by Jim and Melanie
Drive 45 minutes west of Enid, OK and you reach the Glass Mountains State Park. It is small, only 640 acres (1 mi2). Sometimes referred to as the Gloss Hills, their name comes from the sheen and sparkle of selenite crystals, or gypsum. The tops of the mesas are thick with them and appear light gray and green. There are also thin layers of selenite in the red dirt of the Permian soil in these “Shining Mountains”. Click this Google Maps image to do some exploring.
At the lower left of the map is a turnout from highway 412 into a parking lot. From there, you can take the trail up the steep 150 foot climb to the top of the largest mesa.
This first image gallery takes you to the top and part of the way along the edge of the mesa. Caution was advised for rattlesnakes and loose footing near the edge.
We spent most of an hour hiking along the mesa, enjoying the views and the soaring buzzards. One other family joined us. We had the place mostly to ourselves. This gallery shows a few more views from the top.
We descended from the mesa and sat in the shade to eat lunch. Off to the west, we spotted pelicans circling against the blue-grey haze. Their bright white showed at first, and then as they turned, they disappeared, only to appear again a moment later. We figured they may have been migrating north from the gulf. This very short video isn’t from the other day, but at the very end shows how the turning birds start to disappear against the sky. Their bright white wing tops reflect light from one side. Once they face the other direction, the dark bottoms of their wings don’t reflect the sunlight, which gives the illusion.
One more thing…are you able to view 3-D images using the parallel viewing method? Imagine you are staring through a pane of glass while you view this image of the Glass Mts. If it works for you, they will ‘fuse’ together into a nice 3-D rendition of the site where we hiked. Good luck.