We arrived to Talihina, a hole in the wall kind of place, on Friday morning, and tried to find a place for the night before hitting the state park. The town has 2 motels ("rough" would be a good description), both fully booked - and then some kind local soul pointed us towards a B&B Hootie creek house. We lucked out on a room! And what a great thing it was! - but this will come later.
We drove to the Talihina state park for the journey beginning at mile marker 1 for the Oauchita trail.
The first 8 miles provided the most elevation gain, but it also was responsible for the best views.
At some point we were crossing a dirt road (old military trail) and Larry consulted the map to realize we can parallel the trail for a mile and save some feet from rock - and get some however small wind/air movement by taking it. This brought smiles on our faces! So much for "trail runners!
Too soon this pleasure was over and we were back in stiff wet air and overgrown single track fighting bugs, dead and alive.
The B&B we stayed at deserves a whole separate post I won't be writing, but if you ever decide to venture to Eastern OK/Oachita mountains, stop by there. Folks from Dallas purchased this old run-down previous hotel (in disarray conditions) in 2002 as an estate sale for $10,000. They kept coming for 2 years EVERY weekend and repairing, remodeling, taking down to studs, throwing old crap, re-wiring...and in 2004 they opened for business 5 (ONLY! out of 29 previous) rooms (they live in part of the building, have some rooms as a museum kind of thing for local history, and the rest as storage). The hotel was appraised for $800,000 last year. A great example of hard work, great vision, a plan and amazing patience and believe.
We were so amazed, had fantastic and personable conversations (and a tour, and a breakfast!), enjoyed modernized rooms with showers and TV and WiFI (something East Coast B&B's usually don't offer), common areas, great porch, outdoors sitting garden, diner...Really made for an awesome morning, which slowly, as time ticked away, made our resolve of a second day hike/run from 15M down to 8M down to 5M walk...until we bagged the whole thing, and took a drive to further end of the park to just simply enjoy the views, check out the area where Fat Ass (Oauchita Switchback 50k) in January takes place (much better footing!), run into a big number of turtles crossing the roads (apparently, OK is famous for that), and be clean on our way to Tulsa's best yarn store Loops - where I went slightly crazy, as I often do:).