At the tip of the panhandle of Oklahoma, Black Mesa, the highest point in the state, is unlike any other region of Oklahoma. The panhandle is dominated by plowed fields of corn, wheat, and sorghum irrigated with water from the diminishing Ogallala aquifer. The panhandle is less flat then you would expect. Highway 412 goes up and down, in and out of ancient drainages, indicating that this region once received enough rain to sculpt the terrain. Traveling west to Black Mesa State park, just outside of Boise City, you think you the cropland will stretch all the way to New Mexico. The land is steadily rising as you travel west across the plains. That is why Black Mesa is the highest point – it isn’t the tallest peak when compared to the surrounding land – the whole landscape is gradually lifting up to meet the Rocky Mountains. Cresting a gentle slope a few miles outside of town, you finally arrive – mesa land.
I am lucky to get to travel to Black Mesa this year to plan and put on BioBlitz! Oklahoma at Black Mesa State Park and Nature Preserve.