Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chicksaw National Recreation Area, Oklahoma

Hundred year old gothic style stone bridge
After leaving the Dallas area, we were all pretty well socially exhausted!  We drove through some nasty rain and brutal winds to Sulphur, Oklahoma  Steve had made reservations for four nights at The Point area campground in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.  What a beautiful area!  The campground had great sites...though the site he'd reserved was not a great fit for our rig.  The campground was virtually empty on our arrival though, so we just transferred our reservation to a neighboring site.  The sites are awesome here...spacious with separate parking for your tow vehicle.  Pretty low water pressure though.  The bathhouse seemed to be reasonably clean, but I can't say the showers were great because they just weren't.  The water is solar heated, and well, there wasn't much sun during our stay here!  In fact, the day we arrived was absolutely freezing!  We had a one day break from the rain, but it started back up again and rained for nearly 24 hours.  Beautiful place, but we didn't pick the best time weather-wise to be here.  That's okay though because we were all tired and kind of needed a day to regroup anyway, so it all worked out.

Buffalo Springs
We made the most of the best weather while we were here and checked out the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.  The Visitor Center had a touch table that Genna was delighted with...rather, she was delighted with the fake "scat" on the table!  Out exploring, we found lots & lots of great tent camping areas, lots of great trails, and lots of great swimming holes!  We played a rousing game of chase, a bit of hike'n seek, and then spent a good chunk of time dropping leaves & sticks into the falls on Travertine Creek & watching them go down.

Antelope Springs

There are also mineral springs here, which just don't smell so great...and don't taste so great either.  Hard to believe that this was such a booming area at one point with so many touting the health benefits of drinking this rather foul-smelling water.  It was like Yellowstone Deja vu -- nothing like that strong aroma of sulphur!  Some were brave enough to taste it, but I stood my ground and declined! :)

The three girls all worked hard and earned Junior Ranger badges & patches.  They even were able to tell the Rangers one thing about wildfires to earn an additional wildfire badge!  They also scored new pencils and erasers, definitely a good stop for them!  And Jake decided to take on exploring the nether regions of the employee area under Steve's watch.  While I took the girls to the bathroom, Steve was reading a book, and apparently, Jake took off behind the Ranger desk, down the hall, and into their library!  The boy can make fast tracks!  

It's hard to believe we missed out on this gem of a place while living in the Dallas area.  It's really not that far of a drive.  We were definitely not here at the right time in terms of weather, but we still had great times.  In the heat of summer, those swimming holes must be divine...and probably crowded.  Sooo...we traded in the experience of swimming for having the place nearly to ourselves.  Not a bad tradeoff, for sure!

The outside of Pavilion Springs.  People came from all over to drink this water. 
Alyssa having a drink of Pavilion Springs
This was a major tourist attraction in the 30's.   Doctors would write prescriptions for patients to drink this water.   The photo shows all the buildings that used to be here.
Alyssa was the only one brave enough to try drinking from Vendome well
What she thought about the water...the face tells it all!!
We had a rousing game of hide and seek by the Travertine creek.  This photo shows Genna's choice of "hiding" place.
Genna and mom at Little Niagara.   She had lots of fun putting leaves and sticks down the little stream.

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