much more afraid of our mountain lion population in Oklahoma. They have been seen all over the state, even in semi populous areas like the South Canadian River south of Norman and north of Newcastle Oklahoma. I recently saw the carcass of a small mountain lion in the median of highway 62 a mile and a half north of the river. I emailed the Oklahoma Wildlife Department and it was gone the next day. The OWD has had a stance in the recent past the denied the existence of big cats in Oklahoma. It’s hard to deny when you hear one at night.

So if the ice storms, tornados, earthquakes, prairie fires, bears, and mountain lions don’t get you, feral hogs just might.

Don’t even get me started on Bigfoot!

To wrap up,

  • bear selfies are a “hard no”
  • take bear precautions when camping east of I35 and up near Black Mesa
  • while less likely to be encountered, mountain lions are out there and they will mangle you too
  • feral pigs have a mean streak a mile wide and there is no daily limit

I feel better that I have provided this very valuable public service announcement.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering

Capulin Volcano and the Northwest Passage 2016, Part Two (Post #565) 1/19/2017

Day Two

This is part two of the Capulin Volcano Northwest Passage. We went to meet Fall and were not disappointed. She was in full force on the Volcano with a North wind putting a chill on things.

Warning this is a huge post with tons of pictures.

We drove to the Volcano. We stopped and took the obligatory picture with the National Park sign for Capulin Volcano. We headed on to the visitor center and paid the admission fee to the cute Park Ranger. We then drove to the parking lot near the top.

We hiked to the top. You can see a mountain range in Colorado and Black Mesa from the top. There are well marked signs that explain the lay of the land. We were woefully unready for the active Cougar area. It was a relief to find out they were warning us about the big cats and not 60 plus year old women.

We left the volcano and headed to Folsom, New Mexico. We stopped for some pictures at the Folsom Hotel and felt the call of the old west in the sleepy little town. A picture in the hotel window alerted us to the fact the Hole in the Wall Gang once frequented the area.

We headed toward Des Moines, New Mexico to pick up our gravel road to the state intersection. I feel like now is a good point to caution you about the availability of gasoline in these remote towns. We knew there would be few options and keeping a full tank was a priority. We even brought extra Gerry cans and filled them when we thought the chance to fill up might be in doubt. If you are planning this trip keep in mind how many miles you have planned to drive. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to know what kind of range you can get on a tank of fuel when you are driving 20-40 miles per hour. This is where I learned the fuel gauge on the BWB is not very indicative of the amount of fuel in the tank. It is weighted a little heavily toward the lower end. That will need to be investigated again.

We stopped for a pit stop in Des Moines and then out on to the plain to see what we could see. What we learned about electronic maps and how they are incredibly incorrect. There were several times where a road was named wrong or didn’t even exist.

Erik remembered there was a more scenic route and we made our way to find it. Turned out to be a very beautiful canyon to drive through. The roads were labelled like highways but were made of gravel. The driving was not technical. If it had rained the night before it might have been much more challenging.

 

We made Oklahoma and turned toward the corner of the state’s monument. We found it up the road from the Black Mesa trail-head. We hung out a while and took pictures. We also planned our next stop. In lieu of Black Mesa State Park we opted for Picture Canyon in Colorado. I’m so glad we did.

 

 

 

We left out of the Black Mesa area turned North at the “dinosaur bone” and headed toward Picture Canyon. On the way we stopped to see a rather large tarantula. He became very friendly and crawled up the leg of one of Erik’s friends. Whole lotta NO in that for me.

We also turned back to see where another apparent overlander had taken an unmarked trail. By the time we got back to him he was already headed back to the road. He said there was nothing to see up there except a windmill. I didn’t want to seem like we were following him or wanted him to feel uncomfortable so we kept it short and went in different directions.

If there hadn’t been signs telling us there was a canyon we may have never found it. It is literally a canyon in the middle of the Comanche National Grassland. You drive on rolling hills and out of nowhere there’s a canyon.

 

Panoramic view of the top
A panoramic view above the canyon.
We then took the hiking trail around the inside of the canyon. The history is awesome with several petroglyphs and an abandoned settlement. Pre-historic man used the canyon probably as a kill site for the millions of herd animals. They also most likely lived there. In the early 1900’s settlers tried to make a go of it by living in the canyon. Their rock house and most likely barn are still visible.

There are also caves. The caves are now caged off. The bats in the area are struggling to survive. The white-nosed fungus is basically Ebola for bats and scientist are trying to figure out what the cause is. Humans are one of the first culprits thus the cages at the entrances to caves throughout America.

We saw all the petroglyphs listed on the displays at the trailhead. It was a nice walk. We returned to camp and started dinner (seasoned chicken tenders, potatoes, rolls with honey butter). We ate and had some beers waiting for the big show. The big show was a completely dark sky with no light pollution. We could see the Milky Way and a bazillion stars. The meteor shower did not disappoint as well. We saw so many satellites we stopped even mentioning them.

We settled in for some much needed sleep after a long day on the trail.

I hope you enjoyed the galleries and I’ll post up the third day soon. Thanks for the retweets and forwarding the post.

Capulin Volcano Part One Here

Capulin Volcano Part Three Here

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering

Capulin Volcano and the Northwest Passage 2016, Part One (Post #564) 1/17/2017

I really wanted to get out on the trail this fall and I felt like it was my turn to plan and lead a trip. I looked for a non-OU-Football weekend and found two one in September and one in November. The initial inspiration for the Capulin Volcano trip was seeing a similar trip in OutdoorX4 magazine. We had some interest in the trip from several people in the Oklahoma Land Rover Owners group but in the end only two of us made the commitment to the overland adventure.

Day One

Mr. Fisher and I got the Big White Bus loaded and started out on a pleasant Saturday morning and headed to our rendezvous with Erik O’Neal and his Discovery 2 in Okarche, Oklahoma. Continue reading “Capulin Volcano and the Northwest Passage 2016, Part One (Post #564) 1/17/2017”

Big Pile of Maintenance (Post #528) 3/6/2015

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Its time for the first round of maintenance for our trip to S.C.A.R.R. I got a box of goodies from Rovah Farm. They are a “new to me” supplier out of Arkansas. I have trouble getting parts out of New England this time if year. Something about weather… blah, blah, blah, winter… blah, blah, blah, cancelled flights, yada, yada, yada. Following Okierover standard procedure I managed to order something that was out-of-stock. Rovah Farm let me know and we agreed to wait for everything before shipping. Once everything was in it was a two day delivery, his door to mine. Excellent. We lucked out and just missed our last winter blast which would have probably delayed the order. Continue reading “Big Pile of Maintenance (Post #528) 3/6/2015”