Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge

with my better half up north visiting family in the snow globe that is new hampshire, i decided to venture out on my own. my last trip out of state was to louisiana back in september so i've been itching to see something new. looking at some maps of surrounding states i noticed a spot of green designating a park right over the border in oklahoma, wichita mountains national wildlife refuge. 

leaving at midnight i drove north through the dark and lonely highways for six hours, just me, my dogs and the full moon above. arriving at the refuge before sunrise i took in the bright comanche moon reflecting off an ice covered lake slowly setting behind a set of mountains while the sun began to rise over my shoulder. 

i drove the sun drenched roads of the park taking in the sights, pulling over and doing short hikes whenever i saw a trail marker. without a real plan i just meandered up and down the rolling hills passing grasslands, massive granite peaks and numerous man made lakes built by the civilian conservation corps between nineteen thirty-three and nineteen forty-one.

i was also on a mission to find and photograph some of the bison herd that call the refuge home. i am not usually one for wildlife photography, but the bison has an allure that i cannot escape. thunderous and steadfast these massive beasts exude the feeling and freedom of the west.

the park was empty for much of the morning, allowing me and the pups to roam free without having to worry about running into anybody while we explored. after six short hours in the wichita mountains we were headed back to texas and the rv's and minivans had just started to make their slow procession into the refuge.