Scenic USA - Oklahoma

Gloss Mountains State Park

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Gloss Mountains State Park - Fairview, Oklahoma

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

   Appearing as the Blaine Escarpment on a topo map, the Panhandles of western Oklahoma and Texas were once covered in vast shallow sea which began filling with red shale and white gypsum about 250 million years ago. Trapped in a thick mud gumbo, gypsum crystals were formed in the compacted layers of rock and were eventually buried beneath more sediment. Over a long period of time, this area was raised up along with the Rocky Mountains. These red sediments and glimmering gypsum crystals became exposed after millions of years of erosion, i.e. the prairie winds and summertime cloudbursts.
   Here at Gloss Mountain State Park, the red shale and gypsum crystals are most evident. With an abundance of transparent selenite crystals lying on the surface, explorer Thomas James called these formations the Glass Mountain. Entrance Sign - Gloss Mountain Park, OK Subsequent maps included the mountains with a typo, or a misinterpretation of someone's Bostonian accent. The day park occupies a large horseshoe shaped gap in the mountains, once the site of State Highway 47 in the mid 1920s.
   Many different animals dwell in this plains area, including whitetail deer, coyote, jackrabbit, harvest mice and the western meadow lark. Learning to adapt to these semi-arid conditions, area wildlife are found among the red cedar, mesquite trees, cactus, buffalo grass and sand bluestem. A pathway, coupled with multiple switchback stairs, leads to the mesa top known as Cathedral Mountain. From up on the ridge, spectacular views of the valley floor and red mesa lands stretch out in all directions. This section of U.S. Route 412, a main artery through Major County and following the Cimarron River, has all the makings of a scenic byway.

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