Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My day started with an early morning run. I was eager to go running in Sulphur. I set the alarm for 5:50 am and was out the door by 6:15. We were staying at the Super 8 motel which was a little ways from the entrance of the park. I decided to start running that way and to see what time it was when I got to the Park to see how much I would be able to run through it. I turned at 12th Street and was at about 12 minutes when I hit the entrance of the park...I decided to run through the park and come out the main entrance so I could run through at least a little bit of the park.

I hadn't been in there long when I stopped....right in front of me was a white possum! It looked at me, turned, and ran back into the woods. I was excited to see that my animal sighting magic was still with me! A few steps more and there were a few deer! I was so excited and knew that this was the way I was supposed to run!

I ran to Lincoln Bridge without any more animal sightings, but thoroughly enjoying the scenery. The sun wasn't up yet, it was pretty cool (compared to how I remembered it!), and it was very tranquil. I ran through Flower Park and back onto the main drag and back toward Super 8. I didn't stop there though....I pushed a little farther to McD's...I couldn't resist stopping in for my large vanilla iced coffee! Woohoo! I was energized for the day!

Our group's day started with a talk at the Point to discuss the recreation side of the park and then we drove to Turner Falls--not a National Park but to discuss why not and it's effects on Chickasaw as a National Park.

From there we drove toward the Witchita Mountains. Again, not a National Park but an important story to tell and misconceptions to clear up.

We had lunch at a great restaurant called The Plantation in Medicine Creek.

Post lunch we drove to the top of Mount Scott....

Here's Eugene at the top!

The night before, Eugene's mom gave Eugene flags to share with everyone....so we took a group shot on the top of Mount Scott with our US flags! Fun!


Yay Carla and Socrates!

Of course everyone took a ton of photos on top of the mountain!

Christine collected everyone's flags and was sporting a very patriotic look! :)

On the way down, we stopped and learned about skee (I think that's what it's called--I'm suddenly doubting myself because I can't find the geographic definition of it online to confirm!)...it's where there is a landslide of rocks that is smooth....this was huge!

Then, onto Prairie Dog Town! :)

I eagerly took pics with my iPhone and shared them with Owen...

There were several younger pups and they frolicked near the people as mom sat in the background and watched.

But when a Beagle on a leash got too close, all of the little prairie dogs went into jump yip mode and were on high alert!

Of course, Buddy Bison had to have a picture on the range!

As we were getting read to leave the park, we spotted a REAL bison though!!!!

Always a beautiful and majestic site!

Completing another awesome and perfect day!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Our day in picture starts with the concrete Sooner in the parking lot of our hotel: Sooner Legends. Eric and I could not resist and took pictures of each other with him. :)

Then, it was on the bus and we were off!

In the rain....I could not believe that we woke up and boarded the bus with RAIN! I eagerly texted Lauren on the way to share, what I thought, was exciting news! :)

Magically, as we neared Sulphur, the sky started to lighten up and the rain started to clear. It was beautiful.

We arrived in the park and Eric shared a bit with us before starting our adventure for the day....

Eric spoke about the history of the springs...

and then, using Dakota's awesome teaching tool, the teachers made springs, and used spring water for their demonstrations!

We were then greeted by Shelly from the Chamber of Commerce who so sweetly and thoughtfully brought us a snack!

She even made us berry cake! How awesome! I was so excited to see her and couldn't believe how kind she had been to bring us water, fruit and cake! Thank you Shelly!

Then, it was on to Flower Park, with a quick photo opp at Lincoln Bridge with Eugene!

Carla introduced us to her sock monkey, Socrates, who is the mascot for her classroom! Socrates and Carla, had the first, of many pictures taken today. This one in Flower Park!

We visited Vendome Well and some, but not many, partook of the sulphur water here.

We saw deer!
Visited Bromide Pavilion...
Hiked to the top of Bromide Hill and enjoyed the view from the top!

and of course, took time to notice the ecotone as we boarded the bus.

From here we went to Mazzio's for lunch! YUM! A dreamy day indeed! Back on the bus, back to the park, driving through Sycamore Crossing (yes, even in the bus!), and to Travertine Nature Center!

We hike to Little Niagara.

Some went into the waters of Chickasaw....

took pictures...

did some hiking...
visited the End of the World....
and then went on to Buffalo and Antelope Springs!
My toes enjoyed the crisp, cool water of the springs...especially after our warm trek out there (even though it was much cooler than other times I have been out there!)

Eric pretended to scold a teacher in front of the Do Not Enter Water sign. :)

After our hike we went into the Nature Center to shop, and of course, STAMP Passports! This was Kelly's first stamp!

Dennis, a NPS enthusiast, and recent Passport stamper himself, helped teach Kelly how to stamp correctly.

We had more than just Kelly buying Passports, stickers, and stamping!

Wooohooo! STAMPS!
Ron greeted all of the teachers...and he and Eric also kindly presented me with my own NPS arrowhead of service and TRT fleece! I love it! I hope someone took a picture of it, because I would love to post one to this blog! It was so thoughtful and so utterly unexpected! THANK YOU RON, ERIC AND LAUREN!!!!
Our last activity at Chickasaw was working with the WPA posters! Each group of teachers investigated the posters and share what symbols, mottos and colors they found.

We ran out of time to make our own poster about Chickasaw, which I'm a little bummed about...I think they would have been great! There were great ideas out there! But time is always of the essence! :)

Later that night my roommate, Kelly, went online and ordered a set of postcards from Ranger Doug so she could do the activity in her classroom! Yahooo!!!

We left Chickasaw to head to dinner. Eric took this picture of me in front of the nature center, in my new TRT fleece, with Buddy Bison (thanks Mom!).....
On the way out though, we stopped at the Junior Ranger Station so that our new Passport stamp collectors could get the coveted Junior Ranger stamp! :)

We had dinner at the Arbuckle Historical Society, compliments of the Historical Society, but especially Eugene's parents! We all marveled at Eugene's father's arrowhead, with the golden buffalo chip, given to him upon his retirement from the National Park Service! :) Awesome!
Eugene's father, Roland Earsome, showed us around the Historical Society and share stories with us. He was wonderful to meet and to talk to!

We had a yummy BBQ dinner...

We all enjoyed seeing father and son interact--I think we all thought it was the best part about the evening!!! :)
Just before we pulled out to go to our hotel for the night, Eugene's father came on the bus and gave us a great calendar that had an historical fact for each day of the year for that town! It was awesome!
Another magical, fun day in Chickasaw National Recreation Area!