I have often heard my wife, Nancy, tell about going to the Beaver sand hills to pick sand hill plums with her mother. Believe me, sand hill plums make the best jelly ever tasted by mankind! It takes thousands of these little thorn bush-grown plums to make a small batch of jelly, and even more sugar to make the tartness palatable, but it's worth it.
I was pleased to get my first opportunity to visit these sand hills in June of 2006 when her family chose the Beaver Dunes State Park for its Friday picnic during its reunion.
The park has become a popular destination for sand dune buggy enthusiasts, and there were a few of these (noisy) vehicles flying around the dunes while we were there. I did not get close enough for any photos, however, even though I had hoped to catch some of these babies mid-air.
My first thought was to add this tip to the Off the Beaten Path section, but it occurred to me that if you're in Beaver, Oklahoma, you are already off the beaten path.
These are just a few photos to give you an idea of the lay of the land in this part of the Oklahoma panhandle. It's wide open spaces, cattle country, red dirt country, and windy. It has a beauty of its own - unfortunately not appreciated by everybody. But you can breathe here, and you can be yourself.
Don't ask! I have no idea how Beaver earned the grand and glorious title "Cow Chip Capital of the World". They don't pay a lot for marketing catch-phrases out here in the panhandle of Oklahoma. You will have to admit it's catchy, though. Right down town in an empty lot where a building once stood is a giant, apparently fiber glass beaver holding up a monster cow patty for everyone to see. I assume this creature participates in area parades, as he (or she) is mounted on a trailer.
So what do you do at a family reunion held in the "Cow Chip Capital of the World?" You have a cow chip tossing contest, of course, in the county fair grounds rodeo arena. You have divisions for men, women, and children, and winners get trophies - gold-plated (painted) cow chips.
Should you decide to have one of these contests, you have to find your own cow chips, however. That means getting permission from a local rancher to wander around his grasslands, keeping your eye out for the bull in the meantime. Enjoy!