We were up before dawn and camp was taken down and loaded into the vehicle in 10 minutes. Off we went.
We drove out of the forest and back to a highway and pointed the car West towards Oklahoma. We enjoy driving the backroads and seeing new scenery so we took a meandering route to get to Pine Creek Lake.
We even found a McDonalds and bought two coffees and a quick breakfast since we left without making either. Gotta have coffee!
We had never been to this part of southeast Oklahoma so were looking forward to seeing what we could. We drove over the Glover River and were stunned to see that the river was bank-to-bank and flowing fast. Really fast! Something wasn’t adding up.
After a long and winding route we finally arrived at the campground only to find the gate locked and a CLOSED sign in front of us. We looked on GaiaGPS and headed for another campground on the lake with similar results. When we drove over the dam we saw that ALL of the gates were open and discharging as much water as possible. Looking around we noticed about 2 feet of telephone poles sticking out of the “lake” with the power lines themselves being underwater. Holy crap! This lake was flooded…the campgrounds were underwater as well.
The Glover River was out of the question at this point. We quickly decided on a Plan B and started driving north towards Talihina Oklahoma. The Talimena Scenic Drive runs from Talihina OK to Mena AR and follows the mountain tops the whole way. We had never done the complete route so decided to do it today.
As we were driving by the Queen Wilhelmina State Park we noticed the campground was pretty empty. And with it being later in the day, we stopped and got a camping spot. The price was $19.89 per night. The real motivator was not time, but the showers we both needed and wanted.
When we checked into the campground, you have to go into the main lobby of the hotel. I guess we smelled really bad because they rushed us through and told us our campsite was #36…all the way at the end of the road LOL.
The plus side to camping here was the altitude. It was roughly 2600 feet so it was 10 degrees cooler. 85F is better than 98F back home! This mountain chain is the first significant barrier to any weather coming up from the Gulf through Texas. We could hear thunder in the valley below and saw dark clouds approaching so we rigged for rain. It never happened. The low that night was 70F so it wasn’t too bad. But it wasn’t the low-60’s like we had at Cossatot.
Needless to say, we were up early and on the road by 6am. We headed to Mena to complete the Scenic Drive and decided to head back to the Cossatot River.