Sunday, November 27, 2005

Paddling the Deep Fork River from the New Highway 266 Bridge

Excellent Kayak Launch Point Between Dewar and Grayson

Dianne and I paddled the bit of Deep Fork River pictured in the last post yesterday. The winds, clouds and weather forecasts did not sound too favorable, but I just had to get some excercise. If I can't paddle, my job keeps me wound up tighter than a banjo string, so we decided to risk it anyway. We were blessed. Although it did sprinkle on us a some and offered very little sunshine for our pictures, we had a great time on the river and emerged only lightly damp.

This was our first time paddling Deep Fork at this put-in and we were impressed. There is a nice road leading underneath the new Deep Fork River bridge on Highway 266 beteen Dewar and Grayson, Oklahoma. You can park a good distance off the highway, yet close to the water. We were able to easily launch kayaks from under the new bridge and paddle either way for quite a distance! Although it is quite curvy, the river channel is both deep and wide here and not nearly as clogged up with logjams as most of the Deep Fork River. Naturally, there is not much current in this very dry year. You have to actually enjoy paddling as this is no 'float trip'. We paddled upstream for about four miles and then paddled back to our put-in without much difference in speed.

This is a great time to paddle this leg of the river as the trees are quite colorful now and the area is teaming with wildlife. At one point early in the trip, we slowed the paddling pace for awhile to concentrate on paddling quietly. It's an important skill if you like observing the local critters. After a few minutes of quiet padling, we were rewarded with this Oklahoma beaver shot...you can't beat that! More pictures from the area are on Flickr.

We are looking forward to launching from this put-in again soon and paddling the other direction a few miles. It is a crying shame that so many good river put-ins on our Oklahoma highways have been closed in recent years. This is an example of one community that has kept their river crossing, even in the midst of new road development in the area. I hope to learn about more places like this in Oklahoma. I'm listing them on my Oklahoma Paddling Fun page, mostly for my own reference. Send me an email or leave a comment on the blog if you can reccomend any good Oklahoma river put-ins for kayaking.

I wonder if that local restaraunt owner noticed our yaks in the parking lot and the business a little bit of dirt road underneath the highway bridge brought him? IMHO, Communities that steward these resources wisely, rather than discarding them to reduce litter, loitering or other temporary nuisance, are likely to benefit from the growing popularity of Oklahoma kayaking.

One thing is certain, buying our kayaks has given Dianne and myself a new appreciation for the state of Oklahoma and the quality of life to be had here...and you can't beat that either.

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