Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Red Rock Canyon State Park

Sunday  May 15, 2011
Red Rock Canyon State Park Site 51
Hinton, Oklahoma

This post is being brought to you by the free Wifi in Canyon Texas.

We pretty much
lounged the earlier morning away.
It was 47 degrees here in
the canyon and that seemed
so we fired up the electric heater
and went out to run at about 10:00AM.
Running definitely warms you up.


Ran the park loops and all around as usual.
About 5 miles.

Came back and had another excellent breakfast.
I'll spare you the mouth watering pictures.
David was a breakfast "chef" in college
and he has gotten VERY GOOD at it!
With lots of practice of course.


About 1:30 we set out to hike the
California Trail which is the
longest trail in the park.

The real California Trail came
through Red Rock Canyon and
there are said to be wagon track ruts
in the rock on this park trail.
We hope we can find them.

The trail map is very
elementary and the trails
are not labeled,
but the 10 year old son of the campground host
had colored them with magic marker.
Guess we'll find out how accurate he was!

On the trails themselves, there
are no signs, just plastic strips
in the various trail colors
tied to trees along the way
As we set out, we noticed our new neighbor.
He has a corvette and a corvette trailer which
has a tent sort of thing attached.

But , the main attraction was his Pirate flutter flag.
They were never around to ask them if they are from Pittsburg,
Johnny Depp fans or if there is a local sports
team called the pirates.
But their campsite sure stood out.

I need one of those poles for my Earth flag
which ususally just hangs from the awning.

Here's David all geared up and ready to go

We started out at one of only two trail head signs in the park.

Up the grassy hill behind the sign

to the bottom of the red rock
and the first and last hand rail on this trail

Our first view of the red rock,
Such a different habitat.

We found what we thought were
the wagon ruts.
What do you think?

Hiked on across the rock

I loved these trail markers.
They were the only trial markers in the park
other than the plastic tree tags.
CRT - California Road Trail

Not sure you can see this
wildly blooming prickly pear cactus
above the rock ledge but I wanted
to remember the setting.

Here it is closer up.
Most of these cactus were still in bud
and a few had a flower or maybe two
but this one was in full bloom along the trail.

view from the trail

The trail moved from rock to red dirt

and then into the trees.

where I found cotton on the ground
for the first time.

I never knew Cottonwood trees
actually had cotton

or that it looked like
real cotton.  Now I wonder
which one is the REAL cotton.
Or the first cotton.
The tree or the plant.
Time for google........

Prickly Pear was everywhere.
Here's one with the buds just
almost ready to open.
This trail will be a blaze within the week.

Another in bloom

 and a close up of the lovely bloom

I'm not sure if it was intentional
or lack of trial maintenance
but some trails had eroded
down to the stone and were now like troughs.

We came out on another rock face

and just around the corner we had the best find of the day.
A painted bunting was flitting up and down the path.
We stopped dead and checked him out through
our binoculars.  David tried to get his picture
since he has a superior zoom lens but
the bird was continually behind branches so it wasn't possible to
focus on him.
But we stood and watched him for nearly 10 minutes.
He's a gorgeous bird we'd never seen in person before.
If you've never seen him, I borrowed this
picture.  Sorry I couldn't find a larger one.

 Am I the only one who thinks
this prickly pear cactus looks like Mickey Mouse?

 Ok he's got a map and a compass
but where are we??

 Hmmmm this looks to me like an arrow
pointing the other direction.

 This looked like as good a trail exit as
any.  Just sit and slide down the chute.

 Looks a  little bumpy though,

 Think I'll walk.

 Once down we checked the time and thought we
could easily squeeze in the
short Rough Horsehair Trail
since we were so near its trail head.

The map clearly shows the loop trail.
And we were in stitches when we started down
and coming toward us was a family of three.
The young son exclaimed "We made it
We found our way out."
When the mother came around the curve in the
trail toward us she said
"Make sure you have a lot of food and water
and a GPS wouldn't hurt."

Now we had both run this trail before and it is less
than a mile long and there is just the loop
so we couldn't even imagine why they'd
had trouble.  But it gave us a good laugh for sure.

 The path began through thick stands of the Rough Horsetail.
It's a survivor of an age before there were any flowering plants
some 320 million years ago.

Really interesting looking plant.
Notice how the light goes through.
This picture shows all the various ages
of the Horsetail.

But look who is also there and
flourishing closer to the path than the
Rough Horsetail. 

 It's a great trail through these tall
plants and along a stream.

The trail goes back to a box canyon at the rear
formed by an ancient stream that is no longer there.
Clearly the park is under funded.
The information stand definitely needs some

It was late in the day and the light was totally
wrong to get a good picture of the box canyon.
Not sure you can see where the stream's
waterfall cut through the stone.
It's behind the tree to the left of center.

These might be better looks at the former
waterfall on the stream that carved this small canyon.

 After the box canyon, the trail
started back around to the trail head

A Natural Handrail

Notice this tree. 
At this point I was reading the information sign when

David came up behind me and said
"now that's a climbin' tree"

 So here he is looking a little tentative.

But he made it

And now to getting down

Hmmm will this work?

 Or maybe this?

He finally stepped down using the information
stand.  Wonder if that's how the other one
came to be in such bad shape.
And we started off toward Winnona.

We walked by a field of


And by this pond

where we watched this Mississippi Kite
swooping over the water.
David got his picture while he sat
in a tree contemplating his next move

If I were still a tenter, this would be a great site.

As those of you who follow this blog know,
David is a tree man and when he found out
that a "State Champion Tree" was
in the park, he had to find it.

Pretty soon we were back to the
California Campground Loop.
You can just barely see Winnona down on the left.

Time to get out the grille
and feed these hungry hikers.

Not sure if we'll move on to Texas tomorrow or not.
Check back and we'll let you know.



  1. Great walk Sherry! I don't have a super zoom lens yet ( we call it a big honkin' lens!) but I find it easier to get a clear picture of birds hidden in branches by switching to manual focus. That is, assuming the bird will stay still long enough for me to focus on it :-). Thanks or the tour!

  2. That prickly pear does look like Mickey Mouse!!! It amazed me the pretty colors and depth of color in the cactus blooms!!

  3. Like the pic of the Kite. He looks like he was checking you out. Safe travels.

  4. That would be cool if those really are wagon ruts!

  5. You guys are having way too much fun. We will be traveling that way end of August and I am thinking we are going to just follow in your "tracks":)

  6. Phew! You really know how to fill up your days. I bet you're busier now than when you used to work.

    I think you're right, those were wagon ruts. I wonder how many wagons it took to make them?

    Great post!


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