My love for the Black Mesa sky, landscape, and history is something I adopted from my parents at a young age. When I was about 3 years old my mom bought a brand new red Jeep Wrangler that she still has today. She would take the top off, load my sister and I up, and we would head out “jeepin.” To me, jeepin meant the wind in my hair, classic rock blaring through the speakers, and adventure. We never had a destination, we were just out enjoying the fresh air and each other. We would stop along the way to arrow-head hunt, look for pictoglyphs, and uncover treasure. One time during a hike my mom stopped for a breather and started nonchalantly prodding at a partially buried rock. Once uncovered, the ordinary looking rock was a really awesome Native American grinding bowl. Finding treasure like that is priceless. We covered many miles and made many memories in that jeep, it is so much a part of my childhood. I can remember my mom taking the long way home so we could breath in the night sky. One of my favorite things about living in the far northwest corner of Oklahoma is the breathtaking sunsets. Cimarron county produces some of the biggest and darkest skies on earth. The sunset on my inner arm was inspired by the design on the side of my mom’s jeep, a Black Mesa sunset and the love I have for both.
Black Mesa is barren but absolutely beautiful at the same time. At the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Black Mesa is the highest point in Oklahoma and got its name from the layer of black lava rock that coated the mesa about 30 million years ago. Lake Carl Etling is located inside the Black Mesa State Park and is a pretty nice little lake for our corner of the world. The lake is a good place to ride bikes, check out some petrified wood, and have a picnic. You will not encounter a lot of people in this area but you will acquire some pretty interesting stories. For example, my parents knew a man who lived back up in the mesa in a dugout for 20 years. No one ever really knew the location but he had cable and electricity. Dinosaur bones, fossils and even a child mummy have been discovered in the mesa’s caves. One of my favorite things Black Mesa has to offer are the dinosaur tracks preserved in sandstone near the Carrizo Creek. Scientists are not sure what kind of dinosaur it was but the tracks show he had two legs. You can even be in 3 states at once if you visit the tri-state marker where Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico meet.There are also a few interesting rock formations such as Old Maid, which looks like the profile of a woman. Wedding Party is another well-known formation that is complete with bride, groom, minister and an audience. My husband and I found our own rock formation, we call him Sumo Silhouette because it looks like the profile of a sumo wrestler.The Black Mesa’s have been a part of my family for years, those flat top mountains will always hold a special place in my heart.
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Never forget to enjoy the ride because someday you will look back and that ride was your life.