June 2012 - Vol 9, No 6
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - Summer is full on in Currentland. Let The Current take you where you want to go as you plunge into the waters of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas.
There is a LOT to choose from when exploring our area so forethought and planning never hurt. Of course, anyone who knows me knows I am all for a full tank of gas, an ice chest of food & drink, no map or plan, just plenty of time. However, this seemingly haphazard day is backed by a plethora of knowledge based on days spent driving back-roads, following creeks and river valleys, bluffs, ridges and lakes. This somewhat nerdy attachment favors well for my spur of the minute road trip, but not so well for others who need more planning.
If you live “on the lake” or “on the river,” you may have a lifestyle based on that water. I have heard many “lake people” speak about their relationship with the lake taking on a deeper meaning the more time that is spent on the lake. Some lakes and amenities cater more to those who live on the lake, such as Grand Lake, while some are more oriented to visitors, with state parks close by. Since not everyone lives on the lake, there is always some excitement to be found when vacationer meets local.
For those vacationing and exploring Currentland, our lakes and rivers offer lots of activities. There is boating, skiing, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, fishing, hiking, camping, RV-ing, swimming, scuba diving, cabins, marinas, restaurants, golf, even Frisbee golf and just plain driving around and being a gaper, or just relaxing, kicking back and letting them gape at you. There are also activities specific to certain lakes or areas, like poker runs, party coves, secret fishing holes or some Okie noodling. Hiking can include one of my favorite hobbies, harvesting plants to grow in my yard, such as wild flowers, ground covers, moss, prickly pear, ferns and flowering vines, like wisteria and passion flower.
When planning your trip in nature, keep your audience in mind. Don’t take small children to certain things. Long float trips in the sun on the Illinois River on the 4th of July should be avoided for the wee ones, but your teenagers would love it. Don’t take grandma somewhere that doesn’t have good shade and a comfy seat. There are great spots for family reunions at pavilions like Fort Gibson Dam and the Tenkiller Lake Overlook. These include grills for cooking, shade, seating and play area.
Family-oriented spots like Greenleaf State Park, Robber’s Cave and Jellystone Park offer great facilities for families with small children including fishing docks, hiking trails, play areas, plenty of shade & quiet areas.
If you are packing teenagers, renting cabins is fun, Do yourself a favor, let your teenagers invite friends and let them have a cabin next to yours. Houseboat camping is fantastic for any lake with lots of area to explore and places to drop anchor and spend some time. Kidless? Take advantage of the marina night life on every lake. During the month of June, we'll be highlighting some of the various lake & river areas that are well worth the visit... Meanwhile: keep in mind that we are still in the wilds of Ozark Country, so take care, wear sunscreen, hats and head bands. Do tick checks often. Be sure to bring a first aid kit. Plan for your children as well as others. Be careful of trespassing and don’t bring your firearm(s).
Here are the links to the lake/river reviews for June:
• America’s first national river is right here in Currentland
• The Mulberry River a must-do for any river enthusiast
• Lake Eufaula – Currentland’s ‘gentle giant’
• The Many Attributes of Lake Tenkiller
• Beaver Lake is a lake lover’s paradise
• The Illinois River – where and how ‘The Current’ began