From the Wichita Mountains, Jan. 2014, with photographer Richard R. Barron, some of my favorite images:
A view of Mount Scott as the trip began; later in the day, we would ascend to the top, and come up with the title of our trip: Above and Beyond.
The view from Richard’s Juke as we entered the Refuge in pursuit of Blue Ridge Wind Farm.
An outpost in the Refuge (Meers) offering bison burgers, etc. Gotta go back!
Meers, Oklahoma, deep in the heart of the Refuge.
Restaurant in Meers, Okla.
The wind-swept, frigid prairie awaits our cameras
Blue Ridge Wind Farm, on a windy January day
A lonely tree endures the chill beneath a blue sky. We listened to U2’s “The Unforgettable Fire” throughout the trip.
A view of Mount Scott, taken from the highway as we chased wind turbines.
A view of a big rock pile from the parking lot near the Parallel Forest.
The Parallel Forest
Outside the Parallel Forest. One thinks of the Haunted Forest in Harry Potter, or the woods in the Blair Witch Project. It was actually a WPA project in the 1930s. Each cedar tree was planted exactly 5 feet apart, creating interesting parallel lines. That’s what I read, anyway.
Another lonely tree on the wind-swept prairie, somewhere between the Parallel Forest and the Holy City.
For me, this is one of the most iconic shots of the trip, showing the highway between the Parallel Forest and the cutoff to the Holy City. In the farthest distance, against that blue horizon, the Blue Ridge Wind Farm can be seen.
Stone church, Holy City of the Wichita Mountains
Another iconic shot, this one of the Holy City.
Still another memorable scene, of the three crosses of Calvary. An annual passion play is performed at this site.
The lonely road
Perhaps the shot I love the most because it was so unexpected. We rounded a curve and suddenly, out on the grassy prairie, this herd of bison swung into view. Richard pulled the car over and I jumped out, heedless of pretty much everything, to grab this photo. I was a long ways off but, at the last second, mindful of his warning not to venture out too far. If I had been using a better, stronger zoom I might have gotten an even closer image, but this photo (taken about 100 yards from the animals) represents for me what the Refuge is all about … “where the buffalo roam.”