Friday, November 21, 2014

Lake Carl Blackwell, Stillwater, OK

Looking across the lake from a pocket of grass along the shore.
When we left Guthrie Lake on Saturday, we stopped in Guthrie for a few more days of provisioning at WalMart, since it was right on Rt. 77 (Division St.) and easy to get to. We had planned to make a stop at Langston Lake, but no camping was indicated. We knew camping was available at Carl Blackwell, so off we went.

Juvenile yellow crown night heron.  I wish I had gotten a better
picture, but I got one chance and it was gone.
When we arrived, the office staff indicated we had picked the worst weekend of the year to visit. OSU is reputed to have the largest homecoming in the United States, and we had pulled in for homecoming weekend. Of course she also said Oklahoma has more lakes than any other state in the country, and we know that isn’t true. Oklahoma has 177 lakes, which doesn’t start to compare with 11,842 in Minnesota, or 15,291 in Wisconsin, or 64,980 in Michigan, or 3,000,000 in Alaska. Now, if she had said we have the most artificial, man-made lakes of any other state, bingo. Anyhow, in spite of all the hoopla, Oklahoma lost to West Virginia 34-10.

On a related educational topic, a report was recently released naming Oklahoma as having the 49th worst educational standards in the country, losing only to Tennessee. (This number varies with the report being referenced. One placed Oklahoma as high as tenth worst.) Several of the lowest hanging fruit from the Bush of Knowledge had taken up residence in a campsite near us. I’ve never understood why campgrounds seem to increasingly discriminate against tent campers, or forbid them entirely. If this group was representative of tent campers, my inability to comprehend such dislike should be satisfied. Campground literature clearly states “quiet hours are to be observed between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., and the message is repeated with a sign at the entrance to each camping area and in front of about every third campsite, yet these miscreants kept the ruckus up with loud talking, hooting, screeching, and imitating coyotes until 1 a.m.

Finally able to lay its beak down for awhile, a pelican
pauses for a rest.
They began raiding every campsite looking for firewood by pulling into sites and scanning with their high-beam headlights, and then gathering anything they could carry. One log they picked up was 8-inches across at the small end and about six feet long. It was heavy enough it took three guys to carry it. This was the “kindling” with which they planned to start their bonfire. One of the girls yelled, “You’re on your own. I’m not going to help. I’m not going to jail for arsenic. Ew! It’s got ants all over it!” Apparently enough beers make arson and arsenic the same thing. The biggest shocker, however, came in the morning. One of the guys took a plastic bag and walked around their campsite picking up their beer cans. Giving credit where credit is due, I erased a black mark from their camping score. Then they made breakfast and threw egg shells on the ground all around their fire ring. Oh well. Here’s your black mark back. So close and yet so far.

The paddle down the lake will follow.

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