Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Part 2

This place is amazing. These two trails were very different than the first two trails. The first two trails had a bunch of water features and a summit. These two were destination hikes and out and backs. The only water were in small creeks and there was not a summit to be had. The only elevation changes were up long shallow hills and some quick steep inclines. I did not see any more bison but I did see a large copperhead. Once again finding trailheads and staying on the trail was challenging. I actually started hiking the wrong trail and was informed by a local that I was on the wrong trail. I was also informed that hiking poles are useless when going through the boulder field. Another  great bit of information was not to try the boulder field alone. The trek is not extremely treacherous but just challenging enough that most should not be alone. I soon found out that all the advice was spot on.

The first trail on this day was Charons Garden Trail but in hindsight I should have done Elk Mountain. This trail had some nice views of rock formations and my end was at the beginning of the boulder field. 20171001_110644.jpg20171001_113808.jpg20171001_111717.jpg20171001_120312.jpg20171001_120358.jpg20171001_114728.jpg

The second trail of the day was Crab Eyes Trail. I was tired by the time I started this hike. My legs felt like jello from the run earlier in the morning. I was still recovering from from the 10K and hikes yesterday also. I was determined to see the crab eyes though. I did a speed hike just to get close and then I knew I had to get back before my legs gave out. 20171001_123834.jpg20171001_123059.jpg20171001_124107.jpg20171001_124103.jpg20171001_124821.jpg20171001_124943.jpg

I got this close to the crab eyes. I actually timed my turn around perfect. My legs cramped up as soon as I got back to the car. It put me in a dilemma because I could not sit down without my leg cramping. I had the help of muscle cream and stretching to get me on my way. I will definitely be coming back. I have several places I want to hike. I might just need to take a week here just to get most of the trails hiked.

I am now caught up on all my hikes this year. I have one more trip planned. I will be going back to Arkansas to hopefully get two summit hikes and a few waterfalls also. I do have some trail running pics and stories I will use as fillers until I get back from Arkansas. I also will not be blogging as frequently. I also might throw in some lists because everybody likes a list.

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

I heard about this place on a random search for a place to run a trail race. I did not find a trail race but did find a quarter marathon race. I signed up for the race and did some research on the area around Lawton, OK. I found that the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge was minutes away and has some great hiking. I did not realize is that I was doing a 10K trail race the day before the quarter marathon race. My schedule was to wake up early Saturday and run a 10K trail race then drive three and half hours to Lawton, OK and hike in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. On Sunday, wake up early again and run a quarter marathon and then hike the Wichita Wildlife Refuge again and then make the return drive back home. I packed in a bunch of miles in one weekend. A total of 13 miles running and eight miles of hiking.

I love this place. I got to see bison and longhorns. Bison are the biggest animals I have ever seen. The mountains are beautiful and there are so many places to see and trails to hike. I had seven trails I wanted to hike. I settled on completing two and partial hiking two others. I got to summit a small mountain and walk across a dam. I did some bouldering and saw many small and large waterfalls. I hiked on grasslands and forest like areas. I met many friendly people and a copperhead snake.

On Saturday, I hiked the Kite Trail and Little Baldy Mountain. I saw the bison on this day on the way between the trails. Kite Trail ran along Lost Lake and large creek. I did most of my bouldering and waterfall watching on this trail.20170930_163839.jpg20170930_164242.jpg20170930_165904.jpg20170930_164500.jpg20170930_170451.jpg20170930_170058.jpg20170930_170617.jpg20170930_180254.jpg

There were so many more pictures but these were the ones I chose. The next hike was the summit of Little Baldy Mountain and a walk across a dam. This was the shortest of the four hikes but had the most elevation change. I also got lost several times on this hike and the previous hike. The trails were not marked at all as I found out. I had to talk to many people just to get to and stay on the correct trail.20170930_181958.jpg20170930_181900.jpg20170930_182743.jpg20170930_182311.jpg20170930_183749.jpg20170930_183746.jpg20170930_185522.jpg20170930_185648.jpg

I saw some cool balancing rock formations on both of these hikes. I wanted to get another hike in that day but I ran out of sunlight.

I will continue my Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge blog next with the second day of running and more hiking.