Category Archives: Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Hiking the Grand Tetons National Park to Taggert and Bradley Lakes

I am doing the hiking posts backwards of our trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks earlier in October. Our first hike was actually to Taggert and Bradley Lakes of the Grand Tetons National Park. We have been looking forward to this trip for a long time and with our son away in college and doing well we had our opportunity so off we flew to Jackson, Wyoming.

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My bride Heather

Our first morning, right after breakfast, we packed our stuff up and went to see the National Park office just inside Jackson. I had a list of places we wanted to see and the person we talked to knew all about them and gave us all sorts of information that came in handy. My first pro-tip and Heather and I have done this a log is always stop at the Ranger Station, Visitor Center, or whatever and talk to a ranger. They have always been very helpful.

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Pro tip number two is don’t act like a know it all. My sister actually took me on a hike to Taggert Lake last year but I didn’t say anything because I have found that doing that tends to shut the person up you are talking to and when I didn’t want to happen. It’s hard to learn anything while your mouth is moving. Yes sure, did I hear some repetitive stuff, yes I did (mainly because my sister had done a lot of research.)

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I asked the Ranger if bear spray was recommended, and as expected I heard an emphatic yes. We talked about renting it and she gave us directions to a place within walking distance of where we were. So after talking with her, we packed up the maps and other info she gave us, walked over and got our bear spray and headed off to the trailhead.

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And off we went. Lots less people than what I remember and we were pretty excited. Our heads were on a swivel though looking and listening for bears.

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And what a great hike it was. Through quaking aspen groves turning golden and along Taggert Creek. Creeks up in the mountains make music as they flow and they have their own great aroma. And above it all were the majestic Tetons. I have never tired of looking at them.

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We eventually got to Taggert Lake and like last year I was just floored with how crystal clear, calm, and beautiful it is

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The Ranger had suggested that if we felt like it (we are obviously low altitude flatlanders I guess) to go over the ridge to Bradley Lake. So off we went. And getting over the ridge was exhausting. They say the Tetons are still growing. While I think the ridge was growing about fifty feet a minute as we went up. We eventually got up and over and went down to the lake. Another beautiful lake, oh hum. How many beautiful lakes can a National Park have?

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Spectacular views of the mountains.

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And then we hiked out. We were on the shady side of the slope so it was still snowy from earlier in the week.

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Every once in a while on the way out I would stop and take a photo of the mountains behind us.

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It always seems that the hike back to the trailhead seems a lot further than the hike in. We were tired and a little thirsty and hungry. We packed in a water and snacks. That is pro tip three. Always take water and snacks with you, especially if you are low altitude flatlanders like us.

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We passed some Park Service stables and corrals. We were interested in horseback riding opportunities but they are none this late in the season.

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The first day was the best weather day of our trip. It got steadily colder as the week went on but hey we knew that we would run into that but we still had some great adventures and I haven’t told them all to you yet.

Five and a half miles and three hours and one great day.

Have you ever visited the Grand Tetons National Park?

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Skywatch Friday – Little Dixie Skies

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This past weekend my wife and I ventured down to southeast Oklahoma to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Southeast Oklahoma is quite mountainous and woodsy, think Arkansas. In Oklahoma it is called “Little Dixie” because it is so different in a lot of ways from the rest of Oklahoma which is mainly western in nature. Think Arkansas

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Our first day we went hiking, just a nice short 3.3 mile route and it kicked our rear ends. Part of the issue was it was almost 100F and had a lot of vertical, about 800 feet overall. But you know, we would walk for a while and rest for a while and pretty soon it was over. And we were tired at the end of the day.

After the first 200 yards, we did not see anybody. I guess most people were smarter than we were.

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We stopped at this tree for a break. I’ve read a lot about “Native American Guide Trees” online where people claim that Native Americans shaped trees like this as guides to routes and water and other things. I am very skeptical as I see very little original information plus it seems like a very labor intensive way to transmit information. But my my mind is still open to the possibility.

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So yep, the hike was a little hard for us but we were happy to be doing it.

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Heather is always ready for anything.

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I loved the look of the light filtering through the leaves.

She had some fun with me. I love geocaching, she not so much but she is good at it. We were looking for one and she found it when I could not and she taunted me a little bit. That’s all right!! I guess I’ll keep her. After 30 years we have learned a lot about each other.

Later on in the week, she had to bail me out twice during a rough spot I had during a kayaking expedition we were on. I kept running into rocks and turning over so she came up and rode my kayak down through the rapids while I walked down on the bank. I wish I had photos but I ruined my camera when it took one too many dunks. She’s bailed me out a bunch of times during our 30 years we’ve been together.

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Skywatch Friday – Thunderhead

We took our son to college earlier this week and on the way back we found this big huge cloud squatting over Tulsa. As big and scary as it was, there was only a little lightning and thunder and it moved on.

Just a couple hours earlier, our son was beaming just before we left him. We took him to a college that has a program for young people like him on the Autism Spectrum who want to get a degree. So we moved him in and we and he got oriented on what is going on and then it came time for goodbyes and he was ready. We were to, kind of, we noticed that we didn’t pack tissues in the car for the trip back home. He has almost 50 hours of college hours with a solid B average from a community college here in Tulsa so we know he can do the academics. He just needs help navigating things socially and we think he can get where he is enrolled.

I am thankful that there are more and more programs to help youngsters with various issues get an education and learn how to live independently.

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Stagecoach Skywatch

Last weekend I drove up to southeast South Dakota for a family reunion. I met up with my aunt and uncle from the east coast and my cousin and his family from the west coast and joined countless others in a weekend of learning about the family, visiting, seeing the sights and other activities. One evening under a beautiful blue sky at a relative’s farm a gorgeous stagecoach powered by two beautiful horses showed up. A “Surprise” by our host.

And it wasn’t just for looking at, we were all offered rides and I do believe every single person there had a short ride or two.

Some even got to ride shotgun with the driver.

It was a beautiful sight.

Smiles all around inside. You can’t ride a coach and be unhappy.

My aunt and uncle from the east coast loved it.

They were there for a while making sure everybody got to ride. I loved the shadows on the stage. The workmanship and finish on the coach was exquisite.

Shotgun was a favorite of the younger set. They had the ability to climb up the wheel to get there!

It was a get together that nobody there will soon forget.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Morning Sky

Morning Clouds Topaz Impressions

Some beach trips I get early every morning and go running or walking on the beach. This trip I mainly slept in and got up in time for the first dolphin run of the day. It was pretty amazing watching them cruising along parallel to the beach anywhere from maybe 50 yards to the show to maybe 300 yards. Just cruising along in a widely dispersed pod, some of them had a smaller dolphin with them. They come and they go on down the shore. A few hours later they come back the opposite direction and generally a lot further out. So we got to see them twice a day generally.

But being a dedicated skywatcher I got up one morning and got a good shot from the balcony. Most days were cloudless, but this one day they formed and went marching along the shore. I love the morning light on the cloud above.

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We had a really good time. We ate well, we went kayaking and stand up paddleboarding, lots of walks on the beach, read a lot of books, played some board games and didn’t turn the television on once!! So we are back at work now and son is getting ready to go away to college and we are very excited about that.

I hope things are going well for you.

Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Tower of Power

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An tower for electric power lines alongside the Arkansas River. I am fascinated by the infrastructure network that ties us together. From electric power lines to cable television and telephone lines. Many of which are overhead and much underground, to water, sewer, and natural gas lines, and of course roads, and waterways along with drainage systems. It just boggles my mind. Couple that with railroads other pipelines for crude oil, gasoline, propane and butane, and even ammonia and it is amazing how interconnected all parts of the country. are to each other.

Okay, I got carried away, I hope you have a great week.

Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Bicycling and Michael Buble

Last Friday Heather and I went bicycling on Tulsa’s Riverparks Trails. It was very nice. Not too many people and not much wind, not much hills and a lot of fun. Kind of tricky navigating around the kids on the E scooters near the Gathering Place. Anybody besides me think that electric scooters and bikes should be banned from pedestrian and bicycle trails?

We finished up with a nice sunset, sorry for the blurry image.

Monday at lunchtime I noticed a bunch of Rock Star busses lined up at the Mayo Hotel. Except I don’t think it was a rock star, I am guessing that they were for Michael Buble.

That evening Heather and I went to the Penthouse Bar at the Mayo for a pre-concert drink. The concert itself was great. He is a consummate singer and really has a sense of humor. I have never seen an entertainer connect with their audience like he does. This is the third time that we have seen him and we will be back for me.

I hope that you are having a good week. I am linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join us!!

Still Hiking Skywatch

This is kind of an “add on” to my last post about hiking on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain last Sunday morning. Don’t tell me that I am the only blogger that milks all the posts he or she can out of an experience.

Turkey Mountain Pond Topaz

What are called ponds everywhere else are called lakes on Turkey Mountain. Don’t ask me why, its just the way it is. Whatever you call them, they are full which is unheard of this late in the summer. Want to know something else? (I am going to tell you anyway, so say yes, okay) I didn’t activate our lawn sprinkler system until this past weekend. It has rained so much we have not watered our yard once.

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The ponds are overflowing and the vegetation is lush. I was soaking in DEET so I didn’t get any tick or chigger hitchhikers thank goodness but I was kind of dumb and didn’t take any water which was a mistake even in just a three mile hike.

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It always lifts my spirits being out in nature. I didn’t really see anybody else. I love getting back home after my outings and checking instagram for Turkey Mountain. There were at least 25 other people claiming they were all by themselves. It is a testament on how big the area is that we can all be there and not get in each others way.

Do you have a place you can go to get away from it all? I hope so.

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Skywatch Friday – 4th of July Edition 2019

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July 4, 2019 Tulsa Fireworks Display

It is July 4 Season where we celebrate the Declaration of Independence gaining our freedom from Great Britain. A day of fireworks and eating way too much. Our family will be going to Tulsa’s Veteran’s Park to watch the fireworks show, and eat too much.

Tulsa’s Gilcrease Museum has a certified copy of the Declarations of Independence and for the first time in several years they brought it out of the vaults and put it on display to the public and so I went and checked it out. It was awe inspiring to see it and astonishing to see how faded it was. They were allowing photographs and I did not take one because it would not have been a good photo. Still, being able to view such an ancient, important, and foundational document was uplifting.

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After I viewed the Declaration of Independence I wandered outside and found some flowers.

Gilcrease Lensball fabric installation

I also found a fabric art installation by Rachel Hayes. I used by Lensball to take a photo of it.

Gilcrease Pioneer Woman

And I ventured further into their grounds (which are not gated and are free!!!) to the far end to see the Frontier Woman Statue. That lady has been churning butter and looking to see something for about twenty years now. Probably waiting on her husband to come home.

Gilcrease Cabin

And their is this cabin nearby. The door is always open and I always close it because there is nothing worth looking at inside and it takes a better photo with the door shut. Otherwise I get this big dark spot right in the middle of the photo.

Gilcrease Deer Sculpture

And I stopped by on the way back to the parking lot I stopped to say hello to the Twins. That is the name of this sculpture by Jay O’Meilia. I love it.

July 4, 2019 Tulsa, Oklahoma

Thanks for staying with me on this meandering SWF post, that doesn’t show much sky.

Skywatch Friday