A family-friendly late afternoon and evening hike on Saturday, October 8, 2022 Elk in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge mate from mid-September until mid- or late October. During these weeks, visitors can hear "bugling," high pitched calls that bull elk make to alert females to their locations. On previous hikes, WPC members have seen several of these impressive animals. We will meet at the church at 3:30 PM and convoy the one hour and 45 minutes that it takes to get down I-44, exit at Medicine Park, and make our way to the west end of the refuge and the trailhead parking at the Sunset picnic area. We can provide rides for those who'd prefer to leave their vehicles at the church. On the way across the refuge, we’ll visit a “prairie dog town” that is always a popular experience for kids. This is a great family outing. Children as young as 6 have had a wonderful time on previous hikes. There are rocks to climb, cactus to marvel at, prairie dogs and elk! The grass is tall at summers’ end, so we stick to established trails, walking slowly westward from the Sunset picnic area – as we listen for elk -- into the Charon Gardens Wilderness Area. This outing is also fun for those prefer not to hike. At the Sunset picnic area, you can use the picnic tables and concrete benches, or in folding chairs that you bring, and listen for bugling as sunset nears. Even on established trails, we’ll encounter rocks and cactus, so wear sturdy shoes that cover your feet. We walk slowly, looking and listening for elk, so it's easy to avoid hazards. If the weather is warm, you can wear durable shorts, but long pants are advisable in this terrain. Binoculars are handy, and we will have several pairs, along with bottles of water and snacks like granola bars and fruit. Refuge rules require that we be back to the cars by sunset, which will be at 7:08 PM. After we return to the cars, anyone who is interested can convoy to the nearby town of Medicine Park, where can have dinner at one of the town's simple restaurants. Those who elect to stay for dinner can expect to return to Oklahoma City around 10 PM.