October 10-11, 2015 I was a vendor at the Heavener Runestone Viking and Celtic Festival signing copies of my book Glome’s Valley. The book was set in the area. If you’ve never been to the Heavener Runestone, you owe it to yourself to see this spectacular part of the country. Surrounded by forests and valleys the runestone itself is a romantic piece of history with a controversial past.
Gloria Farley, a resident of Heavener, was a staunch proponent that the runestone had been carved by Vikings that came up the Mississippi river and its tributaries centuries before Columbus landed in what he called the New World. Her book In Plain Site discusses places all over North America that prove Europeans landed in America, long before Columbus. She believed, as well as many authorities, that the sandstone monolith with the ancient carving may have read “Glome’s Valley” – someone claiming the valley for his own. Others said it was a date. But the carving is old and not of a language in use today.
The mystery of the place is only exceeded by its beauty. The forests of pine smell like Christmas as soon as you step out of the car. The local people are proud of their little place in history and the park is well maintained with a family atmosphere.
People come from all over to celebrate the park’s history twice a year, spring and fall. Some were dressed in full regalia; others walked around with their kids and dog eating funnel cakes. There were Celtic singers and Royal Gauntlet Birds of Prey brought their rescued birds to educate the audience twice a day.
The impossibly beautiful weather added to the joy of the weekend and I met residents who knew Gloria Farley and wanted to discuss the history of the area.
Just South of Poteau, Oklahoma near the beautiful Talimena Drive you will find Heavener, OK. If you can’t find the runestone, ask any resident. It is over the railroad tracks, turn right and go past the trailer park, then left at the sign. Soon you will see the entrance to the park and another world. A world of imagination and Vikings.
See you in the spring at the Heavener Runestone.