Being a true Okie girl and proud of it doesn’t mean I’m an expert on our beautiful state. Like most people I know, I don’t always visit the places closest to me. I know people who’ve lived in California for most of their lives and never been to Yosemite, which is hard to imagine. We take things and people close to us for granted. It’s like the old saying that an expert is someone from 50 miles away. If we do venture out of our hometowns, it’s usually to the nearest lake or to the bigger city or to see relatives. Exploring is going out of state, out of the country. And look at all we miss…

I’ve been to all but a handful of our 50 states and I’ve traveled out of the country to various places. Each has its own beauty, history, enchanting stories, individual people. Each is unique in its own way. I treasure my time everywhere but I’m always glad to get home. In our family, we used to sing “Oklahoma” as we crossed the state line. Home is home, even if it’s not where you grew up.

Anyway, I’m sort of retired and want to see all I’ve missed and overlooked in the world around me…at least as much as I can. I’d always wanted to see more of the southeast corner of Oklahoma, intrigued by photos of cypress trees, having seen the lush forests, so I started digging around on the internet. Broken Bow Lake is supposed to be gorgeous with Beaver’s Bend State Park at the southern end, so that’s where I started. While looking for places to stay, I found there were places on the river…who doesn’t love a river or creek running by?

South and east from Tulsa is a beautiful drive, especially in the spring when we’ve had a lot of rain and everything in the countryside is lush and green. The Indian Paintbrush and other wildflowers were blooming along the highway, spreading across fields in some places. You begin to forget whatever you had been focusing on at home…just enjoying the view. The further south you go, the lusher it gets. You’re also headed for the area called Little Dixie due to the southerners who moved there after the Civil War. I didn’t see any Confederate flags, but there were signs that make you smile…



Oklahoma is a conservative state, to say the least, although there are plenty of opinions to go around on any political issue. I wasn’t here for politics, just to enjoy the beauty. The road stretched before my friend and me as I tried to capture some of what I was enjoying through my dashboard pictures. You’ll get the idea, even with windshield glare and bug splatters…


For those who don’t know Oklahoma, we have hills and valleys, pine forests, blackjack oaks with their twisted strong limbs, greenery everywhere. That’s just one of the many ecosystems in our state, which has more than any other. If you only picture tallgrass prairie or the plains or the flatness of western Oklahoma, then you have a limited view. I just learned that the Kiamichi Mountains in southeast Oklahoma, mountains probably named by the French traders and not the Indians as you would think, are older than the Rockies, which is why they are smaller, smoother. The Rockies are jagged and younger. But that’s another geology lesson…

This trip, we didn’t take the Talimena Scenic Drive, a gorgeous loop drive between Oklahoma and Arkansas, although I’ve been before and will go again. We were in the Ouachita National Forest (promounced Wash-i-ta), making me so grateful for the National Parks System which protects and manages our natural resources. We started to see the pine trees, the pine forests, and signs of logging in the area to provide for the paper industry.




It’s a fer piece to get to where were going, as we say around here. We really don’t say that, but I like the phrase. It was a 3 1/2 hour drive. We took the loop through Beaver’s Bend State Park, stopping to see the Broken Bow Lake, one of Oklahoma’s many.


The park was beautiful with creeks and activities, campgrounds and beautiful cabins to rent. I can only anticipate the activity as summer begins…we ventured on south to Mountain Fork River and the cabin we had rented. It was a pleasant experience from the time I first found it. A call to the owners, a deposit on a credit card. That was it. Off the highway, down the roads, down country roads…


When we arrived, we stopped at their home, greeted by smiling dogs, gave them cash for the balance and went on down the road. Not a form to fill out or anything. Just folks.

The cabin was delightful. We had picked the one closest to the water and it was perfect. I’d pictured something more rustic, but it was lovely…could sleep 1-6 easily. One of the reasons this one had stood out was the fact that there were boats included in the reasonable price. We could have and might have gone on a longer float trip, but there were canoes, kayaks and flatbottom boats right there for us to use. Just pick one out and go…no hassle, no making reservations, nothing. Easy…


One surprise was how much cane or bamboo was around our cabin and the area. I thought they must have brought it in, but it has been there for a long time I found out later. The great treat was the cypress trees all around. I thought there might be a few, but they were everywhere along the river. I fell in love with them, just like I did the giant Sequoias in California. It was like being transported to another place, a quiet place…I snapped pictures right from the area around the cabin…




…ending with this gorgeous picture right beside us, taken as a film began to cover the water at the end of the afternoon, right before sunset…


An early morning boat ride, taking the flat bottom boat with the trolling motor, which let me take pictures more easily if I didn’t have to paddle, was tranquil and lovely.



…enjoying the cane and cypress, cool and lush in the morning…


…smelling the honeysuckle that covered the trees from the middle of the river…


Up river, we could have taken a wilder float trip with white water fun, but this was a nice morning start with reflections in the water to calm the soul…


At the end, looping around the islands that were in front of our cabin, we looked both ways on the river…




and turned at the tattered flag that waved us back to our landing.



You can tell by the photos that the weather was changing from the bright clear skies of the day before. Ugly storms were predicted, so we went into Broken Bow and then did some other exploring…another blog…before coming back in time to watch the horror of the tornado that hit Moore, OK that day. The weather changed and rain came in, rustling the cane and cypress around us. The trip was cut a little short as we took another route home the next day to drive through the least of the storms we could. It was all beautiful and peaceful, a lovely adventure into southeastern Oklahoma to places I had only heard about and wanted to visit. I can’t do the beauty of the area justice…there’s just so much.

It’s time we should all make and take…time to explore around us. There is so much history, so much natural wonder. It perks your brain to learn new things, warms your heart and restores your soul, brings you peace within. And, it’s great fun! I recommend you find adventure…sooner than later…