This week Dylan, Dianne and I made an unexpected trip to the Lawton, Oklahoma area due to a death in the family. I hate funerals and when I was younger I avoided them at all cost. As I get older, I have decided that the time my son gets to spend with his extended family is too short to ignore these types of gatherings.
They are pretty busy these days at the Fort Sill burial grounds, so we had trouble finding a room in nearby Altus. Lawton would have placed us a bit too far from where my family lives, so we got a room at Quartz Mountain Resort in nearby Lone Wolf, Oklahoma.
Quartz Mountain Resort
In addition to being one of the finest lodges in the State, it is also home to the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute (OSAI).
As a former OSAI student, I have fond memories of the park and its strange and unfamiliar landscape. The original lodge burned down a decade or so ago, so the lodge, restaurant, pool house, etc. are all much newer than the other state lodges. I'm glad we decided to stay here, we really enjoyed the immaculate room, great view, hiking trails and fancy restaurant on site. I only wish that we had brought our kayaks.
In addition to paddling the lake just outside of our room, we passed some apparently unoutfitted yet very interesting looking paddling waters near Apache, Oklahoma and Hinton, Oklahoma. If you know anything about paddling this part of Oklahoma, drop me a line. We are looking for sparkling waters winding through red rock bluffs more than whitewater adventures. I saw a few promising creeks though the car window as we sped home!
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
A fun thing to do while traveling near Altus or Fort Sill is to visit the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The park is located near Medicine Park, Oklahoma and there are many interesting sites and activities to enjoy. While we were passing through we visited a prairie dog town, the Holy City, saw many buffalo and drove to the top of Mount Scott (2464 feet). The view from the top of Mt. Scott is quite cool, my photos don't do it justice, but the light was kind of crappy due to all of the smoke in the sky.
As usual, you can see more pics from our trips by visiting our Flickr Photo Stream at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/freewine/