Yesterday I went out venturing again, this time with Melissa and Kevin. First stop on the list was the Mangum Fire Department to see the world’s second longest burning lightbulb! It has been going since 1927. The two firefighters on duty were quite welcoming, and told us we could make ourselves at home, hop on the equipment or in the trucks – even slide down the pole from the second story! So the story is that way back when, the firefighters painted the bulb black so they could sleep at night. Eventually, they got a shade cover for it, which he delicately took off to allow us to see it and photograph it. The only time this bulb gets turned off is when the power goes out; other than that, it stays on 24/7.
Second stop on the list: Jester Cave in Greer County, Oklahoma. The D.C. Jester Cave System is the longest gypsum cave in the United States, and 8th longest in the world, at 6.25 miles long. I had done a little research about the cave, but it isn’t exactly well documented, and in southwest Oklahoma, where everything is flat and there is nothing anywhere, things are a little hard to find. Anyways, we spent about two and a half hours searching around, hiking through desert, cacti, and thorn bushes. We found lots of gypsum and old animal bones and skulls, but no caves.
Getting hungry, we drove back to Mangum for lunch at Slick’s Drive Inn. After ordering, getting our meals, and then realizing we didn’t have cash to pay for them, we offered to write a check. He was a little suspicious that Kevin was from Michigan, had a Mississippi address, was living in Oklahoma, driving a rental car with Delaware plates, and trying to write a check from a bank in Texas, but eventually he reluctantly agreed. We also asked about the caves, and he drew us a nice map and basically told us just to drive on the road we had been on for several miles, and then just hike west. So we did. We drove back out to Jester and searched for the caves, and this time, found them! Kind of. We were not able to find the large entrances (3 that I know of), but we saw many little ones (this cave system has over 60 entrances, most of which are either small or straight vertical down. We saw one hole that was about 30 feet deep!
Third stop that wasn’t on the list, but that the firefighters told us about was Jay Buckle Spring. We didn’t get very good directions (or just weren’t listening), but happened upon it as we were returning to Mangum for lunch. Turns out it’s some pretty nasty water in the winter time, but there was an awesome rope swing that we stayed entertained with for a while.
Couple last stops on the way back included an old abandoned house (there are hundreds around) and the towns of Granite, Lone Wolf, and Hobart.
To see more pictures of the adventure, visit the Oklahoma album!