Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sneezing Fits + Road Trip = Quite the Adventure

Having a couple of weekend days off with no out of town plans may sound like a no-brainer reason to take a mini-road trip, but then again, if you know my husband then you'd know just how difficult it was to persuade him away from all the college football games on t.v., especially when the "game of the year" was airing.Luckily, I wear the panties in our family (and a few little things like internet bearing cell phones, play-by-play texting friends, radio, and DVR exist), so we headed 2 hours north, entering the territory of Oklahoma to embark on an adventure in the heart of the Arbuckle Mountains.
Our initial plan was to spend the early portion of the day hiking and exploring, following it up with a cool down in the watering hole at the base of Turner Falls. Needless to say, with a ghetto nasty stained primitive map to rely on, it was difficult to even find the advertised hiking trails. 
Although well groomed, the few trails the park had to offer were for the most part disappointing, considering the longest (by far) of the choices was only 2 miles (round trip total) and the trail lead to absolutely nothing but the one lane road winding through the campgrounds. 
Sure, it had it's moments of natural beauty with native plants persevering through almost desert like conditions and photogenic bright colored butterflies pausing in time for admiration.  
But with somewhere around 1500 acres of protected rugged terrain, I'd expected a trail with some girth to it; more of a climb, definitely longer of a trek, or an actual destination with a grander view than asphalt on a tiny hill. (Considering this is "one of the 3 geological windows into our past", the other two being the Grande Canyon and The Black Hills, I don't think I'm being too harsh.)
Even weirder, I've never seen so many grasshoppers in one place in my entire life, their presence amplified by the crunchy dryness of our surroundings. Grey ones, stripped ones, tan ones, yellow ones, and stupid ones, like the jerk that hit me in the neck (naturally making me scream), then jumped into Patrick's leg three times before moving on. 
After giving up on the "hiking trails", we continued on with our explorations to find the tallest waterfall in Oklahoma (who knew OK had many waterfalls to speak of?). On our way we found a snow cone stand with a swarm of bees protecting the ordering window (like that was going to divert me!) and the biggest pieces of ice ever in formation to be pawned off as a "snow cone" (this place just kept getting stranger and stranger).
We had no idea how to find anything, since the maps left much to be desired and there were no signs pointing to anything, so we were pleasantly surprised when it seemed we were headed the right way.  
Built in the 1930's, The Castle (what a creative name) was much younger than we preconceived, which made it's layout all the more kooky. 
I know people have gotten larger over the years, but are we really giants now compared to less than 100 years ago, or was the doctor who built this vacation home a hobbit?
I'm pretty sure he used all these extra rooms to torture people, because not a single one of them were bigger than my laundry room, and that's not saying much!!
Such a leery place, I almost felt like I was exploring a real life scene in The Labrynth, when David Bowie was singing and walking around through those floating stairs  (remember that movie?).
Oh crap!! Someone better claim that little boy before the Goblin King Jareth steals him!!
Bored from climbing the hobbit stairs, we turned around to admire the view, then continued to follow the gorgeous Honey Creek.
Green plants, trickling water, and archaeological cutouts led the way.
Who needs signs, right?
Right in front of our face, there was no mistaking whether or not we found the 77 foot waterfall.
Even though my pictures serve little justice to the tranquil beauty it radiates in person, I can only imagine how magnificent it can be with a decent amount a rainfall transcending from it's ledge and less people around to disfigure it's raw elegance.
I took a seat on my lily pad (aka, an overgrown slimy rock) and just admired the view for a couple of hours, while tuning out the annoying kids around me who's parents could have done a better job of teaching manners. 
The water was so chilly, the lower half of my body had constant goose bumps, while the upper portion baked in the sun. 
It was about that time the onset of my serial sneezing attack began, which morphed into feeling like I needed to sneeze in between sneezes, and was soon paired with a runny nose. By the time we made it home, my eyes were blood shot and on fire, I was blowing through tissues like it was going out of style, and it was time for me to load up on antihistamines and retire to bed.
Overall, I'd say it was a decent utilization of a Saturday despite it's strangeness.

What is your favorite natural watering hole you've ever visited?


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