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.
The third day of our New Years road trip adventure, we begin in California. Humboldt bay shines on this winter morning, so white it shimmers like a mirage in the deeper areas. After breakfast, we decide to stick around the area and drive to the South Jetty, along the mudflats that comprise the driveable portions of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
The Other Half and I, despite visiting south Texas several times in the past, had never actually been to Padre or Mustang Islands, the travel hotspots of the eastern coast. Padre Island National Seashore, Texas A&M, and numerous public parks, beaches, and fishing areas abound on the two islands.
Alright, you caught me. It’s not a day on the beach with a Margarita and some sunshine. It was actually in the middle of a landlocked state with a breeze gusting around 30 miles an hour and so salty it left me windchapped.
You know, the Great Plains are actually made up of some really cool little areas. Like the Salt Plains (not to be confused with those boring old Pepper Plains. Just kidding.). Despite living only a few hours away for the last 7 years of my life, I hadn’t actually visited the salt flats of Oklahoma and the related National Wildlife Refuge. So on my first weekend day off in forever (well, fine, it was only 6 weeks or so…), the Other Half and I loaded up the dog for a jaunt up to the area.