Archives for posts with tag: Winding Stair Recreation Area

Last weekend, I took a long drive to the Talimena Scenic Byway in southeastern Oklahoma to see the fall foliage and enjoy the spectacular views. It is always refreshing to enter the Ouachita Mountains (pronounced wash-i-ta) and begin to see pine trees along with the native oaks along the way. As you turn onto the Talimena scenic drive which runs between Oklahoma and Arkansas, you begin to climb the Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area and find numerous scenic view turnouts.

While walking around the Panoramic Scenic View Area, I found myself beside a tall, large, young man (maybe 30), who suddenly turned to me and said, “Have you ever seen a view like this?” He was so excited and thrilled. I told him I have, but that this is one of my favorites in the world, which it is.dsc_0800¬†He said this was his first time to come here and I told him I come whenever I can. I asked him where he was from and he said, “Checotah,” which is about an hour and a half away. Then he told me that he didn’t have much of a Bucket List because he didn’t have much money, but he had a Thimble List. I told him this was definitely a great place to have on it. He told me he had never seen the ocean, but was planning to go next year. He told me that even if you were Rembrandt, whom he admired, you could never outdo the Lord’s work. I told him it was definitely a place to restore your soul.

About that time, his wife joined him and they walked away, but I stood there, looking at the views, thinking about what he said. A Thimble List. What a great thing for all of us to have.dsc_0789I watched the shadows from the clouds spread across the valley and took in all the beauty around me. dsc_0795We all need a Thimble List, which I define as a list of places to visit and things to do that are not unobtainable, not far from home. I can’t criticize him for just now getting to this beautiful place because I didn’t see it for the first time until I was in my late 50s or 60s. It’s only 2 1/2 hours from my home, but I might have missed it.

We all need to find places of beauty, try new experiences, meet new people and there are so many places we walk by every day or don’t take the time to enjoy, even when they are close to home. Sometimes those places are harder to take time to explore because our daily schedules are so busy and full of activities that range from work to sitting in front of the television and we don’t just get up and do it. We only plan for things that take us far away from our routines.

In the rush of time that I’m facing as I get older, I find that the little things on my Thimble List mean as much to the quality of my life as the larger things that I try to experience. My Bucket List is full of dreams that may or may not happen, but my Thimble List is doable.

Look at your own Thimble List and do something this week! You won’t regret it.

Rain was predicted, but it didn’t look like driving, thunder and lightning rain, so it was time for an adventure. Heading south, past the interstates, into the Kiamichi Mountains in southeast Oklahoma sounded like the best way to start a day. Through rural areas onto beautiful roads through the mountains, Oklahoma size mountains. After lunch in Talihina at a cafe filled with locals where the $5.50 lunch special could fill the hungriest cowboy, Choctow, tourist or other locals in the area, the destination is off to the most beautiful fall foliage in the state‚ĶWinding Stair National Recreation Area and the Talimena National Scenic Byway.


The color of the foliage got brighter and brighter as we drove, even on a cloudy, misting day.



The winding drive along the ridge is stunning on either side, looking out over lush valleys. On a day like today, you get Oklahoma’s version of the smokey mountains with blue layers of mountains in the distance.



Around every corner, there is more color rising above you, glowing through the light rain and fog.



The forests are filled with more color and texture as you take the side roads into new viewing areas.



Bursts of vivid colors make this area and its vegetation different from other parts of the state.




Today, the fog stopped us from going further and on into Arkansas.


But, it cleared as we headed down for a final view of the blue mountains ahead.


The famous Talimena Drive never disappoints, no matter what the season or the weather. Today’s fog and rain made it a magic day to remember!