Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 4

Day 4:
Salina, Oklahoma to Newkirk, Ok.

Local residents.
Lots of these wheat and corn fields.
With oil rigs interspersed.
Beautiful long roads that were easy to carry speed on. There were some slight hills to break up the landscape.
Precious shade was usually only found around ranch houses. We ate lunch in this spot. This is also  the spot where the kids, playing in the front seats (against the rules), cracked the screen on our newish laptop.
Every once in a while the road would peter out into something like this. Usually they would turn back into a more used road. But sometimes they wouldn't and we'd have to back-track.

I believe this is a reservoir/wetland area near Ponca City

And here is the start of the Osage Wilderness Management Area. We spent lots of time trying to find a way through this. We kept hitting closed gates. Private Property.

It was incredibly beautiful and brilliantly green and verdant for the middle of the plains.
We crossed a creek six times going one way,
only to hit a gate and have to cross them all again.
Driving through open range - still in the Osage WMA.
The GPS showed roads only a mile from where we were. Frustrated I made the decision to follow a natural gas pipeline 'road.' Bad decision number one. Stephanie told me not to but the main road was so close on the gps. The pipeline 'road' began down a large hill that turned to deep deep mud near the bottom. We lost momentum (going down hill) and stuck. In four-low I was just able to pull the truck through flinging sticky stuff all over the truck. Bad decision number two: oh, we're closer now, let's keep pushing through. Gas pipeline ends at a big parkinglot and pump station. No more road. But there is a gate and it is OPEN! Rare for out here. Bad decision three: the gates open so people must use it. We continue on a swath of land without trees. It is not a road. It is not a trail. We are on our own now completely off the maps. And we continued - silly, true, but I did not want to run the risk of getting stuck in that mud and there was no way around it. Reasoning that if we bogged down in the that stuff going down hill there was no way we were going to pull through going uphill. So we pushed on, around a fence line and then along it going the wrong way. Then down a steep, rocky hill to another creek crossing that was uncrossable. I walked all around it trying to find a way out.

Finally it was time for a good but very regrettable decision. We had to go back. It would take well over an hour and we would have to brave the muddy slope. We turned around - up the rocky hill, over a creek crossing, around a fenceline, up a hill off trails. And then at the top we found a trail that we had missed coming from the other direction. It was on the GPS and though faint, I could just make out a two track beaten down long ago in the grass. Knowing that just about anything would be better than the mud we followed it. After a mile we ran into fresh tracks. After two, it became a nice path. Soon I recognized the large open hill we had come in on. Through some open gates and onto the hill and we were finally back (well, almost) to where we had entered the Osage WMA.

We were hot, tired, muddy, frustrated/angry but relieved. We had wasted four hours trying to get through this one little WMA. We threaded our way the rest of the way out and headed to Pawhuska for gas, dinner and a little spray clean for the Cruiser. Stephanie stalked the Pioneer Woman. while we ate at Buffalo Joes, a burger joint. It was so good to drink cold water and sit in air-conditioning while I worked out a new route to rejoin the original.
Finally back on the move.
We pushed on for an hour or so after eating dinner in Pawhuska (our first food that we didn't make) and then found a camping spot off a road near a river in Newkirk. It wasn't ideal and we were fairly close to the road but no one bothered us and the bugs weren't that bad.

Larkin in the tent falling asleep. Yep, it's a long process.
Harper after our showers (first) with bug bites from Arkansas still showing.

1 comment:

Samuel Gaston said...

I can't believe they broke the computer screen and that sounds like quite the trek through the WMA!