Lake of the Arbuckles in Oklahoma
Once again, it was time for the Geology Field Trip, with my friend and former professor from UNT, Dr. George Maxey. He's generous to a fault letting charity cases like me tag along.
I slipped up early to nab our favorite camping spots; Max joined me late that Thursday night. We stayed up past midnight chatting and catching up. The best part of camping is being with your friends.
Friday, Max and I enjoyed a tasty breakfast in town at the Poor Girl Cafe--thanks for picking up the tab, professor! We chatted until after the Census Takers came and inquired about us, back at camp, then I went paddlin'.
So, I set out from camp at the Point, and paddled northeast toward Rock Creek. I pinballed between the peninsular bits of shoreline across the open water of the lake. Wanted to avoid the power boats. None discourteous, so, thanks fellows.
Made my way up Rock Creek as far as I could before it got too shallow and too swift, and too appropriately named. Then I just paddled up and down the creek for awhile. There were a couple of schools of crappie in the creek. The water was still and clear all the way down, about 4 or 5 feet deep. So, I played canoe cowboy with the fish for some time, or fishboy, maybe, herding them around upstream and down, in circles, until I got tired. It was fun. Plenty of birds, too. I was somewhere near some nesting eagles, I was told by the friendly camphost, Jeff, but I didn't see them. Saw some frogs, which is a good sign. Not much trash, which is nice to report.
Paddled back into the wind, waves, and powerboat wakes, though again, the boaters were kind enough to keep their distances. The swells at times, all whitecapped, were more than two feet.
Sturm und drang the next day, and a bass fishing tournament was going on, so I went hiking in the woods, and also did the scenic trails around the lake. Beautiful.
Short morning paddle on Sunday, after the UNT folks went on about their geology. I stayed on to meet with the park ranger, as the infernal camp fee machine was not cooperative all weekend. The nice staff of the park, Jeff and Jim, though, were.
No fees for canoeing from camp, but if you use a boat ramp there is one. Campsites are $14 per pad per night (up to eight tents per pad, if I remember rightly).
Fun paddle. But this is where I really was wanting a slightly longer double-bladed paddle. Mine's a 230 cm Marine Raider. Scooped, and it has two feather settings, neither of which I use. $25 at Academy, and the longest they had. Pretty tough paddle, as I abuse it pushing off and generally being a dumbass newbie paddler.
Luxury camping with shower and restroom facilities!
Camping is $14 per night; more for utilities. No boat or ramp fees for small, human-powered craft launched from camp. Boat ramps or launches require fees.
I-35 to HWY 7 to Charles Cooper Memorial Rd.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area
1008 West Second Street
Sulphur, Oklahoma 73086
- Trip Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water