This week I took off a couple days to enjoy one more road trip with Dylan and Dianne before the start of the school year. With the current low water conditions, we decided to head back to the Mountain Fork River. For the first time, my mother-in-law was joining us on the trip, so we decided to spend a little more money and rent a cabin in Hochatown.
Normally, when we paddle the Mt Fork River, we just grab a motel room but on this trip we also wanted to visit Beavers Bend Resort. Last Resort Cabins managed to find an available cabin for us right off of the road to Beavers Bend that had enough beds for Dylan, my mother-in-law and ourselves.
Our Cabin - Lucky Star Cabin
We stayed in the Lucky Star Cabin, just inside the Southern Hillls addition off Hwy 259A. It is a lovely cabin newly built and opened this July. The western-styled log cabin has a jacuzzi, large comfortable beds plus a fully equipped and supplied kitchen. A heat pump keeps the cabin comfy and if you can't find enough fun outside there is a big screen satelight televison with more channels than we could ever watch! We rented it at the last minute from Last Resort Cabins in Broken Bow. They were very easy to work with and we would definately consider renting from them again!
Paddling The Lower Mountain Fork River
As always, we had a great time paddling the lower Mt Fork River. Since it was mid-week, we saw almost no on else on the river despite getting a late start. Why did we get a late start? I have decided that cleanliness may be next to godliness, but it is the enemy of morning paddling. It seems that anytime we stay someplace with cable tv and showers, we don't make it onto the water until well after 9am.
If we camp out on the riverbank, we can put our boats on the water closer to 7am in the morning. Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT a morning person. However, the early morning light on the water is absolutely magical from about 7am to 9am, especially on a scenic river like this one. Although I have had little in the way of photography training, I have become absolutely obsessed with taking pictures of the Oklahoma I love and sharing them with the world.
We enjoyed excellent weather and water conditions on the river. Our new kayak spray skirts worked well again in keeping either of us from sinking our boats. After dropping our boats off at the put-in, I headed up to WW Canoe & Kayak for a shuttle ride. Here's how it works if you have your own boats. You drop off your kayaks at the put-in, then drive back to the outfitter. From there you follow the shuttle driver to the take-out of Hwy 70 and drop off your vehicle under the bridge. Then you load up in the shuttle driver's vehicle and he takes you back to the put-in. After paddling the river at your own pace, you find your vehicle waiting for you at the take-out. This service usually costs you anywhere from $5 to $15.
The Shuttle Driver
One of the perks of this method is that while riding back to the put-in, you get to visit with the shuttle driver. In my experience, shuttle drivers are all very interesting people to talk to. This one was certainly no exception. After talking for awhile abut how photography had become my latest favorite type of 'hunting'. He whipped out a photo he had taken of the deer he killed this season. I wish I had a copy to show you as it had a very interesting (if slightly gruesome) story with it.
The Deadly Aggression of Bucks
Bucks establish dominance among their peers by way of intense head-butting contests that grow more frequent as the mating season progresses. Sadly, in is not that unusual for the two dueling bucks to lock their horns together during these contests. Many times hunters will walk up on two bucks that have died of thirst, trapped on the ground due to being 'hooked up' like this.
My shuttle driver had the rare experience of seeing one of these unlucky bucks that was luckier than most. It was dragging the head of the buck it got hooked up with through the woods when he shot it! His picture showed a 10-point buck with the head of a nine-point buck hooked to it's antlers. That is one way to get yourself a 19-point buck.
Oklahoma offers hunters some of the best deer hunting action in the nation. For more info on hutning options in the woods of Oklahoma, stop by TasteOklahoma.com. Currently, you can read about the special Elk Hunt lottery Oklahoma conducts each year.
Beavers Bend Resort Park
The last day we were in Hochatown we decided to visit Beavers Bend Resort Park. It is a small family park offering bumper boat rides, canoes, kayaks, snow cones, paddle boats and swimming in a small portion of the river just below the lake dam, but above the dam we put-in for paddling the lower Mt. Fork River. Since the water is faily still here and not as technical as below the re-regulation dam, we put Dylan and my mother-in-law in our boats for some flatwater kayaking. It was the first time my mother-in-law Juliene had ever been in a kayak. Thankfully, our Heritage Featherlite Angler Kayak is as 'safe as houses', so she could confidently paddle without the sort of scary tippiness of other kayaks.
Dylan only paddled briefly. If there is a chance to swim, he would much rather swim than paddle. While watching Dylan enjoy the swimming hole, Dianne, her Mom and myself all had fun taking pictures of kids leaping wildly into the water. If you swim there with kids, try to park yourself well away from the snow cone stand and trash cans. We were a little too close to a trash can whose sugary snow cone leftovers attracted quite a few bees. One of them stung Dylan on the hand, instantly making itself his main memory of this trip.