Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day Trip - Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge

Actually, this was more of a last-minute, totally impulsive, late-afternoon trip on February 6th. I had taken 3 days off work and after hubby had left for work on my first day of alone-ness (Monday), I decided I needed a quick road trip adventure to salve my work-weary soul.

My 30 minutes of fast research pointed me an hour south of us in Oklahoma, to the Salt Plains NWF and State Park near Jet.

I jumped in my car and headed south, not on I-35 as one might suspect, so that I would get there quicker. Nooooo, I took the scenic route, travelling down Route 81, a 2-lane country highway.

Once in the Salt Plains NWF, I took the self-guided auto tour. It was 3:30, and I only had about an hour before I would have to head home before dark! I really wanted to hike a trail, but there just wasn't time. The auto tour would have to suffice this time.

The good part was the animals were out and about - it was a quiet winter evening in the park. No other humans were here. I was all by myself. Just the way I like it!

One of the marsh areas, above.  There were plenty of Canada geese and other duck species in the park.  This particular photo just doesn't show them.

This little guy didn't seem concerned about me whatsoever.  I managed to get quite a few photos of him before he turned his back on me!

I know most people consider armadillos nothing but a large, armored rodent, or, more precisely, an armored opossum!  However, I found it fascinating to look at the detail in his armor, and then, when you think about it, even more fascinating to compare how the armadillo appears to the way our dinosaurs looked.  It's almost as if the armadillo is a dinosaur species that survived!

Ok, isn't it funny I thought that thought?  I just researched the armadillo as I'm writing this post, and actually, they ARE a dinosaur species that basically survived.  Imagine that...

Finally, last but certainly not least,  a few deer decided that I posed no threat.  They continued foraging on some winter wheat, kindly planted by the refuge for their enjoyment, while I snapped a few photos.  Of course, two of them kept a close eye on me...

On my way out of the park, I saw a carelessly tossed beer bottle near a marshy overlook.  Disgusted, I picked it up with the intention of throwing it into a trash can before I headed home.

Oh how that decision came back to bite me in the butt!  Lo and behold, NO trash cans to be found.  Anywhere.  No kidding.  All the way home, even through the town of Medford, I kept watching for somewhere to throw this stupid beer bottle.  But now I had the added problem of someone seeing me toss a beer bottle from my car!

Would you believe that beer bottle travelled all the way home with me to finally find a home in OUR trash can?!  Luckily I wasn't pulled over and cited for "open container" rolling around on the floor of my car....

And yes, I will definitely go back soon.  I want to explore even more!  Here's a link with more information about the refuge and the state park.