The Pocola Experience
Spring Sunset

W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam near Spiro Oklahoma

I just finished visiting the Spiro mounds, hoping to gain the inspiration I needed to continue working on my thesis.   I wanted to find the river that this great Mississippian empire was built on.  I knew the mounds were near the river, just directly behind the archaeological site.  The rivers in my part of the state just don't look the same.   We go four wheeling in the Red River.  

Dam on Arkansas River near Spiro-9441
You won't be going four wheeling in the Arkansas River.  This is a lock and dam and barges go through here until they get to the port.  Yes, there is a port in Oklahoma.   Didn't you know this?  Probably not if you're from the arid west like I am.   

W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam Oklahoma-9454
I was just at Spiro, looking at the little canoes and boats that they *the ancient Mississippians carved and traveled for thousands of miles down these massive river systems.  

W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam Oklahoma-9443

How impressive, seeing this great river, certainly gives me a better idea of why a great city could have developed just south of this river!  The first time I visited the Spiro Mounds we did not do any exploring other than driving too and from.  I had no idea this dam was behind the mounds. Here is an earlier post of the Spiro Mounds from June of 2010.   In June of 2010, I was not a graduate student working on a Masters Degree in Native American studies.  I didn't know I would be a graduate student yet (despite that being one of my goals). I didn't know that a few years later I would be returning to visit with this place on my mind for my thesis.  I'm grateful for the series of events that led me to my return to the Spiro Mounds and in finding this dam.  

W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam Oklahoma-9446
The Dam put the Spiro site into more perspective than the archaeological park.  To understand anything you must have context.  The means of transportation and travel are important.  

 

U.S. Property No Trespassing-9447
One of the fundamental problems with America.  We have a Government that is not truly "We the People" we have a Government that says "This is the Government's Property"  despite that the Government is supposedly of and by the people.  Take some time and think about this.   

Dog at the Dam-9449
The man working at the Dam came out to speak to me.  I enjoyed visiting, he told me this Dog is pretty much the boss at the W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam.  

Dog at the Dam-9451
He was hard at work.  

Arkansas River in Oklahoma-9464
I took another road in between the Spiro site and the dam to get a closer look at the river and found an abandoned campground, which was eerie.  Compared to the ancient well upkept mound builder site, the campground was overgrown and forgotten.  Much as Spiro was.  But, I imagine underneath this campground more of Spiro and Missisippian heritage is buried deep under the earth. 

Abandoned Campground near the Arkansas River-9455
The abandoned restrooms.  

Abandoned Campground near the Arkansas River-9471
Grafitti

Abandoned Campground near the Arkansas River-9484
This was shot with my fisheye lens, kind of creepy.  

Flower near Spiro-9473-2
I heavily edited this shot... 

Flower near Spiro-9478
That's all I have to say about the Arkansas River and Dam.  

 

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