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Flowerless Wisteria on front porch of the Bush House, Salem, Oregon, April 2017


Monday, June 2, 2014

Alabaster Caverns Oklahoma State Park


Friday evening, we visited with a very nice local couple who were camped in the site just across from us at the Black Mesa State Park. Being from Oklahoma, they had camped at many of the state parks. When asked where we were headed next, I said we were going  about 250 mile east called Boiling Springs. It was their opinion that it was not the best choice and that we should consider another park called the Alabaster Caverns State Park. It has a very interesting cave that can be toured.

That night there was a really loud thunderstorm with lots of heavy rain and some small hail. We felt sorry for the tent campers, and for one guy that drove in during the height of the storm with a pop up camper.  By morning we noticed most of the RV spaces were filled. Several more boats had arrived in the night.

We pulled out around 9:30 AM, and were able to stop for gas, diesel fuel, and a few groceries on the way. It was a good thing I consulted the Rand McNally Navigator for these services early in the day, because there was only one town, Guymon, on the way that had larger stores.


The Alfa at the end of this empty row of spaces
When we arrived at the Caverns I felt a bit foolish for having called ahead,  and paying the extra $5.00 fee for a reservation.  I do feel more comfortable knowing we have a space, but in this case the campground was almost empty! I took the above picture on Sunday morning. There had been a couple of other rigs there the day before. When we pulled out on Monday, we were the last to leave.



In addition to some cottontails and birds, we left this guy to hold down the fort so to speak.  He, or she, is the first Horny Toad I have seen. He was a lot smaller than I expected. Not much bigger than the regular toads I am accustomed to.

We joined one other couple on the tour of the cave on Sunday. 




Cave entrance



In this image the rocks look purple. Although they did have a slight purplish cast it was not this intense.  I found it impossible to get the color right in any of the images I took with my little camera. No flash was allowed.



This picture is a close up of a translucent section of the cave wall. The color is fairly accurate. The slight green is algae.



Our guide was a young local gal now working for the park service. She spotted this salamander and kept her light on him while I took his picture. She said that when she was a kid she would catch salamanders like this in the water meter holes and play with them. I remember checking the water meter at our house in Texas and finding a scorpion.

It was an interesting cave tour. Later in the day we saw many people waiting for the next hourly tour outside of the ranger station.  I'm glad we went early.  

It became quite hot, probably in the 90's, later in the day. Too hot for a walk. We relaxed in the Alfa, Craig watching a soccer game, and I doing some stitchery. Just a laid back Sunday afternoon.

Life is good.

8 comments:

  1. Life is good Merikay...what a beautiful spot you had there!

    I am so happy to read all is good and you are enjoying yourselves.

    I found out the hard way to do research before we head out. With 4 pups to feed, and they only eat Blue Buff Wilderness, we ran out once. Now we stock up whenever we can. We also paid like $7 for a pack of 4 roll toilet paper. Sure wont let that happen again!

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  2. Horny Toads are just so darn cute! Looks like a great camping spot.

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  3. We used to catch salamanders as kids when we lived in TX.

    Looks like a nice campground. If I can before making a reservation I see how many sites are available, if there are a lot available I won't make a reservation unless I want on the water or some such amenity.

    Caves are hard to get pictures in, thank goodness for digital, we can erase all of the ones that don't turn out well.

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  4. Nice cave pictures even if you weren't happy with the colors.

    I do not like toads or frogs but that horny toad looked more like a lizard to me so I didn't find him quite as scary.

    Sounds like it's getting petty hot. It's hot here too...and muggy.

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  5. I sure hope that you two are enjoying your full time experience.

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  6. Life is Good Indeed. My partner and I hope to follow in your tire treads in about 17 years or so ;-)

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  7. Karen and Al, you're right, it's properly called a Horned Lizard, but Horny or Horned Toad is the common name. Watching Dallas TV news tonight, I learned that the TCU baseball team is called the Horned Frogs and is getting close to the College World Series. But that's a different vertebrate...

    Nan, we're enjoying it...

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  8. Nice cave photos, don't worry too much, most photos rarely capture what you are seeing.

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