Eastern Oklahoma adventure
TAKE ON TOPICS
By TRACI BARNES
This last week the grandkids Korie and Brody have been here with us. I decided to take a day off from work and drag them around on a little sightseeing tour. My grandma Georgie used to do this with me and my sisters when we came for a visit.
I had them and their mom, Kristi, meet me at 8 a.m. It was driving them crazy because I wouldn’t tell them where we were going. All they knew was I had an adventure lined out!
I was armed with my camera, some bottled water, and snacks. I had been eyeing a few local places for some good pictures. We took some pictures by the railroad tracks in Wister and then headed out for Heavener. I wanted to get to the Runestone Park before it got too terribly hot. We first went to the overlook at the top of the park where you can see for miles. We then climbed down the rock stair case across the grassy area and to the cliff. We climbed across the small one foot high rock boundry wall, onto the ledge for more pictures. Do not do this if you have small children. Korie and Brody are 10 and 15 years old. It was a nice clear day and the mountain scenery in the distance made for some great photographs.
Next we made our way around to the other areas of the park. We walked down to the amphitheater by one of several covered pavilions. The sun was just starting to glisten through the tops of the trees and the three crosses just shined. If you don’t know what I am talking about, these are the three wood crosses in the trees used for sunrise service at Easter. I had to check out all the stone that had been laid at the back of the seating area since the last time I was there.
We finally made our way to the gift shop. This was perfect as Karry Kofr that runs the park was there, and wanted to know what the kids knew about the park and the Vikings. Of course they knew nothing yet because I had kept it a secret.
When she said the word Viking, theirs eyes lit up! She loved it and went into a great little history lesson. They took in every word she said. Later I heard them telling their dad all the dates and stories. They all picked out T Shirts, a backpack, and the Gloria Farley Book. We left our purchases with Karry and we started down the path to see the 20-foot tall Runestone. The carving translates to “Glome Dal” which means valley owned by “Glome”.
It appears that a Norseman named Glome, nicknamed Goli, owned property on Poteau Mountain as early as 600 A.D. We had timed this just right because there was a great little breeze blowing through the trees. I took a couple of hundred pictures on this little adventure. We saw a katydid and a huge walking stick. It didn’t seem like the grass hoppers and crickets were quite as bad there as they are in town. The waterfall was barely a trickle right now, but the trees were green and it was beautiful.
When we finished we drove by the Deer Pens. Kristi and Brody were more interested than Korie and I were. We looked then we decided to wait in the air conditioning while Brody petted the deer. Next we took a few pictures at the KCS train car by the pens. By now we were hot and ready for some lunch.
We drove to Poteau to eat and then headed to Spiro. It had been several years since I had been to the Spiro Mounds. I really didn’t know if they would like any where I was taking them. But when we were inside checking out all the artifacts in the air conditioning I heard Korie say “this is really cool”. Brody was the most amazed at the canoe used in the movie that was sunk and recovered. I loved the pottery and the ceremonial copper pieces.
The Spiro Mounds Archaeological Park is the only prehistoric site in the state open to the public. The Museum preserves and interprets a 138 acre site where Caddoan Indians lived and created 12 mounds between 600 A.D. and 1450 A.D. The park has nine house mounds, two temple mounds, and one large single burial mound (Craig Mound).
Once we were through we decided to take the outside tour and borrowed the walking map. We took off on the two mile walk in the heat of the day. I went in the replica house to take pictures. I am thinking now I probably wasn’t supposed to get off the path. But I smacked the top of my head coming out of there on the wood beam above the door.
Yes, don’t do that stay on the path. Thank goodness I am hard headed! We looked at the round mound and headed back around the first phase and Kristi and Brody went back to the museum. Korie and I were in it for the long haul and went on. Yes we were incredibly sweaty and hot when we returned. So my recommendation for this summer is go hang out inside at the Spiro Mounds Museum inside.
Then make another trip back when it cools off and do the walking tour outside. I was impressed that Korie had questions for Dennis when we returned to the museum. The trip also made me realize I had not distributed any of our Fort Smith Regional Alliance Tourism Tear Off maps to the Mounds.
So when I go to a meeting next week I will drop them some off. We loaded up on T Shirts again and headed to the Mayo Lock and Dam Overlook just around the corner. That was one part of the tour I was not prepared for all the questions that Brody had.
We didn’t make it everywhere I wanted on this one day but they are here for another week. I would still like for them to see the Peter Conser Home, Indian Rock Jail, Kerr Museum-Poteau Runestone, and some more scenery on Cavanal Hill.
When you have family and friends coming to town, take them to see some of the unique attractions that we have here in Eastern Oklahoma.
Until next week…