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Flint and Steel 5K Trail Race at New Life Ranch

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The Chapel at New Life Ranch

About a week ago my racing friend Paula messaged me asking if I was going to run the Flint and Steel Trail Run. I had never heard of it but thanks to my buddy Mr. Google I found out that it was a fund raiser for New Life Ranch, a summer camp 80 miles east of Tulsa in Ozarks. So I signed up for the 5K race and Saturday made my way over there.

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The Awards

The temp was 33 degrees as I left Tulsa and kept getting colder and colder until I got to the camp down in the Flint Valley where it was a brisk 27F. I was a little underdressed but as the sun came up, the wind quit and although the temperature didn’t change much it felt a lot warmer.

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The medals.

So I ran with Paula, and her friend Misti, and her husband. When I say run, well I guess we walked. Sorry, I walk most of my races these days. Hope I didn’t burst your bubble.

There were two other races going on, which is typical for trail runs. A 10K and 25K with staggered starts and we run on each others courses quite a bit so you have to pay attention to the ribbon colors. We managed to stay on the right trail, which is an accomplishment for me given that I got off course on two races this year.

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Some of the many horses at New Life who ignored me.

And we took lots of photos.

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Beautiful Flint Creek

Flint Creek, an incredibly beautiful, clear running creek runs through the property. I had no idea that Oklahoma had such a pretty creek. The water quality in the area is under threat because of “chicken houses” put up by farmers in the area where they raise hundreds of thousands of chickens and the associated runoff and odors. After seeing the creek I can understand why area residents are concerned. The state has a very muddled response, meaning that they are doing nothing.

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I love reflections

A good time was had by all. A great course, great shirt, and medal, a nice grilled chicken sandwich lunch afterwards. So I give this race five stars out of five. I was also first in my age group of the race. It be very rude to ask me how many were in my age group, because I would have to report that I was the only one that showed up, just think of the hundreds of thousands that could have raced but did not.

I’ll be back!

Come join the fun at Our World Tuesday

Memphis Skies

November 2019

I am in Memphis this week with my sister helping out a family member so I haven’t been able to get out with my camera as usual. We are staying at a house out in the outskirts of town and I took the above photo in the back yard. Tennessee is just beautiful and the people are very nice. Everybody it seems everywhere says at least hello, or how are you doing in even the most casual encounters.

I hope everybody is doing well.

I am posting with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Teton Sunset

So from my Our World post about our hiking outing to Yellowstone Park I mentioned that we were cold and it was getting late so we hightailed back to Jackson. Well, I lied, we made a couple of stops.

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As we got closer to the Grand Teton National Park we stopped to gaze at the above scene. The Teton range is all in a line and it is quite a sight. It is also an optical illusion of sorts. The closer you get the farther away it is, if that makes any sense.

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We drove on but after a while just had to stop again. The sunset was pretty spectacular over the mountains.

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It kept getting brighter and brighter so we just stayed and watched.

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No filters on any of these photos. Also, I just put the camera on auto, for good or bad.

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So, God turned the lights out, we got our tired, hungry, cold but happy selves in the car and drove into Jackson to get something to eat.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Shadow Shot Sunday – Philbrook Museum Gardens

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I went and spent my lunch hour at Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art, or more accurately the gardens of the museum. I noticed right away that due to the different light and the lower angle of the sun that it would be a good day for shadows. Plus I am a sucker for arches.

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The plantings provide nice shadows against the textured walk.

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My favorite of the day was this shadow of a wrought iron fence against an old flagstone steps.

I am linking with Shadow Shot Sunday

Skywatch Friday – Hiking along String and Leigh Lakes in Grand Teton National Park

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On our final day last week of our Jackson Hole trip we had a relatively early checkout time from our condo and a pretty late in the day flight back to Tulsa.

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So we got up, cleaned out and checked from where we were staying, got breakfast, grabbed our bear spray and headed up north of Jenny Lake for a final hike along String and Leigh Lakes. A hike that a Ranger we had talked to was easy. It was pretty darn cold, and the trail was snowy but off we went.

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It was cold and we were by ourselves but gradually we started seeing more people. Never enough to make it feel crowded. I had read in an online trailguide where somebody had come across a grizzly bear lolling around in the lake near the trailhead.

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So we had an invigorating hike, on alert and cold but gradually we relaxed.

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It helped that the scenery was stunning. Yeah we were away from the big Teton mountains but these were no slouches and the water was crystal clear and blue.

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My glamorous wife, Heather

We allotted enough time to go about 2 miles up the trail and return. You can tell that Heather is pretty happy above.

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We discussed for a minute or two whether that was people across the lake or bears.

Last year I spent a few days with my sister, who was working as a seasonal Ranger at Yellowstone Park at West Yellowstone. She took me on a few hikes in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and it really opened up my eyes to just how beautiful and wild the parks are when you get out of your car and venture down a trail a few miles. So this year Heather and I followed down a couple of the trails Ellen took me on last year and found one ourself. We’ll be back!!

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What a great treasure our National Parks are. October is a great time to visit, if you can. Dress warm is what I say!!

The other thing I say is rent the bear spray, instead of buying it. We rented them for $7 a day, max $28 and then we just took them back when we were done. If you fly in, you can’t fly back out with it and I was worried about how to dispose of it properly if you buy it and you are flying back.

So I am not going to do trip in chronological order. I will do them as I feel led. I am not an organized blogger who has his act together, but I think that you have already figured that out.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday, come join us!

Our World – T.A. Moulton Barn on Mormon Row

The Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming is a spectacular place and may be the most photogenic area in the world, I don’t know. From majestic mountains and lakes to amazing animals, it has the whole package. I love all that but one of the sights that has amazed me is the Moulton Barn on Mormon Row.

Moulton Barn Mormon Row October 2019

Before there was a National Park there were settlers, including several Latter Day Saint members who in the 1800’s claimed land in what is now Mormon Row and put their homesteads on a road close together. They were there for several decades but the growing season was too short, and the work very hard, and they ended up selling their land and although most of the their buildings are gone there a few left standing including the T.A. Moulton Barn above and what I call the most famous outhouse in the world.

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The buildings are all underneath the Grand Tetons and it makes for a very spectacular setting. I cannot imagine what it would be like to live with such a view every day. Of course the day I was there, the Tetons were obscured by clouds. These buildings were built to last and last they do, although the Moulton family still shows up every few years to do some maintenance. For a while the policy of the Park Service was to just let the buildings go away one way or another (they now deny that this was ever the policy) but now they are more receptive to the preservation of the buildings that are left. Mormon Row is now a National Historic District and so hopefullly they buildings will stand for future generations to come.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday, come join in!

Skywatch Friday – Teton Sunset

Jackson Hole Trip 2019

We are in Jackson, Wyoming this week enjoying a late autumn vacation in the shadow of the Teton Mountains. We were treated to quite the evening show. No filters used, no tricks, just God’s glory and nature putting on a spectacle. I’ll have more photos in future posts. Blogging with an iPad is possible but painful.

Come join us at Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Talking Leaves Tree

Talking Leaves Tree

I visited the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa earlier this week. They have a lot of nice exhibits going on but what really struck my eye was a great big cottonwood tree right outside a giant window that was shimmering in the wind so I made a brief video of it and posted it on social media.

#cottonwood #trees # Flandreau #southdakota #geocaching
Cottonwood in South Dakota

A cousin from South Dakota told me that she thought the Lakota Tribe called the cottonwood, the Tree of Talking Leaves. I have googled a lot and have not been able to confirm that that is true but have found a lot of references that the tribe holds the tree sacred and represents a magical time of hope, healing, and transformation.

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Cottonwoods in Tulsa

I have always liked cottonwood trees but never much thought about them until my cousin’s remark and then I thought, you know I have lived all over the west, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico and they all have cottonwood trees. I think they may be a symbol of the west, where the west includes the midwest. I just love seeing and hearing their leaves when the wind is blowing.

Late in life, the Cottonwood is now the Talking Leaves Tree to me as well.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday