The Vansion Journal Maiden voyage

Packing, more packing...time is a ticking. We worked on the van literally right up until our first scheduled trip. I was still running wires, solving plumbing problems and putting the finishing touches on the van late into the evening. It became readily apparent that despite all of my years spent camping and backpacking that we were making our best guess as to what to bring. Equipping the van with its dedicated camping supplies was something I had never really considered and so began the "Shit We Forgot" list. It was extensive. But, we remembered the dogs, the dog food, the coffee and the whiskey...so we were good.

We set off on a Saturday morning late enough to swing by REI for some last minute items before getting out of the city. We were heading to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve in southwest Oklahoma. The Wichitas are special to me. I remember as a kid scurrying over boulders and sliding down rocks, thinking I was in the most extreme place on earth. Little has changed except the rocks seem a little smaller. The Wichita Mountains, once the home to the Comanche and Kiowa, rise several thousand feet from the rolling prairie. The 500 million year old pinkish quartz granite domes show eons of erosion and sparkle in the hazy light that envelopes the Wichitas year round. The Refuge was established in 1901 reportedly after the infamous Comanche Chief Quanah Parker invited Teddy Roosevelt to a wolf hunt in the area. Roosevelt was so taken with the landscape that the the land and unique habitats were marked for conservation, ultimately creating the oldest managed wildlife facility in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service system.

Gear packed and ready to roll. Of course no trip down TX Hwy 82 is complete without a stop at the Pecan Shed. In fact, we stopped on the way home and scored an outstanding fresh pecan pie for Thanksgiving Dinner!

Arriving late on a Saturday left us with limited options when it came to campsites. We took the best one we could find and set up for what would be our coldest night made a touch warmer by a nice single malt and the chuckles provided by David Sadaris and the wonder of audio books.

The next morning, knowing that many campers would be leaving, we packed up and identified our favorite spot that was just off the lake with no neighbors nearby. The morning fog on the lake, the geese skirting just above the water and the deer trespassing timidly into our camp made for a sweet spot to be sure.

Lounging around camp was certainly part of the plan, but a couple of days worth of exploring were not to be missed. The dogs in particular were anxious to be wild! We strolled down the Narrows, hopping over rocks and jumping over sandy pools. We cruised to the top of Mount Scott and made the obligatory trip to Meers for the famous Meersburger. Sadly, the buffalo herd was nowhere to be seen and aside from a couple of bulls, some longhorn and dozens of prairie dogs the wildlife spotting was thin.

Lastly, a small collection of some of my iPhone "work" from the outing.

Onward.

Created By
Scott Hunt Photography
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Credits:

All photographs copyright 2016, Scott Hunt Photography

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