Despite spending the majority of my life in Oklahoma, there are still so many places I have yet to visit. The Wichita Mountains had been on my to-do list for years. Located in the opposite corner of the state, it just seemed so far away. When we offered a Mother's Day getaway special it gave us the excuse we needed to make the trek to southwest Oklahoma.
Regrettably, we were not able to set up at Doris Campground because it's federally-operated and slow-moving bureaucracy prevented us from getting permission to outfit our campers there. We hear it's lovely though. Instead, we camped at a City of Lawton campground called Robinson's Landing. It's a smallish RV/tent campground on the shores of Lake Lawtonka. It's more wooded than the other RV campgrounds we passed along the way and located close to all the action in the area - the Meers Store, the Wildlife Refuge, and, obviously, the lake. Other amenities at the campground included:
Bathrooms and showers. Only one location for the entire campground, near the entrance, so campers toward the back of the campground had to drive over to the bathroom (or walk quite a distance)
A little shop with kayak rentals and take out pizza
Electric and water at each site
Picnic tables and charcoal grills
Shared shaded picnic pavilions
The only real complaint we had about this campground was that the sites were jammed close together. The first night we fell asleep to the soothing sounds of some older conservatives grumbling gently about how Obama had set the country back 50 years. The second night, we tried to fall asleep while a group next to us blared music, peed freely like horses, and made loud, colorful comments on race, politics and partying. I have to give them credit where it's due, however. The music, party, and people turned off, shut down and vacated the premises at the stroke of ten o'clock (the campground's quiet time).
There is so much to explore in the Wichita Mountains, it was hard to fit everything in to our two-night stay. We started at the most logical point - filling our bellies at the Meers Store.
The Meers Store was everything I expected. A quaint little dive that's gotten too big for it's britches. I'm glad I got to experience this place but I probably wouldn't do it again unless perhaps it was weekday. The line for seating is insane, as is the wait for food and the size of the mediocre burger. For a full review, skip over to my personal blog Roaming and Waving.
After the Meers Store, we headed over to the tiny town of Medicine Park. Hidden down a road that resembles a private drive, this quaint little town is worth a visit.
Medicine Park features a winding main street of eccentric shops, restaurants and bars running alongside a creek that pools in the center of town to create a public bath/swimming hole. Shortly after arriving in this darling locale, one of our kids peed their pants. Full on pee in pants. We had not packed any extra clothes for our day out so Deke darted from boutique to boutique searching for replacement pants. She found none. But she did find a little shop with a tub of tutus for sale. It was not hard to convince our four-year old to trade his overalls for a bright tutu and frilly panties (he's eccentric) and his two brothers grabbed tutus in solidarity.
Everyone seemed happy with this solution and I put on my blinders as we continued our exploration of the military/biker town so as not to catch any strange looks or comments that might be directed our way.
After a walk-through and a stop for a cool beverage, we decided it was time for more food. We headed back towards the campground and stopped off at this unassuming little diner, Ann's Country Kitchen.
Few things bring me as much joy as a legit, down-home, country diner. Do yourself a favor, forget the Meers Store and sit your butt down in this cinder block shack.
Ya'll, this pie is to die.
My mom and brother had to hit the road but not before buying Deke and me matching t-shirts that read 'Mom of Boys' from the country bling store next door, despite my explicit instructions not to buy me said t-shirt.
It was getting late in the day but we still had not accomplished all of our goals. Back at the campground, Deke rented a kayak and the kids took turns paddling around the lake. I stayed on shore because I have a mild phobia of water that I have finally, at age 35, decided to fully accept.
We crammed so much into one day but there was one adventure we had left to tackle: hiking. On our last morning in the Wichitas, we set out to find a scenic and mildly challenging hike. The drive through the Wildlife Refuge alone was spectacular. We passed through fields of wildflowers, bison and even a prairie dog village full of adorable prairie dogs popping in and out of the ground.
We meandered through the countryside for several miles before we found the recommended hike: Charon's Garden Wilderness Trail. Just about everything about this hike was perfect. The weather, the difficulty, the scenery, the distance. We turned around at what felt like a summit but I think there was more trail to go. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend camp out. We hit Ann's again on our way back to the campground and fueled up before breaking down our tents.