Okie Adventures: Sulphur, OK

Sulphur mural at sunset...

Every year for our anniversary we try to take at least a short, humble getaway. Some years we do it up big, but most trips are in-state. This year we went to Sulphur and spent time in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. I chose this location to show my husband, as he is always wary of summer heat and one of my earliest camping memories involve begging my parents to let me keep swimming in the freezing cold water through chattering teeth. I was sure he would love the cold springs and the swimming holes with their pretty waterfalls, and I aspired to hike an 8-mile loop around the Rock Creek Multi-use Trails.

For lodgings we found a cozy place called Hideaway Cabin that was halfway between Sulphur and Davis - making it also a hop-skip-and-jump away from Turner Falls, which we did not visit on this trip. The cabin is small and sweet, and what struck me the most about it was the courtesy of the owner. She had equipped the cabin with everything a person could want, and left helpful maps, brochures, and handwritten notes in various locations. She also made herself available to us over the phone for any question, any time during our stay - a courtesy we tried not to use. 

Hideaway Cabin

Cabin's Firepit

We did a short get-acquainted hike Friday night and went for the "big" 8-mile hike Saturday morning. It was a nice trail, not too developed but not so wild that we couldn't tell where we were going (although we did stray once, and it didn't take us long to realize our mistake and backtrack). I had expected most of the trail to be wooded, but it was mostly sun - if there were trees, the trail often skirted around them. This was tough for a hot summer day but at least we got to see a great variety of field flowers and insects this way. Unfortunately we were unable to do the entire 8-mile loop. Due to the heat of the day and the levels of our water rations (I drank 2 liters in no time flat, it seems!) we turned around and only managed to complete about 6 miles of it. I think we could have done it if we had started earlier than we did, but we spent too much time relishing our breakfast. Which was quite good, in our defense. :) Sausage and eggs. I also spent some fun trail time teaching the hubby how to identify trees with the dichotomous key in my best tree book

Butterfly Weed

Hubby inspects Horsemint

Hiking in the Cross Timbers

We had the obligatory swim at Little Niagara (very refreshing after our long hot hike!), along with some tastes from the mineral springs at the Pavillion. It tasted and smelled just exactly like hard boiled eggs... so I spent all weekend thinking about eggs!  I boiled a batch to eat as soon as I got home. Your brief history lesson here is that the city of Sulphur is named after (and here because of) these springs - Sulphur has been famous for the mineral water here for generations. Many people believe it has healing properties. This particular spring had the mineral content in ppm posted on the wall.

Pavillion Springs

We really enjoyed the free Saturday night "Movies On the Plaza" hosted by Sulphur's Chamber of Commerce. (It was the 2010 True Grit, and it was very good!  I especially enjoyed hearing all the Oklahoma place names in the movie.) As we drove back to the cabin after the movie, the moon was enormous, orange, and low on the horizon in spectacular fashion.

Movies on the Plaza

Wildlife spotted:
Bald Eagle (out of season even!)
Numerous scissor-tailed flycatchers
doe with her fawn
Other birds and fishes

Delicious and interesting things that went in my mouth:
Sulphur's famous mineral water
Roma's "Chicken Damabianka"
Rusty Nail Winery's "Love Potion #15"
S'mores and roasted dogs galore



Living in Oklahoma, we here the word “resilience” a lot over the course of a lifetime. Resilience is the adjective for communities following tornadoes, floods, ice storms, and economic swings. Resilience is the word used for Dust Bowl Okies and rugged frontiersman in history text books.  And as much as I think I know about community resilience and even the resilience of nature – still I find myself in awe.

A few weeks ago my humble home got hit with baseball-sized hail on one exciting and noisy evening. (Like many of us, my roof and car still need repair!) I did not mind my property damage terribly much – after all, we have insurance and this will be the first time we have really had to use it – we are usually fortunate, but it was bound to happen eventually.  The thing that upset me the most, actually, was my garden.
It looked obliterated after the hail storm. I had a row of okra that was smashed so terribly, you could not even tell it had been there at all. I had some healthy cantaloupe plants whose wide stems had been torn wide open and all their leaves shattered. My canna lilies were shredded, bearing a strong resemblance to palm fronds.  My Russian sage (my favorite plant) was snapped off on all the stems. My bell pepper was a twig coming out of the ground.

But the shocking thing is that the only casualties were the obliterated (Possibly  vaporized?) okra plants. Some of the others still struggle – my celosia is probably never going to be beautiful again, and my Russian sage is still short and bent at odd angles. But many of the other plants look as though nothing ever happened! The cannas have replaced their shredded leaves with wide happy ones. The strawberries have started to produce again. And most shocking, the cantaloupe is happier than it has ever been, growing quickly and producing copious amounts of blooms and baby melons, despite being opened and shattered. I was certain that at least one of the melons would die, and even more certain that I would lose a few of the vines where the stems had been broken. But none of it died. Can you believe that? This year there shall be melons galore.

So, even for the most smashed and damaged looking plants – Resilience! They are as much Okie as the rest of us. 


Blog Organization

I have been thinking about this blog, what I like about other blogs, and what I might like to see on this one. One of my hang-ups is that I most love for every post to have nice imagery (Nod to jeremyandkathleen, who is awesome at this), and I am a little too lazy to take photos for every story and also hesitant to post a story without a photo. I will work on that. But that’s not all I’ve been thinking about.

 I like it when blogs have series. I think it feeds into my irrational desire to organize things that don’t need to be organized (I am the girl with the categorized, alphabetized CD collection and the closet that is sorted first by garment type and then by ROYGBIV). More than that, I feel that having a blog series is functional because it serves as another path to inspiration, because I can use it as a tool to muse over categories of things.

So, these are my categories now, as they stand. I hope to some day learn how to give each series its own tab with reasonable amounts of effort, but for now I’ll just add the name of the series in the title and tag so that it is easily searchable. Or perhaps list the tags strategically in the side bar? Hmmm. Not every post will fall under one of these categories, but they seem to be a good starting point.

Oklahoma Adventures–  This is where I post about interesting things in and around the state. This might have stories about events I attended or places I visited, or even places I plan and long to visit.
EcoHoma – General information about Oklahoma that strikes me as interesting. News, science, events, etc. My “We arenot boring” rant fits under this category, for example.
Rock Star EcoHomans – This is for interviews and stories on Oklahoma based businesses and people.  
Rock Star Scientists – I would like to do some interviews with science professionals who do interesting and exciting things. Science folks who don’t fit the stereotype, have grand adventures, and unique lives. (This series is inspired by this article on Wired Science, if you are interested)
EcoMe – Are my adventures and misadventures in greening my life and/or leading an ecologically driven lifestyle.
Okie Reviews – If I feel moved to do so, I may share some reviews of stuff and things with you. Because I can get strangely passionate over a really good concert, documentary, or radio program.
EcoIcons – I know I started this series with a post on my dear Aldo Leopold, but I am not sure how much farther I will take it. There are certainly other people that can be added. I doubt if there would be much interest out there for this one... since you can look up all this info on your own.

What do you think? Too many? Not enough? Think I’m silly and I don’t need to alphabetize my CD collection? I know it has been a while but I do have aspirations. Some feedback would help on the directional and motivational end.

…and yes, I am watching the score of the Thunder game while I post this.