The current drought is going on two years.
Today's plan was just to paddle around at American Horse Lake. On the way there, I mentioned that the last time I had visited, the water had dropped a good three feet in a matter of two weeks. That was probably two or three months ago - before the mercury hit the hundred-teens.
An hour's drive later, I make the last slight left to the lake and meet a new gate with a bright orange sign announcing "DANGER - RESTRICTED ACCESS" and forbidding entrance. We got out and walked the last few hundred yards to what used to be the water's edge. There was no lake. There were hills of red dirt and shale. Beer bottles from years past and entombed plastic tubs that held bait in a past life. When we finally found water, it was a stagnant, green puddle. There was no sign of the clear waters that had stolen my heart the first time I discovered this lake. We would later learn that the lake was being drained for more work on the dam that was damaged during flooding several years earlier. For now, we were rejected. All we could do is return to the car and vow to come back without boats and armed with trash bags, so we could clean up my playground in anticipation of rains that will revive her and make her beautiful once again.
The wide bridge announced the South Canadian River crossing, but we peered over the sides and couldn't see any water in either direction. Not a puddle, not a ribbon of stream, not a drop. I was beginning to think that the townfolk in their pick-up trucks were right about our deteriorated mental condition. What were we thinking when we loaded boats and set out to go kayaking today?
|South Canadian "River" to the East|
|South Canadian "River" to the West|
Blinding sun reflected off whitecaps and sparkling white boats bouncing skiers. The three-mile earthen dam (one of the largest earthen dams in the world) wasn't doing a "dam" bit of good, since the water had receded several feet from the foundation. But, there was water, and lots of it. Probably not 63 miles of shoreline, as the Oklahoma Water Atlas boasted, but there was still plenty to share.
|No big boats launching here!|
These people are Oklahoma-ready!