The colors of an Oklahoma fall from a very high perch in Pushmataha County

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CLAYTON, Okla. - You can climb Flag Pole Mountain, but it's a hike.

You can drive it like Clayton's police chief Darrin Morris, but that carries its own challenges too.

Bumping along a very rough road, Morris said "When I was a kid, we used to come up here quite a bit."

Morris spent his childhood in the part of the northern Pushmataha County, playing in Rock City, swimming at 2nd Falls and camping around Umbrella Rock.

"There isn't a person you can't hardly talk to, no matter their age or anything, that they or their grandma or grandpa hadn't been up here," he said.

Umbrella Rock is a unique formation locals have known about for generations, a 15 foot promontory, a challenge for kids to climb, a landmark to camp under or picnic beside.

Darrin points out "When I was a kid, we used to climb up right here on this side and get up on top."

In the fall, the surrounding Dogwoods turn red.

The Oaks turn yellow and even orange.

He might be on patrol in the valley, but Morris admits his heart is up here.

"It's beauty," he said, looking around. "God's put his touch on this part of the country, let me tell you."

Not more than a half mile away is another local landmark, not quite as permanent but taller by a lot.

Work crews put the fire watch tower there in the 1920's, as part of a network of Forest Service posts for fire prevention.

That one hasn't been active for a few years.

The stairs are getting a little cracked and creaky, but Morris can't resist climbing the 180 feet to the top and neither can I.

From the platform atop the tower, Morris points out "Right on the other side of that ridge is Highway 43. It follows this mountain range. Right over here, you'll see the valley. That's where Highway 2 runs going to Antlers."

Does the climb or the view take your breath away?

I don't remember.

What I will recall is the singular view of Oklahoma's prettiest season.

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