Saturday, April 16, 2016

Lake Altus-Lugert

Our next paddle trip was to Lake Altus-Lugert.  I had visited there to paddle the lake two years ago.  The sight of the lake when it was down 35-feet was sickening.  With the first wet spring in ten years, the lake filled, so I was anxious to get back before the lake disappeared again.  Agriculture is the largest user of water, and in the southwest part of the state it is used to irrigate cotton, with a little going to cattle.  There is little restraint in water usage.  As long as there is water, most everyone feels they have the right to take as much as they want, without thought for conservation, so in just five months the lake is again down 12-feet, but still a happier scene than in the past.  If you would like to see the earlier pictures for comparison, the original post on Lake Altus-Lugert can be found in archives on 12 December 2012.

Trying to find our way around Hobart found us out in the boonies.
We are pulled half-way off the road here, and as the road tracks show
there's still barely room for another vehicle to pass.

The sudden 30-degree drop in air temperatures had deflated the RV tires substantially.  The first thing I needed to do was to find an air pump where I could end my own ‘deflategate’ and get the tires back to proper inflation.  It took 18-miles of running slow before we found the first gas station with an air pump.

Our trip would take us through the town of Hobart where Rt. 9 had been closed for construction.  Going southwest, the detour was not clearly marked.  Signs simply suggested that we find an alternate route, so we ended up on a narrow, dirt, washboard road that didn’t allow two vehicles to pass without one getting part way off of the road, especially if both vehicles had West Coast mirrors.  With slow speed and patience, we finally returned to a blacktop road at the town of Lone Wolf, named in honor of Chief Lone Wolf the Elder, Chief of the Kiowa.  (After his death, Lone Wolf was buried in an unmarked, undisclosed location near Mount Scott.)  Going south from there, we rounded the south end of the lake and arrived at Quartz Mountain State Park.  While the local mountains are called the Quartz Mountains, they are still part of the Wichita Mountains.

Tonight, Ibi sleeps atop the Dodge Ram, but we're both wanting to
be paddling tomorrow.

As soon as we pulled into the Live Oak campground, we encountered about a dozen white-tailed deer roaming through the camp sites.  Shortly another herd came through with several fawns.  Here’s a video of the area that will give you a nice overview.

The area is covered with mountains of granite divided by deep wooded ravines.  Early residents included Wichita and Kiowa Indians.  Until the 1500’s, the area where the lake and state park are were under Spanish control, but then it was included in the Louisiana Province of France.  After being sold to the United States, the area was laid claim to by Mexico and the Republic of Texas, until a Supreme Court decision gave control back to the U. S.  It was then assigned to the Indian Territory that would become Oklahoma with the land run of 1901.

These deer are in a game preserve, and pay humans little attention.

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