Fall is upon us in the Texas panhandle! The days are getting cooler and shorter, and I can’t help but look back on the trip we took to Beavers Bend State Park during the first weekend in November last year. We went out of our way to take Talimena National Scenic Byway on our way to the park. The byway was beautiful, but it wasn’t very conducive to stopping for photographs, which was a little disappointing.
There were several areas to pull over and stop at scenic overlooks, but many of them were on the west side of the road, which meant that we were staring straight into the sun. This overlook was on the east side of the road, so the sun was at our backs, and we were actually able to see the view.
We arrived at Beavers Bend after dark and spent quite a bit of time searching for a campsite. It would have been easier to find a campsite had we arrived when it was still light outside. This was our first trip to Beavers Bend, and we weren’t familiar with how the campsites were set up (common parking lot, a parking area at each campsite, etc.). It had been awhile since we had eaten, and I was getting hangry, so we finally gave up, got out of the car, and stumbled across an open campsite at the Dogwood Campground. It was the only open campsite we had come across in our hour-plus search, and we just knew it was going to be a crummy campsite, but our chili was calling (actually…the ingredients for chili were calling). We woke up in the morning, and Bryan got out of the tent first. He ventured out, and then came back and told me that I had to get up because it was the most beautiful campground ever. I initially thought that he had to be lying but got up anyways and was me with a gorgeous view. The Mountain Fork River was a short (less than 1 minute) walk away from our tent. We did quite a bit of hiking while we were there, but the trails were not marked very well, and we weren’t able to plan our hikes ahead of time because web-based-information for Oklahoma State Parks in general is…lacking. Here’s a link to a site with some information on hiking trails at Beavers Bend. I think we hiked several portions of the David Boren Hiking Trail, the Skyline Trail, and the Forest Heritage Tree Trail.
If you visit Beavers Bend and aren’t able to find a place to pay for your campsite, don’t worry about it. We went to the headquarters office and asked where we were supposed to pay for our site. They told us that someone walks around the campgrounds each day collecting fees from the people who are at their campsites at that time. So….if you’re not at your campsite, then you ultimately don’t have to pay — not much of a way to run a business.
On our last morning at the Dogwood Campground several hooded mergansers were swimming along the river. I didn’t bring my 50-500mm camera lens that I normally use for wildlife photograph, but I was able to get some decent shots with one of my smaller lenses. I’ve seen pictures of hooded mergansers in the past, but I’ve never seen them in person, so this was a special treat for me!
The variety of trees growing in that part of Oklahoma was amazing. I tried to take a picture of every different type of leaf that we saw during our trip.
One of the things that I look out for while we’re hiking is fungus. I really enjoy looking at them closely and photographing them. Beavers Bend State Park had a ton of different types of fungus to photography!
Parting shot: We stopped to take a picture of this fly-fisherman on our way out of the park.
If you live near southeast Oklahoma and are looking for a quick, easy camping trip to take during the fall, I definitely recommend considering Beavers Bend State Park!
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” -Nathaniel Hawthorne