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  • Writer's pictureauthorbetseyk

Now is the winter of our discount tents.

Updated: Jan 26, 2023

It might be winter according to the calendar, but as you might have heard me say before, Oklahoma weather does what it wants. In the past week, it's been as high as 71, we've had tornado warnings in this state (and one confirmed tornado) -- until the cold front came in last night and it dropped to 33 and there was some snow -- allegedly -- in NE Oklahoma

We took advantage of the nice weather, and a free weekend to hit the road, and hike some trails. With no particular destination in mind -- except to find adventure -- we left OKC last Friday night and drove east until we got tired, just shy of the Arkansas state line. We got a room at the Cherokee Casino and fed some money to the one-arm bandits before we went to bed. We were up early in search of pancakes, and we didn't have to go far. The ladies at the 4-Star Diner hooked us up with some seriously tasty food, terrific coffee and friendly service. We learned a few things about Pretty Boy Floyd - the infamous Oklahoma Bank Robber - and were off to find a trail to hike at Devil's Den State Park.

This is a rugged area of rocks and trees, rivers and sunshine -- at least while we were there. It was the perfect day for a four-mile hike into land reportedly inhabited by none other than our favorite cryptid, known here as the Ozark Howler - or Bigfoot. There've also been some UFO sightings. While I'm always on the lookout for these kinds of things, what really caught my attention on our hike, were the rocks. Yes. Rocks.

For a brief time, I was a geology major. I'm particularly interested in plate tectonics, but interesting geological structures fascinate me. I found fossils and rocks like I had never seen before. It was a nice distraction from the rugged trail and my sore feet. Sometimes a writer just needs to let her brain be silent, take in new things, and ruminate on them before she figures out how or if it's something she needs to write about in one of her books. (I still haven't decided.)

By the time we were done, my husband wanted to stay. We hadn't made plans to camp or had any idea where we'd sleep that night, but at one point there was discussion about going into town and getting some sleeping bags and just spending a night in the car or one of the camping cabins at the state park (if we only had access to the internet to make a reservation).

I could have been relatively comfortable in a small discount tent with a sleeping bag and my hoodie and sweats, but that's not what worked out. Instead, we headed to Fayetteville, if for no other reason than to access internet, grab a bite to eat and get supplies for the night. Instead, we ended up at the Embassy Suites Hotel. They have a manager's reception in the evening and the free drinks and snacks - along with a hot tub and a comfy room as well as free breakfast, sealed the deal. We had a great lunch, a lovely night and found our way to the Crystal Bridge Art Museum the following day. They have hiking trails outside the museum and most of the exhibits are free (with a few exceptions). Lunch in Fayetteville followed before a long drive home, and it was all over.

That's the sad thing about adventure, it's over all too soon.

Oh well, there's always next weekend.

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