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  1. #1
    sargevining's Avatar
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    OK>Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge>27-29 Dec

    I have a limited number of back country permits for camping in the Charon's Garden Wilderness area in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge outside Lawton, OK for the weekend of 27-29 December. Permits allow two nights of camping (Friday and Saturday).

    http://www.summitpost.org/charon-s-g...derness/274583

    WMWR has no real long distance trails, but a number of excellent day hikes, and a couple of the best are in Charon's Garden. Its 5000 acres of Wilderness and the only people out there at night will be us. Basic plan would be to meet up Friday AM at Refuge HQ, do the paperwork, then head to a short hike to Forty Foot Hole and then drive back to the parking area at Sunset Pool to hike in to find a campsite. Saturday would be a hike to Post Oak Falls and the Rock Rooms and a climb up Elk Mountain. Somewhere in there, I'd like to squeeze in a trip to Meers for a Cowboy Burger.

    Right now am checking for interest, please shout out if you think you might be able to make it. I've got 10 permits---all they allow in any given three day span. Three permits are definitely taken (me and the Grandkids), one more tentative, and three other maybe's, which leaves three permits definitely available and the possibility of four more.

  2. #2
    in it for the naps oldgringo's Avatar
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    Tarp and I hiked there nearly 2 years ago. There aren't a lot of trees, and what's there has been heavily impacted by drought and fire. At the time, we discussed the difficulty we might have finding suitable spots to hang. We did not see all of the area, of course, and conditions may be more favorable elsewhere. Hanging was good in the Doris campground...consider that as alternate plan B.
    Dave

    http://www.uark.edu/misc/xtimber/rna/pattonsbluff.html

    It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.
    John Steinbeck

  3. #3
    sargevining's Avatar
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    Its always a challenge finding trees in OK, and Doris is nice, I've camped there often. But I've been trying for 40 years to get permits in Charon's Garden on a weekend I can get off work and finally found one.

    Have seen the aerials from 2 yrs ago on Google Earth (image is April 2012) and there are large swaths that were burned in Charon's Garden, but most of the area near the base of Sunset Peak +/- 1 1/2 mile west of Sunset Pond appear to be untouched, and that's the designated camping area.



    The fire was a range fire on Fort Sill that spread to the Refuge in April 2011:

    http://newsok.com/wildfires-burn-mor...rticle/3558167

    From what I understand, most of the fire was contained in the southern portion of Charon's Garden, which is where one of the two trails most popular with hikers in that area are. It loops from Treasure Lake and skirts the western base of Mount Lincoln, then climbs a valley composed of fallen boulders before swinging back east around Elk Mountain to Sunset Pond. The other trail is an up and back from Sunset Pond to the summit of Elk Mountain. There's a line of what passes for mountains in OK between that part of Charon's Garden and the camping area at the base of Sunset Peak.

  4. #4
    UncleMJM's Avatar
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    I'm interested, although not ready to committ. Looks like a good campfire topic.

  5. #5
    sargevining's Avatar
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    The approach to 40 Foot Hole:


    View from the rim at 40 Foot Hole:



    Waterfall at 40 Foot Hole in winter time:



    View from top of Elk Mountain:



    Post Oak Falls in winter:



    Post Oak Falls in summer:



    Little Post Oak Falls:



    Little Post Oak from ground level:



    In the Rock Rooms on the Charon's Garden trail, north of the Post Oak Falls. The trail from Treasure Lake to Sunset pond goes through these rooms for about 1/4 mile:


    Bill of fare at the Meers Store. Bring cash, he doesn't accept cards or checks:



    Save room for desert:

  6. #6
    sargevining's Avatar
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    Some more info on the area:

    Blog post of a hike to Sunset Peak in Dec 2011, 6 months after the range fire and same time of year as we'll be doing it:

    http://proactiveoutside.wordpress.co...ldlife-refuge/

    This view to the west from the summit shows some of the camping area:



    Blog post of a hike to summit of Elk Mountain, just to the southeast of the camping area (which is obscured by Mount Lincoln) done February 2012:

    http://proactiveoutside.wordpress.co...ita-mountains/

    Blog post from March 2012 of the trail to the Rock Rooms (which he calls the Boulder Field) showing Post Oak Falls:

    http://proactiveoutside.wordpress.co...ita-mountains/

  7. #7
    Senior Member Corncob's Avatar
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    Are those trees or scrub? Doesn't look like much from that picture, but the blog post of the Elk Mountain trip appears to show some hang-able trees. Might have to do a small bit of trimming at places though.

  8. #8
    sargevining's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corncob View Post
    Are those trees or scrub? Doesn't look like much from that picture, but the blog post of the Elk Mountain trip appears to show some hang-able trees. Might have to do a small bit of trimming at places though.
    There's always a chance that we might have to hike back out after hiking in a mile and a half and finding no good trees. At this time of year, there should be no problem getting primitive sites, or even those with electrical connections, at Camp Doris, so OG's fall back suggestion is workable, albeit I'd consider it a last resort.

    But I've spent enough time out there in the past 40 years to take the chance, enough so that I'm bringing my grandchildren with me. We might end up being a bit dispersed, using our tarps, or hanging a bit lower than usual. I count those as costs far outweighed by the benefits.

    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-...hread_id=21088

    http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/fo...e3752e4981e6e6

  9. #9
    New Member Mordakai's Avatar
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    you can add me and my girlfriend to the list plz

  10. #10
    sargevining's Avatar
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    We have one other written in dark pencil.

    So far:

    Me
    (2) Grandchildren
    (1) son
    Mordakai & girlfriend

    That's 6 confirmed, leaves 4 permits left with one of those a definite maybe.

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