We opted to take a one-day out and back trip to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge this Labor Day weekend and had a great time. The journey was better with our dear friends the Powell's. But this entire trip was less than a tankful of gas.. Crazy as it sounds, we have lived in Central OK for the last 18 years and never been specifically to this area - our loss for sure.. It is quite beautiful and worth the quick drive from OKC. (~2hrs). And when you can go with great friends - trips (like this) are even more fun and full of memories.. We did laugh significantly!
Leaving El Reno ~10am we took a quick drive to Meers, OK to the famous eating establishment The Meers Store & Restaurant. Well known for its large pie-plate size burgers.. which I had never had to this point in life. Food was good - and while I desired to see a much larger burger, it was perfect to split with my wife. The ambiance of the store/restaurant was very interesting with old car tags, all kinds of memorabilia from the many years this place has been in business. We had the Meersburger with everything, onion rings, fries and a diet RC cola. Cool to see they served RC - hadn't had RC in many years. Our trip-mates also enjoyed nearly the same food and we all split some good ol' fried okra. Get to the this place early! We got there about 11:15-11:30 and while we still had to stand in line, the line grew dramatically (as in out the door) the closer it approached noon. I think 7 of us ate lunch for $64 and that included the tip..not bad for good food!
The plan, from the get go, was to eat lunch early (at Meers) and then work it off with a few hikes up the Wichita Mountain Refuge trails. We opted to check out the Holy City where the Easter Passion Play is held each year. Interesting place.. and something (the Passion Play) we'd like to see in the future. We quickly toured the area and saw all the great "biblical" locations used in the play. The area here, too, is also very reminiscent of Eastern NM. NEXT, we checked out (via the CAR) the small Lake Jed Johnson and zipped on up to Lake Quanah Parker and took a quick hike across the dam and then to the top of boulder/rocks/mountain to the West.
This brief hike reminded Sam and I of the pack trip on Kaibab Trail down the North Rim of the Grand Canyon 18 years ago.. another great memory.. We drove a bit further to see the Prairie Dog town and then to the next hiking trail - it was getting pretty hot so we cut it short of the peak. NOTE: TAKE WATER on the hikes in this area and make sure you pack your trash out.. It was pretty sad to see a Longhorn eating a plastic water bottle - humans are really foolish trashing God's creation. And while it was a very beautiful place the evidence of littering is everywhere. So, please don't litter. They don't have many receptacles - so be prepared to keep it with you.
Well, after we all sweat a few gallons we took off for Medicine Park to check out the town and see what kind of ice cream we could find. BINGO.. the ice cream at Medicine Park Ice Cream & Candy Co was incredible.. Hand/homemade, huge serving and COLD.. We sat in the shade, cooled off and laughed a little more. While in MP.. the Mayors Blues Festival was actually happening so we had a real treat of some great music too. But what a great place.. Medicine Park was a really quaint location with a "river walk" as it were.. and a few nice restaurants if we'd have stuck around.. We WILL check into renting a cabin and enjoying this town again.
Our little journey was full of good food, lots of laughs and great memories. We were back home by about 9:15 and ready to hit the rack! What a great time ... total cost of the day.. PRICELESS!
So, what's next? hmmm.