We recently boondocked in Cache, Oklahoma, where we enjoyed a unique and beautiful landscape. We were staying in mainly flat and grassy grazing land for cattle, but in the distance a small mountain range provided a scenic backdrop. The mountain range was the Wichita Mountains, all surrounded by golden and green prairies dotted with colorful wildflowers. The mountains were formed in a failed continental shift approximately 540 million years ago, and are topped with granite and other geological rock formations. They are home to many historical towns, such as Meers, Medicine Park, Cache, Indiahoma, etc., and a portion is occupied by Fort Sill Army Base.
The part I visited was the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. We spent one rainy and windy day with our host and hostess touring the refuge by truck and having lunch in the historical gold-mining community of Meers, Oklahoma. The only building left is the Meers Store and Restaurant, where we had a famous MeersBurger with our good friends, Randall and Julie. The restaurant was rustic and eclectic with delicious food served with a smile.
I loved this refuge so much that I made two solo trips back to take photos and observe the buffalo and longhorn herds scattered throughout this gorgeous park. There was so much to explore from lakes to dams, trails and side roads, and the majesty of the mountains, prairies, and wildlife spotted across the countryside. It was breathtaking.
My personal favorite highlights of the Refuge were the bison, which I still call buffalo, and the longhorn cattle with their sweeping horns. They were so regal grazing on the prairie without so much as a glance at my voyeurism from the truck window. I respected the animals’ space as was requested at the Visitor Center, but I did witness someone in a Class C motorhome get out and walk to about ten feet from a bull bison to take photos. I’m sure the pictures were beautiful, but it’s a chance that probably shouldn’t have been taken. I wish my photographs were portrait quality, but I was in awe of the beauty around me and wanted to etch the memories on my brain instead of through the lens–at a safe distance.
At the end of the Refuge was a small town called Medicine Park. It was filled with little shops, cafes, coffee shops, and consisted of quaint buildings and homes made with the natural round cobblestones of the Wichita Mountains. The town is centered around Bath Lake with a lovely waterfall and swimming area. It is a one-of-a-kind small town that is worth driving out of the way to spend a couple of hours.
Another adventure I had in the Refuge was driving our truck up to the top of Mount Scott. This was a brave feat for me because of spatial issues in my vision and the tiny, winding, mountainside cliffs on the road leading up there. While at the top, I got to see artillery testing from Fort Sill (just poofs of dust as artillery hit the landscape), miles of roads leading into the Refuge, and vast open spaces with rocky terrain. I had to sneak in a selfie, because Mike would never believe I navigated that road by myself without proof. It was worth the white-knuckle drive, during which I simply did not look down.
If ever in this part of Oklahoma, I highly recommend the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. It is a beautiful drive, easily accessed, and full of wildlife sightings and wide-open spaces. Be sure to stop at the Visitor Center to view the history of the park and to heed the wildlife warnings.
This is one of my most memorable natural parks. I hope I did it justice so you can enjoy it, too.
Safe travels, Dawn