I have yet to feel as spiritual in any church or cathedral as I felt in this breathtaking place. I have yet to see anything more beautifully fine in any museum than what I have witnessed in these mountains.
Aleu and I pulled into this odd little charming cobblestone town called Medicine Park really having no idea where to start, we didn’t even know where to park, help was not hard to find. We were idling through the center of the little river town when a guy starts waving and smiling broadly at us, I am sure it was obvious we weren’t locals, he told me where to park and directed me to his friends’ little mountain bike shop for a map. Upon entering he directed me to look up, the ceiling of the bike shop has maps posted everywhere, he pointed out all of the best trails and wished me a great hike, pausing to heap generous amounts of love upon Aleu before we left. I think I found the hippie hollow of Oklahoma, they did have clothes on though. The town has a bunch of eclectic little shops and places to eat and drink that are lots of fun. The Rufuge does have a visitor center with maps if the waving mountain biker is himself out enjoying the trails but you should really look for him first because he will introduce you to anyone within reach and maps on a ceiling are so much more appropriate to show you the way to treasure.
I feel so cheated that it took me so long to discover this wild wonderful place. 59,020 acres of enchantment lays just a few hours from my base camp. My breath was caught in my throat before I even stepped out of the car. Aleu and I stared in wonder at the bison lounging about and the colorful lizards posing for the camera. The live water singing clear in the calm air. I am not exaggerating, this Refuge is something special.
The views are amazing with varying elevation. The terrain is rocky and rugged with 15miles of designated hiking trails but the possibilities for exploration far exceed that. There is not a lot of shade to be found so bring the sunblock and a hat for sure. I saw several beautiful lakes for boating or fishing. The Refuge is home to 650 bison, around 700 Elk and 300 Texas longhorn cattle so you are definitely sharing the trails with some large critters, none of them seemed to pay us any mind though. There are plenty of camping areas in the Refuge as well as cabins and a lodge in the little adjoining town of Medicine Park with all of the really smily people.
Be sure to experience the view form the top of Mount Scott and listen to the water falls at Lost Lake. Have lunch at The Meers Store and Restaurant, best burger ever. I can’t wait to return and hike the trails that I left unexplored. My spirit truly felt peaceful in this quiet place so if your soul needs to breathe, venture to this divine place. Please only tell your really cool friends where it is though. I think the mountain would surely spat out the imbeciles.