By Rep. JAMES LOCKHART
As the days grow shorter and cooler, the Kiamichi Mountains in southeast Oklahoma display their autumn splendor. The Kiamichi’ is one of the highest mountain ranges between the Appalachians and the Rockies, reaching upwards of 2,500 feet in elevation.
The Kiamichi Mountains are ancient as far as mountains go. Geologists say the Kiamichi once stood as tall as the Rocky Mountains, which were formed much more recently. The highly jagged appearance of the Rockies and other tall mountain ranges may be attributed to their youth. By contrast, the Kiamichi Mountains are much older—and now shorter.
October and November means fall foliage in southeastern Oklahoma. The Kiamichi Mountains play host to a wide variety of colors. The Pine, Oak, Maple and Sycamore trees all display their extraordinary colors in magnificent fashion during late October and early November.
Talimena Scenic Drive is a primary destination for motorists who wish to enjoy the breathtaking views from the mountaintops, Highways 59 and 259 meander through much of the Kiamichi Mountains as well.
Fall is my favorite time of year in southeast Oklahoma. The cooler weather and the natural beauty of the Kiamichi Mountains provide a perfect combination for the nature lover in me. My family and I often enjoy a drive through the “woods” as we call it. Bald eagles, deer, bears and even flying squirrels reside in the Kiamichi’s. Many of the rivers – such as the Blackfork, Poteau, Glover and Mountain Fork provide exciting boating and fishing opportunities.
Fall also provides many opportunities for fellowship with friends and family. The various deer camps during the week of Thanksgiving vacation provide a special kind of fellowship. This is the only time of year that many friends and relatives have a chance to come home. Deer camp is as much about spending time with family and friends as it is about harvesting a trophy deer.
Fall brings out the best qualities of southeast Oklahoma; not only in our land, but also in our people. Southeast Oklahoma is not only blessed by nature’s beauty, but also a people with a strong dedication to family and friends.
In my office at the State Capitol is a picture of eagles soaring over the Kiamichi Mountains. If you have never visited southeast Oklahoma in the fall, I highly recommend it.
* James Lockhart represents District 3 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He resides in Heavener, Oklahoma with his family. He can be reached at his Capitol office at 405-557-7413 or by email at [email protected]