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Wichita Mts Oklahoma

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Offline Frau

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Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« on: January 12, 2011, 01:07:08 PM »
In case some of you noticed my absence from the Chat and maybe missed me: i am getting ready for my 1st camping/hiking trip to Wichita Mts. Oklahoma. Appreciate feed-back from those, who have been there!! Thanks, Frau

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Offline Frau

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Re: Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2011, 02:26:05 PM »
we missed you; thought you were already in the Wichita's

i  had to postpone. had a terrible cold, will leave next week!

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Offline bbbrain

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Re: Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2011, 04:29:12 PM »
awesome place.  we went three times last year.  buffalo and longhorns roam free and walk through your campsite.  700 elk on the property; also prairie dogs.  stop at the visitors center and buy the big topo map.  i can recommend the holy city, elk mountain, the narrows, and charon gardens wilderness for starters.

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Offline Frau

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Re: Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2011, 05:00:49 PM »
awesome place.  we went three times last year.  buffalo and longhorns roam free and walk through your campsite.  700 elk on the property; also prairie dogs.  stop at the visitors center and buy the big topo map.  i can recommend the holy city, elk mountain, the narrows, and charon gardens wilderness for starters.
this makes my heart bounce: THAT"S what i want to experience! Any primitive campsites besides the official one, you know of?? I guess, Charon Gardens is the official one?? Thanks, bbbrain!

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Offline bbbrain

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Re: Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2011, 05:06:33 PM »
no, the only primitive camping that i know of is in the charon'sgarden area.  i'll try to post some pics.

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Offline Frau

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Re: Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2011, 05:13:43 PM »
no, the only primitive camping that i know of is in the charon'sgarden area.  i'll try to post some pics.

thanks, looking forward to them!!

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Offline Frau

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Re: Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2011, 05:14:52 PM »
no, the only primitive camping that i know of is in the charon'sgarden area.  i'll try to post some pics.

thanks, looking forward to them!!


I am primarily a hiker, what are the trails like?

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Offline bbbrain

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Re: Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2011, 05:25:18 PM »
the trails are no problem for a hiker; they range from flat in the dog run hollow trail system to steeper in the narrows and elk mountain areas.

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Offline Frau

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Re: Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2011, 05:41:50 PM »
the trails are no problem for a hiker; they range from flat in the dog run hollow trail system to steeper in the narrows and elk mountain areas.
you must live close, since you have been there 3times this year? I am coming from Baton Rouge,LA

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Offline dkerr24

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Re: Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2011, 06:00:23 PM »
I live about 75 miles from the refuge, and mainly use it as a training ground for hikes in the west.  The trails range from very flat and easy to some minor scrambling on Elk Mountain. 

You have to be on the lookout for buffalo, as they tend to lay down in the middle of the trail.  I rounded a bend on the Dog Hollow Run trail and got within about 20 feet of a good sized bull before I even saw him.

Luckily, he wasn't too spooked and I simply gave him about a 50 yard berth as I walked around.

Only about half of the refuge is open to the general public.  The entire northern half of the area is fenced off, and used for open range for buffalo and elk.

On the negative side, the refuge borders on Ft Sill, which is the artillery training grounds for the US Army.  If you hear what sounds like thunder on a clear day, it is the firing of the 155mm howitzers.

Darin

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Offline bbbrain

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Offline JRD

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Re: Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2011, 06:02:00 PM »
Hard to beat waking up to trumpeting elk or running into a lone buffalo bull as you crest Elk Mountain.  Great place because of the wildlife.

It is first and foremost a wildlife preserve, so if you are in Charon Gardens the trails are not really marked.   Get a good map and or GPS.

The rock rooms / boulder field are a can't miss.  You can scramble over the top or I'm told you can go all the way underneath.  If you like bats check out the rock rooms at night!

Pics from Oct -

Buffalo:


Elk:


The Apple & Pear:

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Offline Picacho

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Re: Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2011, 06:39:25 PM »
The best place for backcountry camping is on the plateau between Sunset Peak and Mt. Mitchell. This is a pic from the summit of Sunset Peak looking over to Mt. Mitchell. The best camping is on the treeless areas on the left side of the photo. It will require you taking the trail towards Crab Eyes and then making a turn to the right (west) and bushwhacking over there staying high on the plateau. There will be some ups and downs and some route finding. You will start at the north entrance of Charon's Garden. I do not believe the trail to Crab Eyes is on the topo, so there will be some route finding just to find the trail. There are some nice flat areas to camp.



Here is the route on the topo from where you turn off from the Crab Eyes trail (labeled bushwhack begins on the map) to the best spot to camp (approximately at the L in National. Sometimes the camping area is trampled by buffalo and has some mud pies laying around, but normally you can find a nice place.



If you like scrambling, Mt. Mitchell's twin summits is a fun climb. It will require good route finding skills to keep the climbing out of the technical range. Be sure to do both summits. The are only about 20 feet apart but each one has a different challenge. The rocky summit(s) on the far left of the photo is the true summit. You can't see both rocks from this pic because they are too close. I thought at first Mt. Mitchell was Twin Rocks Mountain but it's not. Twin Rocks has only 1 rock. :-) Maybe they got them mixed up in the past.

Mt. Mitchell on SummitPost.
http://www.summitpost.org/mount-mitchell-massif/152837

The view from the summit of Sunset (there are 4 summits, I'm referring to the southern most one and the one the above photo was taken from) is a worthy one too and easier than Mt. Mitchell if you do it from the camping plateau.

The best trail in the park is through Charon's Garden from south to north. It's a great trail but it's only 2 miles long one way. Elk Mountain reflecting off of Post Oak Lake is a spectacular scene. Post Oak falls is a neat little place too but will be hard to find.

Another trail in the park that is a good one is The Narrows. This is primarily used as a climbers trail but is a nice trail even if you are not climbing. It is a bit rugged in places and can have some water along the trail if there has been recent rain.

A drive to the top of Mt. Scott is a must and a burger in Meers is another must. Don't judge the burger too harshly, it's the atmosphere that makes it special. Also if you get time, eat dinner at the restaurant in Medicine Park that overlooks the creek. Nice atmosphere there and fairly decent food. If you can find downtown Medicine Park, you'll find the restaurant. Downtown is just off the main highway before you get to the park entrance and Mt. Scott. You will cross an old wooden and metal bridge and then take a right to get to the restaurant.

O and you probably already know this, but backcountry camping requires a permit. Get one far in advance if you can.  Also, do not bring alcohol into the park, it's illegal to even possess it. 
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 09:54:14 PM by RichardM »

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Offline Frau

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Re: Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2011, 09:14:04 PM »
 Chat friends,thanks to all of you, for the detailed info, the pics and trail info! I get the impression, that this too is one of these"magical" places,which "soothes our soul" and gives us new perspective on our lives!
@dkerr24 should i be discouraged by the Artillery noise? Is it not disturbing to the roaming wild animals??
Cannot understand why they would put a Wildlife Refuge next to Army training grounds??
Do you think, i can get enough hiking in there? I like to do about 8 mi./day and i see all the trails are rather short, but maybe a good training ground for future BIBE excursions, as you said!
bbbrain wonderful pics, can see, why you love this place!
Picacho very helpful, detailed info, thanks!
JRD thanks for your great pics and info!

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Offline dkerr24

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Re: Wichita Mts Oklahoma
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2011, 10:48:13 PM »
I think the animals are used to the artillery noise, and it's not something that happens everyday.  Would be nice if there was a schedule of artillery practice so you'd know what days to get peace and quiet.

I've been there on days when there was no artillery practice and no jet trainers flying overhead... it is definitely a slice of heaven on those days.

Unlike BIBE, you're not all that far from civilization when you're at the refuge.  The city of Lawton is less than 20 miles away.  If you find you forgot something, it's not far to drive to resupply.

If you do camp overnight, do not be surprised to find buffalo wandering through your campsite at morning.  That has happened to me several times.  Buffalo are really not aggressive unless you provoke them.  Just remain quiet and make slow movements, and they'll amble off into the woods.  The buffalo there are used to seeing humans all the time, and I'd say they are no more aggressive than cattle.  If anything, they are just curious. 
If it is mating season, then all bets are off!


Darin

 


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