ELS/OCU Trip to the Wichita Mountains
November 9, 2013

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We have met many new friends through the various International Student ministries around Oklahoma City University.  Eric and I decided to do something for the International Students - wanting to give them a special day they would remember forever.  We decided to organize a trip to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, complete with a hike and a traditional American cookout.  The group was planned for 12 students and three volunteers, but quickly grew to 26 students and nine volunteers - 35 people!  

It was a bit daunting to plan such a trip.  However, each time we came up against an obstacle, the Lord provided an answer: 

  • Can't have a trip without insurance - a great organization stepped up to provide it.  
  • How will we transport the students - our church provided a van.  
  • Way more students signed up than we expected - our church provided a second van and friends were willing to help volunteer.  
  • When we discovered there was not room to haul both the students AND the food/grill/supplies - our friends were willing to follow the vans in our car with all the gear. 
  • Aware that cold weather could completely ruin an outdoor trip like this - we were graced with a bright, warm, non-windy day.  

It went on and on like this with each need being met at the right time.  Beautiful! 

As it goes with student trips, we lost a lot of people in the last 24 hours.  The final headcount was 17 students and five volunteers, making for a much more manageable 21 people. 11 of the students were Columbian soldiers who are in the USA for a few months for English language instruction, and one brave Columbian lady who kept all of the boys in line!  (Dinna is engaged to one of the soldiers.)  Our other group members were:  Selcuk from Turkey, Mohanad from Iraq, Isaac (YunLong) from China - Isaac arrived in the USA two days before the trip!, Rui & David Y, also from China, David W - friend and volunteer from the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, and D'Angelo - a great friend who graciously stepped up for van driving duty when we were in a pinch.  It was a great group!  We were blessed by perfect weather and truly had a great time.  
 

   


Everyone gathered in front of our chariots - ready to go! 
 

 
 
 Here's a view from the brown van as we head toward Lawton.

 

 

 
 Our first glimpse of Mt. Scott and the park

 
 Mt. Scott (OK, so it looks more like a lumpy hill than a mountain. It USED to be 
 a very tall mountain but that whole erosion thing came along since then.)  
 
   
 View from the top Isaac, David Y, and Rui
   
 Isaac, me, Rui, and David W sporting a new set of rabbit ears  Poor Eric was on crutches most of the day, he hurt his knee two weeks prior
   
 Boys being boys More views 
   

I thought it was neat how you can see this flake in the rock.

  Me & E, it looks like he's squeezing me 
too hard but I'm just staring into the sun!
 
   
Isaac exploring the area D, E, and David Y - Kings of the mountain!
   
 Wish I'd have gotten closer for a better shot of the soldiers Next stop, the Visitor Center.  Here we have a stuffed Armadillo.
   

Live long-horned steers outside the visitor center
  Stuffed Raccoon and fake fish inside the visitor center
   

Live buffalo outside the visitor center.  OK, I'll stop with the live/stuffed thing.  
  Next came lunch, everyone became VERY helpful at this point!  
   
Eric's favorite chair was a favorite with lots of folks! Mohanad, Selcuk, and Eric - fast friends
   
 Oh look, someone else enjoying the comfy chair! Dinna was the kitchen supervisor, she did a great job!
   
 Eric cooked hamburgers on three grills constantly for more
 than an hour.  These guys can eat some burgers!! 
The chow line forms
 
   
D had to wait with his pre-assembled buns for a LONG time. That's because everyone else used this "hover" technique.
   
I tried to get him to do an interpretive dance with that flag,  
but he would only wave it.
David W is telling a story that must be hard to believe!
 
   
 
Now it's time to walk off those hamburgers.  We did Kite Trail to 40 Foot Hole, then around in a loop.  
That last part was not part of the official trail, but we were adventurous!  

  

 Isaac  
   
David Y Selcuk
   
Shawnna Me, David Y, and Mohanad
   
 Selcuk, me, Mohanad The view
   
I think this was Hermes Rui
   
Mohanad Rui
   
Crossing the creek Me & Rui brought up the rear - we were WAY back at this point! 
   
 Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to hike we go...   
(For my foreign friends - that's a joke from the classic Disney movie Snow White)
Crossing the creek again
   
Let's get a closer look at D's technique here
 
One of the soldiers tried to hide and scare Dinna, it takes more
than that to scare this lady!  Her fiancÚ was also giving her some 
hill-climbing assistance.  
   
 Jairo, David W, and D'Angelo having a chat after the hike  Scenery
   
My favorite part of the park is the Prairie Dog town! Action shot - head for the hidey-hole!!  
   
Everyone got a picture with the buffalo 


Rui  Isaac
   

I can't remember his name!  I'm sorry!!
  Selcuk
   
 D  David Y
   
 David W Me
   
   
I don't think this mouse was altogether healthy.  
It was not natural the way he just sat there for so long.

Here the boys torment the buffalo.  I am SO glad the buffalo didn't charge them!
 

   

D & Mohanad
 This prairie dog is checking out our friend from the
 safety of his hole.
 
   
 One final look at the prairie dogs before we head to the next stop  Last and final stop - the heart rock.  The boys enjoyed scrambling
all over the giant boulders in the area. 
   
 Everyone likes to get their picture taken with the heart rock.  
   
   Selcuk posed us for this artistic shot 
   
 We saw this coyote on our way out of the park. It was a great trip, thanks so much to everyone who went with us!!! 
   
   
   
 

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