Monday, April 28, 2014

Greenleaf State Park (Muskogee, OK)

For our first camping trip of 2014, we took a two hour trip down I-40 toward Muskogee, Oklahoma to backpack at Greenleaf State Park.  
Tyler did all the research for the trip, which has a 22 mile round trip hiking trail with two primitive campsites along the way.  
We packed our bags and were set to leave Friday afternoon once everyone in our party was off work.  After a few setbacks, we finally left mid-afternoon and arrived at the beginning of the hiking trail.  We didn't realize there were two ways to begin the trail, and it turns out we started at the alternate trail head, which made our hike an additional two miles longer.


Although we really had enough time to make it five miles to the first primitive campsite had we not begun at the alternate campsite, we had only made it to mile marker three of the real trail by the time it was too dark for us to continue following the trail.  

We saw this beautiful sunset only one mile into the real trail.




We took a break at the swinging bridge and got a group picture.

Me with my little Eagle Scout.  :)


I love those reflections!


After getting to the third mile marker (however we'd actually traveled about 5 miles), we decided to set up our tents just off the trail and not risk getting lost off the trail or bitten by snakes.  Little did we even know how many snakes were out there that we probably just couldn't see while we trekked through the dark.

This was my view waking up the next morning!


Our makeshift camp area wasn't so bad despite the fact that we were practically rolling down a hill in our sleep.  Waking up here was quite peaceful in the morning.


Then we met our first of five (or maybe more) water moccasin friends of the day!  This guy (and his other buddy) were just chilling in the creek right outside our camp site.

Seeing two poisonous snakes chilling out together right outside my campsite isn't really the ideal way to start my day, but I guess that happens sometimes in nature.


I don't mind, however, randomly seeing someone I haven't seen in years randomly on the same trail!  It was great to run into Heather who was the adult chaperon for a group of teenagers I led on a summer trip about five years ago!

After cooking breakfast and packing up our gear, we headed off toward Mary's Cove - the first primitive camp site.  Along the way we saw some pretty flowers and plants.

While going through these photos, I keep expecting to see an unexpected snake in the background...I guess I'm still a little jumpy!

This park was particularly mossy, which is pretty cool.  I haven't seen too many places in Oklahoma that grow much moss, but maybe it was just the time of year.





Oh, and we saw another snake.  
This is only snake number 3, and we saw 3 or 4 more snakes throughout the rest of the day.
Let's just not talk about the 4 foot long one I almost stepped on.  Eek!

Another interesting looking fungi...


When we made it to Mary's Cove, we ate PB&J sadwitches, talked with some other hikers for a few minutes, and walked around.  Before long it was time to head back so we could make it to the car before dark!



I just love some of the patterns that you see in nature.  The patterns in this tree bark are just great.


Once we made it back to the swinging rope bridge, we knew our trip was close to being over!
I think everyone's feet and shoulder muscles couldn't wait to relax in a soft, comfy car.


Tyler had the heaviest pack with the cooking gear, he was dog tired!
(And his Aussie hat makes that all the more legit, right?)


On our next break we took one last timed group photo!

After the photo it was time to pack back up!

Its so interesting how varied Oklahoma terrain can be with just a few miles.  This area was grassy with shorter, shrubbier trees while most of the other parts of our hike were more rocky with taller trees.


Although the field was just here for the telephone poles, the grass waving in the wind was really pretty.
They knew what they were talking about when they wrote a song about Oklahoma's waving wheat.

Our drive home greeted us with one more beautiful sunset!


And that was our trip to Greenleaf State Park!  
This was our first real spring and summer type outing this year.  
What outdoorsy things have you already done or do you plan to do this Spring?
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9 comments:

  1. This looks like such a wonderful trip! I've been looking for an area on the East Coast that allows you to camp off-trail (most of our state parks have strict camping areas, and you can't stay anywhere else but there). I'd love to just pop a tent in the middle of wilderness and sleep under the stars. I hope you had a wonderful time, the pictures are great!

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    1. Thanks, it was pretty fun!

      I don't think this park actually allows you to camp off the primitive camp sites. We just ended up doing that because we still had two miles to get to the real one and it got too dark to see the trail well enough to keep going. Luckily we were far enough in that by the time we packed up only a few people had gone by already. But I was glad we were able to plop down the tent...it would have taken us so much longer to hike in the dark with just two flashlights!

      I can't think myself of any places that do allow you to just camp wherever, but hope you're able to find something! Or you could just leave for your trip later than anticipated on a Friday evening and not make it to your camp site...haha

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  2. Wow, you guys are brave!! I haven't gone real camping since I was a kid...I don't know if I'd be brave enough to now...

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    1. My parents didn't really take me camping as a kid, so I've only gone since I've been in a relationship with Tyler! I enjoy it, you guys should definitely give it a go! It is a fairly cheap way to get out and do something fun together!

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  3. Wow, the sunset pictures of the lake are just amazing! I love them!

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    1. Thank you, Oklahoma has some of the prettiest sunsets! :)

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  4. SUCH beautiful skies!!! And it looks like a great hike, despite the snakes, which totally freak me out.

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    1. Yes, the snakes were definitely not fun. But the weather was great, and the terrain was really pretty as well!

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  5. What a great trip! We are planning on doing this one next summer. Thank you for sharing, I love seeing the great pictures.

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