Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sights in the Arbuckles

Turner Falls in Oklahoma's Arbuckle Mountains

The Arbuckle Mountains are a very old range of mountains located between Davis and Ardmore, Oklahoma. This uplift is somewhere around 500-million years old. Today, Interstate 35 makes them almost unnoticeable, but old US 77 wound around for a few miles through these hills. They are so old and so worn that they are no longer mountains in the sense of the Rockies or even the Appalachian range. Still, they are quite beautiful, and home to the Arbuckle Wilderness and Turner Falls, pictured above. Turner Falls is a 77 foot drop of spring-fed Honey Creek, making it the highest waterfall in the state. At the time I stopped by, the water appeared to be at a low point in volume.

In the 1930s, a doctor decided to build a couple of castles beside the falls. Below is one of them.

One of the Turner Falls castles

When I was a child living in Houston, we used to travel the old US 77 to Oklahoma City to visit our grandparents. At the time, it was a bit scary to go through the Arbuckles and the hairpin curves, especially at night. We were always afraid of falling off the mountains. Had we seen the sign below, it would have made for even scarier stories!

Road monument in the Arbuckles

You see, it turns out that this old highway was built through the mountains in the mid 1920s by prisoners. The imagination can come up with all kinds of spooky stories about what could have transpired in the dark along this stretch of highway!

Close up of monument showing this road was built only 18 years after Oklahoma became a state