Elk Mountain, November 2008

The author stands on a peak nicknamed Sitting Rock in the Charon's Garden area of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
The author stands on a peak nicknamed Sitting Rock in the Charon’s Garden area of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in southern Oklahoma, has been a favorite hiking location since I was a young teenager. With calm winds, cool temperatures, and perfect blue skies, I set out with a couple of acquaintances to hike in the Charon’s Garden Wilderness, and the Elk Mountain trail.

My first stop was the Parallel Forest, a remnant of the CCC. I often visit this site first when I go to the Wichitas, since my route takes me past it first.
My first stop was the Parallel Forest, a remnant of the CCC. I often visit this site first when I go to the Wichitas, since my route takes me past it first.
Oaks pick up beautiful autumn light near the Parallel Forest.
Oaks pick up beautiful autumn light near the Parallel Forest.
We also made a brief stop at Prairie Dog Town.
We also made a brief stop at Prairie Dog Town.
Granite Formations, Charon's Garden Wilderness
Granite Formations, Charon’s Garden Wilderness
Granite Formations Looking South, Charon's Garden Wilderness
Granite Formations Looking South, Charon’s Garden Wilderness
The author discusses the route to Sitting Rock.
The author discusses the route to Sitting Rock.
Crack, Charon's Garden; I have been photographing this crack since I was a teenager
Crack, Charon’s Garden; I have been photographing this crack since I was a teenager
You host photographs "The Crack" from above.
You host photographs “The Crack” from above.
This view shows the boulders that form "The Crack."
This view shows the boulders that form “The Crack.”
Sitting Rock (left) and Lock Rock. We nicknamed Lock Rock based on the idea that if you put someone on top of it, it would be difficult for them to get down.
Sitting Rock (left) and Lock Rock. We nicknamed Lock Rock based on the idea that if you put someone on top of it, it would be difficult for them to get down.
Granite Boulders Near Sitting Rock
Granite Boulders Near Sitting Rock
The author photographs Lock Rock.
The author photographs Lock Rock.
Another shot of your host near Lock Rock
Another shot of your host near Lock Rock
View from Above Lock Rock en Route to Sitting Rock
View from Above Lock Rock en Route to Sitting Rock
The author celebrates topping Sitting Rock.
The author celebrates topping Sitting Rock.
I have made many iterations of this formation over the years, showing the cluster of granite just below Sitting Rock. We named the stone at the top Mitten Rock or Gravel Rock.
I have made many iterations of this formation over the years, showing the cluster of granite just below Sitting Rock. We named the stone at the top Mitten Rock or Gravel Rock.
The author poses on Mitten Rock.
The author poses on Mitten Rock.
Going up this crack at Sitting Rock is quite easy, but descending it is tricky.
Going up this crack at Sitting Rock is quite easy, but descending it is tricky.
I always carry a picture of my wife and me when I hike.
I always carry a picture of my wife and me when I hike.
The author makes pictures as we hike back toward the base of the Glacier Rocks.
The author makes pictures as we hike back toward the base of the Glacier Rocks.
Near the Glacier Rocks is Shelf Rock.
Near the Glacier Rocks is Shelf Rock.
This is a fisheye view from under Shelf Rock.
This is a fisheye view from under Shelf Rock.
I stopped to photograph a tuft of grass growing in a crack of a granite dome...
I stopped to photograph a tuft of grass growing in a crack of a granite dome…
…with this result.
…with this result.
Afternoon Light, Glacier Rocks
Afternoon Light, Glacier Rocks
The author celebrates a successful hike in the Charon's Garden Wilderness.
The author celebrates a successful hike in the Charon’s Garden Wilderness.
Our travels took us quite close to this mature male American Bison.
Our travels took us quite close to this mature male American Bison.
Elk Mountain Trail
Elk Mountain Trail
Elk Mountain Trail
Elk Mountain Trail
Mount Scott Viewed from Elk Mountain Trail
Mount Scott Viewed from Elk Mountain Trail
Foliage, Elk Mountain Trail
Foliage, Elk Mountain Trail
Foliage, Elk Mountain Trail
Foliage, Elk Mountain Trail
French Lake and Dam Viewed from Elk Mountain Trail
French Lake and Dam Viewed from Elk Mountain Trail
Oaks with Foliage, Elk Mountain Trail
Oaks with Foliage, Elk Mountain Trail
Blue Canyon Wind Farm visible from Elk Mountain Trail
Blue Canyon Wind Farm visible from Elk Mountain Trail
Granite Formations, Elk Mountain Trail
Granite Formations, Elk Mountain Trail
This view from the top of the Elk Mountain trail clearly shows Sitting Rock where we hiked earlier in the day.
This view from the top of the Elk Mountain trail clearly shows Sitting Rock where we hiked earlier in the day.
Shadow Self-Portrait, Elk Mountain Trail
Shadow Self-Portrait, Elk Mountain Trail
Granite Formations in Waning Light, Elk Mountain Trail
Granite Formations in Waning Light, Elk Mountain Trail
Broad View from Elk Mountain Trail Looking East as Sunset Approaches
Broad View from Elk Mountain Trail Looking East as Sunset Approaches
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1 Comment

  1. My daughter saw the pictures of you climbing the rocks and asked if it was at Enchanted Rock, which we visited a few days ago. When I said no, and explained it was a friend exploring a different place, she asked if it was a volcano, and inquired as to your safety.

    She liked the photos almost as much as I did.

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