When you think of the state of Oklahoma, you might envision one of a very short list of things:
(1) The strange political nature of some of the area’s politicians
(2) Wheat and cattle, flowing over a flatly monotonous expanse
Oklahoma may have both of these things in excess, but it is also a land of surprising diversity. In it is contained a part of the wet and scenic Ozark Plateau, the Arbuckle and Wichita Mountains, the expansive and refractile salt flats in the north, the wet and sticky southeastern swamps, the deciduous forests of the east, and, of course, the plains regions. In the panhandle are plains and desert leading to the highest point in the state: Black Mesa, which stands at almost 5,000 feet elevation on the Oklahoma-New Mexico-Colorado border.
Back in April, the Other Half was scheduled to take an additional licensing exam in California (which he passed!). He had his choice of several sites, but he chose to take his test in the community of Visalia, a quiet city whose morning scent of cattle reminds you of its agricultural origin.
Newberry National Monument is a short drive away from a more well-known national park: Crater Lake. Founded in 1902, the park protects a deep freshwater lake cradled by the remnants of what was once the volcanic Mount Mazama. A large eruption about 7,700 years ago devastated the mountain and created the gigantic hole which now house’s the eponymous Crater Lake.
We got up early to make the drive to our new location in time to see the sunrise. Unfortunately, several area fires meant that the lake was quite hazy during our trip, giving it an almost otherworldly glow and reducing our visibility somewhat.
As a veterinary student, I get a number of weeks to travel to different universities or veterinary clinics to broaden my experiences prior to graduating. So of course I spent 2/3 of them traveling to programs in different states (Colorado, Ohio, and New York). It was an exciting time that unfortunately overlapped with my anniversary with the Other Half; through a wonderful gift from some of our very good friends, we were able to spend that time together in Colorado for what we called ‘Operation Swanky Date Night.’ We went to a nice dinner, booked a nice hotel, and woke up with the crack of dawn to complete our date with some wildlife-watching just outside of Denver.
Once again the Other Half and I decided to explore another lake nearby. Unfortunately, this one charges an entrance fee, which sucks, but it has several thousands of acres to explore (read: it takes this much room/running to wear the dog out), so it’s worth the cost.
This weekend, the other half and I celebrated the birthday of one of his close friends by going pseudo-camping. Pseudo-camping meant that we all got to stay in a heated cabin with convenient access to the football channels for those who were so inclined. For the rest of us, there was plenty of lawn, so it was easy to convince someone to teach us to play Bocce ball.