Monday, June 6, 2011

Turner Falls Park - Oklahoma

The Falls

Have you ever been some place that you enjoyed but that had bitter memories attached to it so you wanted to go back and make better memories? That's what Turner Falls Park is for me. The first time I went there was 1989. I was a newly wed and we went with a couple-friend who had been married for some time and were so happy. Even though "we" were newly weds, the start to this weekend vacation got off to a bad start as did most things in our marriage.
In 2006, as a newly divorced single mom with four kids to entertain for the summer, I made a decision to go back. I had just started working for the hotel, which meant I could get a great deal on a hotel room and get away with the kids so why not? It wasn't going to be anything fancy and it would just be the weekend but it wouldn't be Bedford, TX.

My memory of the trip was that the kids really had a good time. It's only about a two hour drive and we went the night before. The hotel we stayed in isn't a Hampton anymore, which makes sense because I remember it wasn't very up to par when we stayed there. We ate dinner at the Two Frogs Grill which was where the front desk agent suggested but once we got in there, made me a little uncomfortable. So we ate quick and went back to the hotel to watch a movie.

There is a lot of walking to be done at the park, so we did our fair share. I know the kids ran around a lot more than I did. That particular summer the water was down more than the first time I was there. It was definitely easier to walk around, but not as fun to swim. They have two major water holes to swim though, so that's what we did. The first one is the Blue Hole Pool at the front of the park. They have a slide and diving boards. Then you can walk down the road a little bit, climb up into "The Castle" which is a replica of a castle, not the real thing. (Duh.) Then the Falls are just down from there. You used to could go swim up under the water fall, but the year we were there someone drown so I don't think they let you do it anymore. At least I didn't see anyone do it while we were there this past weekend.

Which brings me to my most recent trip. I wanted to get away for the weekend. I have had company for over a week and I was tired of sitting around. My decision was to go to Turner Falls. Just a day trip but something away home. It was pretty cool when I realized that we were driving through the University of North Texas campus where Alyssa will be going here in about two months. We left about 9:00 and took our leisurely drive, getting to the park about 11:15. First stop was for me to get my swimsuit on, then we walked down the road to the Falls. We parked at the front near the Blue Hole Pool but I wanted to be close to the front.

The day was beautiful, warm and water levels were perfect. Now, I am not one to exercise - ever. Jeff has balance issues, but this was good exercise. As we are walking, I realize that there is really no safe way to get into the water. Everything is probably going to be slippery. Luckily, we brought good shoes to have on in the water. It was getting in the water that was the trick. We also have to just leave our stuff on the side where anyone could take it. I tried not to be paranoid and just trust that we would be ok.

Getting into the water was definitely a group effort. Neither one of us wanted to fall or see the other one fall. People were slipping all around, so we knew it was very possible. Once in the water, I had to overcome my creepiness about there being things IN the water. This could be anything that would brush up against me and make me scream. There was a lot of that. Then to find a place I could touch and not think about something grabbing my leg....well, at least the water temperature was really nice. Not too cold, not hot at all. As we are not kids anymore, we decided that was fun and so now, let's find a place to layout and get some sun. We spent the rest of the day sitting in the stream parts of the park where we could get wet but not worry about not being able to see the bottom of the pond. It was a lot of fun and I can't wait to go back and take the kids. Kids always make things more entertaining.


We did venture up into the castle. I just wanted one picture. The picture up there on the left is of when I took the kids in 2006. It's probably my most favorite picture of my kids. The picture on the right here is of when we were there this past weekend - sans kids. Wouldn't it be great to have grandchildren one day and take them up there and get a picture? Just a thought.

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