Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wichita Mountains NWR Scenery, Part I

First road trip since our move last month -- a weekend visit to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.  It may not be at its most beautiful in January, but I needed some wide open spaces.  Preferably some with charismatic megafauna. :)

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Fortunately, I brought some charismatic megafauna of my own.  Taryn isn't always eager to go on these little expeditions.  But she is always a joy to have along when she does come.

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Mixed-grass prairie is an unfamiliar ecotone for me.  It's going to take me some time to learn how to properly "see" it.  But beautiful wispy clouds I understand wherever they may be.

Quanah Parker Lake, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Quanah Parker Lake was pretty low.  But the dead plants on the exposed shoreline provided a nice foreground for a shot of it.

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
I saw this smoke on the west shore of Burford Lake.  I was on the east side, so I couldn't get close enough to see what it was.  A couple of kayakers arrived and speculated that it was a smoldering log, and the burnt ground all around it did appear to have suffered a recent fire.  I called it in to the visitor center to be safe, but they didn't seem especially alarmed.

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
As I traveled further I understood why.  There had definitely been a very recent fire, with several remaining hot spots.  I walked onto the charred earth through a smell fondly reminiscent of a backyard barbecue to reach this lone tree.  I don't know if it will survive.  But I respect it for at least appearing to be trying.

Burford Lake, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
The sun was high and harsh.  But it still created some nice sparkles on the water flowing into Burford Lake.

Lost Lake, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Lost Lake had some Canada Geese.  They clearly weren't as habituated to people as the ones from our old TrailMark neighborhood.  But it was still nice to see some "old friends" even if only from a distance.

Caddo Lake, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Caddo Lake I got to early enough on Sunday morning that the scene wasn't completely washed out.  But the starkness of the dead trees and rocks and the ripples on the water made me feel that texture trumped color and go monochrome.

Click here for Part II.


Mortimer Snerd said...

Nice shots! I love my backyard playground. I was out there this past weekend and took some shots of the now-blackened, controlled-burn areas. Titled one "Moonscape" as that is what it looked like........... the lunar surface! Keep up the good work!

SteveHarbula said...

Thanks for the kind words! I've got more shots that I'll be posting throughout the week as time permits. I'd love to see yours, too. Please let me know if there's a link where I can see them online!