This Christmas , a couple friends and I decided to drive up to Chickasaw National Park to spend our Christmas weekend there.

Little did we know a huge snow blizzard was on its way ...

After planning and unplanning several times we finally decided on Chickasaw because it was only a three hour drive from TX. This was important just in case the weather didn't permit camping and we had to get back home. Driving 10 - 12 hours for a day trip did not make sense. And if we couldn't camp , there was no fun staying at motels.

So, Chickasaw it was !

We started at five AM on Christmas day on our drive to Oklahoma. The night before we had a snow storm of epic proportions - well for us it was epic.

The roads were bad.
Terrible actually.
Slippery, icy and freezing cold.

So we drove slowly...keeping our eyes OPEN and driving with all the concentration in the world because one wrong move and the car would slip and slide into the shoulder or guard rails.

The roads we drove on...

Once we crossed TX and entered OK, we realized the snow was even worse here. I'd lost count of the number of vehicles that had crashed , lost its grip, swiveled and hit the concrete rails, crashes. We didn't see any but apparently many people were stranded in their cars all night long. There was at least one car or truck at every mile on the side of the road.

Scary to say the least.
Few of the abandoned cars

Snow everywhere

Cattle chilling on their ranches

And we continued driving slowly. By now the sun was on its way up and the tireless cleaning crew were on the roads clearing the snow, adding saw dust , bettering the road conditions. Big Thank You to them.

The snow clearing crew hard at work

Finally we reached Chickasaw.

Our car also got stuck in the snow. A fifteen minute push, pull accelerate got us out. Needless to say we were the only people in Chickasaw that day other than the park workers. Even the administrative office was closed but we knew it would be.

Thanks to a park worker Frank , we got to know about the safe hiking trails, roads that were cleared, bridges to avoid and icy hazardous areas to avoid. I really liked Frank. He gave us clear instructions and didn't scare us about being over careful. He made sure we used the right trails, told us it would be beautiful and made sure we made the best out of our trip. We followed his words and started on out hiking trail.

I bundled myself in several several layers of thick sweatshirts, woolen hiking socks, hiking boots, couple of gloves and the Cold Killer Mask .I couldn't have done it without the mask - it really kills the cold. Keeps your head, ears, nose warm. Of course the mask also makes it hard to breathe but I took breaks removing it so I could breathe through my nose & mouth.

The trail was the most pure, pristine thing in the world. Fresh white snow everywhere. Bright sun shining over our heads making the snow glisten like tiny tiny diamonds. Deers running around, digging their deep hooves into the fresh snow, birds jumping making their own tiny, shallow feet marks and us the humans dragging our feet along the thick blanket taking in the wonders of nature.

This was our trail...a beautiful white blanket of snow

Deer foot prints on the fresh snow

We only completed half the trail because the sun was coming up , melting the snow. The trail was getting icy & slippery. So we decided to get back.

After hiking we reached the camp grounds - snow everywhere. We cleared a small area set up fire and make camp food - Sausages & chili.

This was without a doubt one of the best Christmas ever. I so look forward to visiting Chickasaw again this Spring. Will be fun to compare our snowy pictures with the warm green ones in the spring. If you are interested check out pictures from my trip to Big Bend National Park this past Summer here

Don't mess with the bison !
Naa...they seemed pretty docile.
That doesn't mean you can mess with them.

Camping in summer is great but in winters, its more exciting and thrilling ! I wish we could have camped but the snowfall was too heavy and more was expected.

This is what I did this Christmas ! Hope your Christmas was warmer !

Indian Girl


Rupa said... @ December 29, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Loved reading it .....very nice pics...glad that you are back safe... I just lazed around on christmas day....nothing much here...

Divija Reddy said... @ December 29, 2009 at 6:11 PM

Seems like u had great fun, hun ;) nice pics...

Teja said... @ December 31, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Great Pictures! Glad you are back safe!

Couldn't help but notice how you look like Kenny from SouthPark in your last picture, with the hoodie covering your face and all!!! Haha!

Anonymous said... @ January 4, 2010 at 7:02 AM

Looks like a fun time!

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