Wichita Wildlife Refuge , Lawton Ok.
Wichita Wildlife Refuge - Trip report for Sept. 2002

Wichita Wildlife Refuge    WWR Rock Climbing    Camp Doris Map:     Fall Foliage Walk 1:30pm Oct 21     Forecast: WWR     WWR Driving Maps:    

Gclub members and friends headed to Wichita Wildlife refuge Friday evening after work. We all mustered up at Camp Doris in the walk in sites 19-20. The air was cool, the skies were clear, the stars were out. Note that I did not mention stopping to pick up the park brochure! It matters, . After arriving, I found myself excited to be there, ready to visit with friends. We began the night by setting up our tents and having a visit from the park ranger at 11pm. This should have been a clue that enforcement was full force. This being the first time I have ever seen a park ranger in the WWR after 7 or 8 visits over the years.
Unfortunately, we did not think much of it. He asked if we had alcohol, Yes, Brent brought a wonderful Marlowe , However we said no, thank goodness, Our first Federal Violation. After everyone was unpacked and settled in, I decided to go for my regular arrival walk, late at night, up the hill behind the campground. This will be our Second Federal Violation , no night hiking. The hike and view from the hill was wonderful. Fortunately, we did not get caught, even though we were walking with lights, talking, laughing, and basically ambling around the whole place at 1:30am.

Next morning found us getting up late and beginning the day with breakfast at camp. Mostly oatmeal and hot coffee. After breakfast, we all headed to the Narrows, for a wonderful day of walking with the anticipation of a good swim in a nice swim hole along the way. Our planned third federal violation, no swimming on WWR grounds. Those joining us for this morning walk were Joe, Sadia, Olé, Beth , Richard , Michael , James and Ms. Mae, Richards baby , child and canine friend.
All the two legged travelers found the hiking great and not too difficult, however, Ms. Mae who does not like to get her toes wet, found the whole idea of traipsing over rocks, and through water too much and decided she had had enough. Her daddy Richard, lead her back to safety of Camp Doris and a good afternoon snooze. The rest of us continued along the valley and had lunch under a cluster of Cross-timber Oaks. After lunch we decided to head back the way we came due to everyone being low on water and looking for a good afternoon swim to refresh ourselves. We having not found a good swim hole along the way.

Once we left the Narrows it was off to the Prairie dog town for a little laugh , some nice picture taking and observations.

After about a half hour we decided to head back to camp for a little kayaking and to partake in that wonderful swim finally.

It all went well with the kayak's and fortunately, kayaking is a legal activity on Quana Parker lake behind the camp Doris camping area. Unfortunately, the waters were just too enticing, and no sign-age definitively stating "no swimming" lulled , Brent, Joe and me into splashing around near the kayakers. With our exclamations about how wonderful the water was, we managed to talk Sadia out of her "LEGAL" kayak and into her "Ill-legal" swim suite. It was about then that we heard the horn and the "request" to make our way to the opposite shore by a Parks and Wildlife Officer. He was professionally trained to "Establish" control and came off quite dominate and rude at first, however, shortly he realized, A, We were not drunk or drinking, B. We are all from someplace else and the fact that our group was made up of such a diverse group of individuals seemed to interest him. So he became polite and it looked like we might have gotten off with a warning if he had not been "called in for backup" by another officer. There would have been someone else to justify letting us go. So at lass we received our first "ticket" for our many violations of park rules. Cost: $150.00 per person. How as the water? Great! I must say, "You get what you pay for:-)" Once we all got our tickets, we headed back to the campsite and got ready for dinner. We were all anticipating another great evening at the Dance Hall in Medicine Park, unfortunately local, activities would not favor us, the dance hall is now closed, hopefully to be re-opened soon. Dinner was at a less than spectacular place called the Riverside Cafe. The dinner was ok, however, the operations are not well run, and everything from table seating, to order taking to food delivery was done with good humor , charm, however not much experience or expertise. Though we would return if we were in the area.

Sunday saw us all heading out, Richard, headed back to Dallas to Ms. Mae's great relief. Sadia and Olé, requested shuttle service to the Wichita River, A.K.A. River of the Damned. We were sure the river was going to eat them up and leave our dear friends missing in action, lost somewhere below the bridge, this was not far from the truth. Actually, lost, delayed , late and way over worked was how they ended their wonderful day on the river. Brent, James , Beth and Michael shuttled down to the put in place, then we all agreed to take their car down to Hwy 53 on the way to Gene Autry. Un-fortunately the river guide book was not updated and showed two bridges. The first bridge was on a gravel road and had been washed out some years before. The first bridge Sadia and Olé came to was actually the second bridge on the map. Here is where the technique of "local voting" helps, they asked some fishermen if they had seen their van up at the top , they had not and suggested they go on downstream another 1.5 miles to the next bridge, which had a good take out and parking area. This being the first bridge they encountered, it seemed plausible that the next bridge might be the correct take place, so off they went at 8pm , just at dusk to the next bridge.

Once , Sadia and Olé, reached the second bridge, they knew they had made a mistake, and then it was nothing but a good long slog against the current back, strong muscles and endurance that brought them kayaking up stream 1.5 miles to the "Second" bridge. They arrived worn, tired, hungry at around 2am! Ok, Federal Violation number four! Navigating a water vehicle after dark without running lights!

Trip Summary
1. This trip leader will DEFINITELY READ the RULES.
2. We will definitely go back, the park is wonderful.
3. We will try and be good boys and girls at least on Federally managed property in the future.
4. Trips don't always turn out the way you expect, however, with a little good humor , flexibility and a "expense" reserve, Good times will be had on our trips.

© Gay Outdoor club (Dallas, Texas, USA)

See Event photos link for pictures.

Directions: From North Dallas: During rush hour:) I-75 north to 360 east.
From Dallas : Non-rush hour: I-30 East to Greenville.