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to Turner Falls, OK

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Trip Coordinator: L. Hopper 214-797-0643 Cell

There are two words for taking your dog on a road trip to Turner Falls in the winter: Doggie Nirvana!

In preparation for our upcoming meet at Turner Falls, I paid a visit to this "rockin" blue hole Monday Jan. 26, 2004 for a sneak peak at the trails and accommodations. My expectations were exceeded and multiplied by 10. This park is HUGE! The camping is excellent and this  Arbuckle Mountain retreat offers the best doggie eye candy and scratch 'n' sniffs that one could possibly imagine near the D-FW area. Winter camping and hiking is the best, not just because of the solitude but because the herpetic wildlife and other critters are hibernating. There are no skunks for the pooches to chase and no raccoons to drink your beer. Best of all, the park is devoid of neophyte humanoids! The best part of this Davis City Park is that it is only one hour north of Lewisville. For some of you that may be one and a half... LOL! For others like Brutus' Daddy, that may be 45 minutes!

During our visit, the whole place was vacant except for one family sitting around a blazing campfire toasting S'mores with their tent and pick'em'up nearby. This meant that we pretty much could do as we pleased! And the colder the better! On this visit, the gatekeepers were firmly entrenched in the entrance kiosk staying warm. The only sign of life that we saw came from The Trading Post and an artist's shop near the "castle" where a nice and toasty space heater was blasting away while the artist painted mountain scenes on mirrors as he has for the last 50 years! Yes, we asked, and no, he doesn't do dogs! I was told by  office management that during the winter, they are lucky to have 10 visitors a day, any day of the week! Winter, in case you are not from Texas or OK, means January and February. Any month after that is monsoon season.

There were so many things to photograph just in the primitive camping area alone that I ran out of megs on the digital camera. I will be uploading those later to this page. As the temps began to drop form 50F to 40F in both OK and TX, tiny snowflakes began swirling around our heads. This was about an hour after we got there.  The weather in Davis, Oklahoma was almost perfect. By the time we had covered half the park, the temp was about 40 degrees and falling. We managed to let the Off Leash Outlaws work their magic on the grass and bushes through out the park, even right next to the pools under the falls. Whoo Hoooo! They were particularly careful to mark the very best mountain-top camping spot for their own! We even jumped the chain to explore the Castle, a five-story plus, once-upon-a-time residence built into a cliff that is a cross between the Anasazai ruins and the Winchester house in San Jose. There were remnants of furniture still left in some of the rooms. The tiny, twisting stair wells jolted vertically in narrow passage ways from somewhere down below up through every story. The steps were a little too steep for Buffy the Brave so she got a lift. I would have sworn I was in a living map for Unreal.  Now that is spooky! The other punk Pugs stayed in the getaway car at the bottom of the stonework stairs winding up the side of the mountain. We later discovered a campsite trail coming in from the back side along Honey Creek that leads straight to the Castle. Our next stop after that was the nearby waterfall, which is pictured above. I got a really good shot of the falls from a scenic turnout. The turnout with coin operated telescopes is located on Hwy. 77 behind a roadside supply store .

It was necessary to drive throughout the camping area just to cover the distance, stopping at each trailhead or place of interest. I didn't even have time for actually hiking the outer trails, which skirt the western perimeter. Within the huge wilderness area, there are a maze of trails leading between campsites and connecting up with the outer perimeter trails. There is some light rock climbing to do if you want to see the small caves on the cliffs. No rappelling equipment is required - just strong hands and a light footing. One of the caves is under the waterfall so that one will have to wait for a warm sunny winter day - hopefully the Saturday of our road trip! The 1500-acre wilderness spreading westward is an area to be explored on future trips. Hopefully with aerial maps we can find some lost trails.

Honey Creek, a limestone waterway, winds itself throughout the eastern side of the park and is accessible from the trails. There is even a group of  campsites within a few hundred feet of the water's edge. I will be sending out a map of my creation to those going on the trip. After this visit, I realized why there are no trail maps posted out there on the WWW - this place is too good! We need to keep it a secret!

Please keep checking back in the next couple days for my photos of Turner Falls as they get optimized for the web. A notification will go out to all those on the mailing list as the photos are posted. For other road trip photos, info, maps and Texas specific journeys please visit the Road Trips page. There is a full write up there with links to outside webs for cabins within walking distance of the park. Not all are pet friendly so camping and RV'ing is always the best option. I picked up free Oklahoma highway maps from the Department of Tourism of I-35 for those going on the day trip.

Click here to go back to the Road Trips page or to the home page.

Below: Winter in the Arbuckles on Honey Creek as it flows from the west out of the Arbuckle Mountains. Primitive camping lies upstream of the falls. To the left of the bathhouse is a trail that I has to leave for exploration on another weekend. A cave can be seen to the upper right of the falls and also behind the falls. At the bottom of the picture you can see a river crossing where we had to drive through the water to pull up next to the bathhouse on the left. This is one of at least two very clean bathhouses in the park.

Shot of Turner Falls taken by the Trail Dogs Hike & Swim Webmaster.

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