The last day of autumn found me driving south to Tulsa to pick up my friend Carrie for a day hike at Arrowhead State Park on Lake Eufala. Our first stop was Angel’s Diner, which sported a 1950s theme. Carrie had James Dean’s Philly Steak and a Tootie Fruity vanilla shake while I had The King’s Chicken Fried Steak and Gomer’s Chocolate Cobbler. It was a tasty, if unhealthy, repast which would sustain us as we hiked at Arrowhead.
The former lodge was sold off awhile back to Narconon, but the air strip, golf course, campsites, and bridle trails are still open to the public. We parked at the office and set out on what would become a 5.5 mile loop on the blue/brown and white bridle trails.
The trail started out with little signs nailed to the trees but once it hit a rough road the trail disappeared. So we followed the road down toward the lake until we hit the blue/brown bridle trail and followed it. I call it blue/brown as that was the color of the ribbons tied to the trees, but I could also call it the Bud Light trail because throughout the rest of our hike we would frequently spot such cans discarded by thoughtless riders. I might excuse the park staff for not picking them up if they were recent, but we also saw a number of faded cans which clearly had been left in situ for a long time. If we had brought a big garbage bag with us we could have picked up a huge sackful of cans.
The trail was rough and rocky with relatively little of great interest. We finally passed a small lagoon where we spotted some waterfowl. As the trail wound past what the sketchy park map called Lakeview Circle, we could see the lake below us, glinting through the trees. The trail finally wound down close enough for us to bushwhack to the shoreline, where we snapped photos of each other. A nearby television set discarded on the shoreline was missing its picture tube, but I set it upright so we could watch the rocks through it for a bit. This park definitely needs some cleaning up.
The trail later ascended the ridge of the peninsula, passing through some of the rock formations encircling the summit. The day was a mix of sun and overcast, but sometimes the sun and bright blue sky broke through above us, a most welcome sight.
I was tiring of the rough-and-tumble trail as it wound through the somewhat monotonous woods (and beer cans). I was truly glad to find the trail leveling out with a prominent tree gleaming in the sunshine across the main road up ahead, indicating we were about to turn southeast for the return to the park office. Soon Carrie asked, “Are we there yet?” It was her way of letting me know that she had spotted my restlessness and was also footsore and ready for trail’s end.
At one point I pulled off yet another piece of high grass to play with, this time holding it up in one hand while aiming the camera with the other. The resultant shot turned out better than I had expected.
As we approached the car, an overlook provided a nice view of the lake and the former lodge below. Carrie posed for a final shot. It had been a nice afternoon tromping about, although the scenery was limited. Arrowhead is only a shadow of its former self these days.
We drove back to Krebs for a nice if overly large meal at Pete’s Place and then returned to our respective homes. I would be repeating much of the drive the following day, heading to the east of McAlester as I began a series of day hikes on the first four days of winter. In about 18 hours I’d be hiking along the north shore of Lake Wister, exploring the abandoned areas of another state park.