I posted some information about this awhile back. Here is some more details, courtesy of the state Tourism Department:
Broken Arrow ride set for October 17 and 18; Cycle Fandango registration under way
For those who say the journey is the purpose, Cycle Fandango is a must bicycle adventure. This first-ever Broken Arrow event is accepting registrations now for the ride scheduled for Oct. 17 and 18.
But unlike some rides where getting there is the goal, this ride embraces the trip…complete with beautiful scenery and a chance to cool off in a bubbling brook… search out mom and pop diners… and take time to enjoy local favorites…. and the stories of old timers.
“The two-day bicycle event is packed with adventure, culture, food and drink and plenty of old-fashioned fun”, said Tammy Fate of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce.
Cycle Fandango will start the evening of Oct. 16 at the Stonewood Hills area in Broken Arrow with bands at Los Cabos and the Cigar Box. Plus, there’ll be kayaking at Bass Pro and shopping at the Villages at Stonewood Hills.
Starting Saturday morning, Oct. 17, the ride will head out from the Holiday Inn Express Hotel near Bass Pro in Broken Arrow through the northeastern Oklahoma Arkansas River Valley Region and into the beautiful foothills of the Ozark Mountains to Greenleaf State Park.
On Saturday evening riders will enjoy chuck wagon food on a starry hilltop camp, overlooking Greenleaf Lake. A rock band will perform. Riders can also enjoy other Greenleaf activities such miniature golf, sand volleyball, canoeing and hiking on an 18-mile nature trail.
On Sunday after breakfast, the group takes off on a different route filled with other amazing adventures. Ride distances are approximately 65-70 miles each day, according to the Web site.
Pre-registration is ongoing until Sept. 25 at $60 per person. After Sept. 25, the cost per person is $65.
Go to www.cyclefandango.com for registration forms and more information, or call the Broken Arrow Area Chmaber of Commerce at 918.251.1518, or e-mail email@example.com.
So I was reading a thread on an outdoors forum and heard a story about a group that went camping near a lake and had a dangerous situation develop. It wasn’t a bear or a mountain lion, or bad weather. Instead, it was a rowdy group of guys in a pickup loaded down with booze, guns, ammo and loud music.
The truck nearly ran down the campers, with the people in the cab cussing out the people who were already there, basically accusing them of taking the campsite they wanted. They later went down to a nearby campsite and the mayhem really started. Loud music well into the night. Boorish behavior. Guns being fired. The nearby campers were a collection of parents, kids and grandparents, and they were understandably frightened by the ordeal.
Later that night, one of the guys from the truck came into the other campsite, asking for help in fixing a flat tire. An interesting favor to ask of someone you just got through cussing out. The people responded that they didn’t have the proper tool, but also complained to them about their behavior. This led to more cursing and a few threats before the innocent campers decided to bag it and leave. But first, not without getting a vehicle description and tag number.
Obviously, this is a horrible situation. What if someone got careless with a gun and shot one of the nearby campers? Was it wise to confront them? Do peaceful people just need to leave such camping areas and cede control of them to the hooligans? Does this make it to where you would feel the need to be armed?
This story is true, though I’m leaving some details (who was affected, the location) out, mainly because there could be legal action involved and I wouldn’t want to mess up any case that comes out of this. But it is one reason I enjoy backcountry camping over car camping. Hooligans tend to avoid enduring the rigors of finding isolation. But I’m curious what others might think or what they would do in a situation like this. I’d hate to think we have to give up public park areas to idiots. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.
Saw this video on CNN.com. Two questions pop into mind: Is this really “economic stimulus?” And, I wonder if Oklahoma will see any of this money? Here’s the video:
Some interesting videos from Ed Wardle, filmmaker and star of the upcoming National Geographic Channel program “Alone in the Wild.” Ed is trying to surive a few months in the wilds of Yukon Territory, Canada (just east of Alaska). He’s by himself with no support, similar to what you see in “Survivorman.” He’s been there a few weeks now, and the going is getting rough. I’m going to post three videos to show the progression of his past week.
First, Ed getting ready to move his camp (look at all that stuff he has to haul!):
Now, Ed’s agonizing walk through the wilds, where you can see how his experiment is taking its toll:
Finally, he calls it a day and has a minor (major?) victory to lift his spirits:
I found this progression of videos pretty enlightening. It’s not easy trying to make it in the wilderness.
Saw this on USA Today. Check out this link to see the top 10 places to see big animals.
News from the Chickasaw National Recreation Area (National Park Service):
SULPHUR — The National Park Service has closed swimming areas within the Chickasaw National Recreation Area due to unusually high bacterial levels. Testing of the water of Travertine Creek below the Colds Springs Campground confirmed the contamination, which may be due to a leak on a park sewage line discovered by park staff on Aug. 12. Park staff repaired the problem and cleared the sewage line early that afternoon, but will await further testing before reopening the affected swimming areas. Park rangers are investigating the potential causes of the leak.
The following swimming areas are temporarily closed until further notice:
Travertine Creek, west (downstream) of the Cold Springs Campground
Panther Falls, 0.3 miles east of U.S. 177 on the northeast Perimeter Road.
Black Sulphur Springs, 0.15 miles west of U.S. 177 on the northwest Perimeter Road.
Rock Creek, from U.S. 177 to the Lake of the Arbuckles
Testing shows that swimming areas east (upstream) of the Cold Springs Campground are not affected by the contamination and remain open. These locations include Garfield and Bear Falls, and Little Niagara. If testing reveals no contamination Friday afternoon, the effected swimming areas along Travertine Creek will reopen. Please call the Travertine Nature Center at 580 622-7234 for the current status of the swimming areas.
Perusing some of the cool places to go around Oklahoma, I remembered a place I visited a couple of years ago that left a favorable impression on me: Quartz Mountain State park and lake Altus-Lugert.
Here’s a write-up from OutdoorsOK.com:
Lake Altus-Lugert in southwest Oklahoma is located just east of Lugert. Lake Altus-Lugert has 49 miles of shoreline and 6,260 surface acres. Lake Altus-Lugert lies next to the unique and beautiful Quartz Mountain. The lake is surrounded by rock boulders and rolling granite mountains. Rainbow Trout are stocked for winter fishing during the annual trout season, which runs November through March. There is also a 3600 acre public hunting area north of the lake.
Talk about fun! Trout fishing, hiking, climbing, you name it.
During my visit there, my wife and I, plus her family stayed at a cabin near the state lodge. Nice, roomy, scenic, cheap. We had some great meals at the lodge (a place you need to see) and did some hiking around the hills that surround the lake.
Quartz Mountain State Park reminds me a lot of the Wichita Mountains. Same basic landscape, but the added benefit of a pretty cool lake in the middle.
For those of you who are into rock climbing, there are some well documented, superb routes in the area. Solid granite, lots of places to test your skills.
As with much of southwestern Oklahoma, I enjoy this part of the state particularly in the fall or winter. Fewer people, milder temps, and the snakes tend to be holed up during the colder months.
If you’ve read this blog much, you know I don’t mind traveling — sometimes a really long ways — to enjoy the outdoors. But there are a lot of places closer to home that are pretty incredible and won’t take multiple tanks of gas just to get there. Lake Altus-Lugert and Quartz Mountain State Park are a couple of such places.
Just had to share this link. I’ll admit to being more of a 5K guy, or much closer to that than what these people do. Click the link and check it out.
I saw this write-up online about Black Mesa, in the far northwest part of the Oklahoma Panhandle. The information is from the Nature Conservancy, which has done a lot of work to preserve America’s wild places. Check this out, and if you have the time and are in the mood, see this incredibly cool place while also standing atop Oklahoma’s highest point.
From The Nature Conservancy
Located in Cimarron County, the Black Mesa Nature Preserve consists of approximately 1,600 acres. In 1991, the Conservancy conveyed its property to the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department with restrictions regarding development and other use. The preserve protects about 60 percent of the mesa top in Oklahoma in addition to talus slopes and plains habitat. A native granite monument marks the highest point in Oklahoma — 4,973 feet above sea level.
The Black Mesa area supports 31 state rare species (23 plants and eight animals) and four community types. Here, the Rocky Mountains meet the shortgrass prairie and it is unique in that it represents an area where many species are at the easternmost or westernmost portions of their range.
Vegetation on the top of the nearly flat mesa comprises a Bluestem-grama shortgrass community. The mesa’s talus slopes support a one-seed juniper/shrub oak community, while similar slopes of neighboring smaller buttes support a one-seed juniper/pinyon woodland community. The plains below the mesa support a shortgrass prairie.
Black Mesa is a birder’s paradise any time of the year. Golden eagles, scaled quail, black-billed magpies and pinyon jays are just a few of the birds that may be observed. Black bear, bobcat, mountain lion, mule deer, bighorn sheep and antelope are some of the mammals that may be seen in the mesa region.
The preserve is open dawn to dusk only. Allow at least four hours to walk from the parking area to the top of the mesa and back. No restrooms are located on the preserve and camping is not allowed, but both are available at Black Mesa State Park, about 15 miles away. For more information, call 1-800-654-8240 or go to the Oklahoma State Parks Web site.
Directions: Follow State Highway 325 west 35 miles, toward Kenton, to a blacktop road marked “Colorado” and turn north (right). Drive five miles to the preserve parking area on the west side of the road.
Most of the things I post here have to do with activities here in Oklahoma, things close to home or people from here living out their outdoor adventures wherever they may be.
Today will be a little different. Out There is really going “out there,” as in the southeast Asian nation of Thailand.
Thailand has long been a major tourist destination, especially among Europeans and other Asians. It’s catching on in America as well.
But aside from the beaches in and around Phuket and, let’s just say some of the more “interesting” attractions of Bangkok, Thailand is becoming more well known for its outdoors opportunities. Particularly in southern Thailand’s Phang Nga Province.
Rock climbers are finding out that this area of the world offers some prime limestone rock walls and countless opportunities for first ascents, as many of the mountainous regions of Phang Nga haven’t been climbed all that much.
Before I go on, let me offer a disclaimer. I’m not much of a rock climber. I have little experience here, but what I can do is relay information. That said, let’s move on.
The prevalence of limestone mountains and steady erosion caused by heavy rains have given Phang Nga a radical landscape of vertical rock faces scattered across the Malay Peninsula. Some are inland, some are along the coasts. Either way, there’s lots of places to test your skills.
I was there a year ago and managed to play around on some Class 3 and 4 scrambling sections. I can’t report much there except that the rock is mostly solid, there are tons of handholds/footholds and some of the rock walls are 200 feet or more. Online reports I’ve read offer caution, as some limestone sections can be rotten on the surface or, at times, underneath what appears to be solid rock. Always test those holds.
Erosion has worn some holds down to some pretty sharp edges. So you can expect rough treatment on your hands, feet and knees. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
And one last admonition from a friend of mine who lives there: Where there is jungle, there are snakes. Some are poisonous (vipers, cobras). And they like to hide out in the brush and cracks on the rock faces.
Despite all this, I saw plenty of people who tried their luck on the rock walls. You can expect sheer faces, overhangs and good crack climbing. Some routes pointed out to me rated 5.8 or higher (way above my meager skills).
Some bonus activity: In the areas around Krabi and Railay, you can find some pretty cool caves to explore. One cave near Railay went through the middle of a cliff and opened up to the other side overlooking a pristine bay. A little Class 3 scrambling had to be done inside the cave, and be sure to bring a headlamp.
Eco-tour outfits also offer open water kayaking and snorkeling. And yeah, the beaches are superb.
One last piece of advice: Do your homework on your target areas and stay away from the pricier lodging in Phuket, Krabi or Railay. Instead, find an inexpensive guest house in Phang Nga city and use that as your base. You’ll have to sacrifice some western-style amenities, but you’ll save a lot of money on lodging and you’ll be able to eat cheaper in Phang Nga than you would in the more touristy areas.