Category Archives: Hiking

Oxley Nature Center – A Great Alternative to Turkey Mountain

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Heather and I wanted to go hiking on a warm sunny Winter afternoon and we decided to on the north side of Tulsa to Oxley Nature Center to avoid the crowds that show up at Turkey Mountain on nice days. The successful fight to save Turkey Mountain from developers┬áreally aroused the public’s interest in the park and I’m happy that so many people love it but there are other parks in Tulsa to go and hike, run, bike, and whatever you want outside with a lot less people. Where you can get a little elbow room and hunt for a parking space.

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Oxley, adjacent to the also hikeable Mohawk Park is a little more structured and has a interpretive center with staff to help you with planning your hike. And it has hours of operation and such but if you just want to show up and hike or run, just park and do what you want. Check the link for hours of operation, maps, and such.

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So on a day where Turkey Mountain was a little crowded (only at the parking lot, you get a quarter mile from the parking lot and the crowd are diminished considerably) Heather and I found a hiking spot and took off on a circuitous route. Sure we saw other people but just every now and then.

So don’t let crowded parking lots deter you from spending time outside.

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We say several deer right close to the parking lot. I haven’t seen a deer on Turkey Mountain in years.

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So we were just moseying along at a leisurely pace. Our son is on a school trip to Breckenridge and of course we stopped every time he texted us.

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And we had a great time. Over four miles all in all.

As far as what was going on in Breckenridge, here is a selection of some of the pics Logan sent Heather.

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This was from the bus ride as they were getting close to town.

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The condo they are staying in and reportedly doing lots of “hanging out” and “relaxing” when we ask him what he is doing.

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And it sounds like there is an ice sculpting contest or exhibition going on so this is one of the sculptures.

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And this has something to do with dragons. Anyways we miss the boy and are glad to be able to hear from him.

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Hiking in Oxley Nature Center

I’m a little late in writing this post. Back during the Thanksgiving weekend my brother Bob drove up from Corpus Christi to spend the holiday with us. One day I took he and my son Logan to Oxley Nature Center here in Tulsa for a little hike.

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They have a great nature center at Oxley with helpful people who will give you as much information as you need, everything from a map to helpful directions, and of course flush toilets. Right outside the door headed for the trails is this, an insect hotel. I think it is more like a homeowners nightmare. It is kind of cool though.

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Oxley has a great variety of trails.

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Even with a lot of people by the time you get a quarter mile away from the parking lot you hardly see anyone.

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Oxley is kind of low and has lots of water even during the drought that we are emerging from.

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It has a great variety of terrain from deep woods and brush to more open areas. We walked about four miles or so during a nice warm day.

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it looks like a duck lost a battle after a furious fight.

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I’m a geocacher and found one out in the brush while Bob and Logan waited on me (they don’t like geocaching.) We also passed this cache that I found several years ago. Nice to see that it is still there.

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We liked all the benches and places to rest. Oxley is a great place to spend a nice afternoon.

Linking with Nature Notes

Hiking on Turkey Mountain

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Last Saturday for one reason or another I ended up some time to myself in the afternoon between dropping the kid off at a friend of his and then picking him back up a couple hours later. So off to Turkey Mountain I went.

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The weather was good and I had my running stuff but I didn’t want to run. I had my geocaching gear but I didn’t want to go geocaching. I just wanted to walk.

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Somehow I felt guilty because I wasn’t running or bushwhacking through the brambles. I was just walking. I wasn’t strolling I was walking at a pretty good pace.

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By now I know my way around the mountain pretty well. Not as well as some people I know but good enough that I think I know all the main trails pretty well and am familiar with the secondary trails and paths.

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There is nothing like going through the woods. You can see a lot and hear a lot. It is amazing how loud some of our fellow people are and how quiet the animals are. Sounds travel far in winter woods.

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You can hear squirrels skittering through the woods a long way off and birds coming off branches.

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Turkey Mountain, an urban wilderness is in the middle of South Tulsa. There are two power lines criss crossing it (remember two lines is north and south, one single line is east west) and you have a great view of downtown from parts. And there used to be an oilfield up there and farms, and moonshiners. There is still some mysterious things that go on up there.

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You’d of thought that it was an early Valentines Day. I saw several young couples ambling along hand in hand. You can tell by their slow step and general uawareness of their surroundings that they were more wrapped up with each other than the mysteries of the mountain. Good for them is what I say.

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(I’m turning into the Picasso of shadowselfies)

Anyway I pondered these things and others while walking the trails as the late afternoon sun went to shadows.

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The sun was getting low and the moon was rising. Time to go pick up the kid.

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Daytime moons have always been a good omen for me.  What is a good omen for you?

Skywatch Friday – Mammatous Clouds over the Keystone Ancient Forest

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New Year’s Day I roped Logan into going hiking with me at the Keystone Ancient Forest. The trees are old and gnarly, not very big, but tough as iron, mainly post oaks and cedars. Many of them are over 500 years old. The land is rocky and rough and all up and down with canyons cut through it. Not much good for anything besides just being a forest, and that is why it is still around and is now preserved and well loved. 

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The sky? We have a front coming in so it started out clear and brilliant and then cloudy, then clear, well you know…. I’ll be posting more about this remarkable forest later. For today, I have clouds.

Skywatch Friday

A Little of This and a Little of That

Our young man is getting all grown up. I used to call him SuperPizzaBoy. It doesn’t seem to quite fit any more. He is growing into a young man. I’ll have to think of a new nickname for him.

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(He is kind of handsome I think.)

He is a busy guy. A sophomore in high school now. He also does chess club and the lego club at school and singing lessons, and other stuff also. He has a full schedule so he has to budget his time to make sure that everything is done. This past weekend is a good example.

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(Around and around we go. If the weather is good he rides outside, which is much nicer)

He has to get up early, get dressed, have breakfast and after a fast stop at Starbucks we drive 36 miles one way to therapeutic horseback riding. He has come a long way and is getting more comfortable all the time with his horse.

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(He has a great sense of humor, most of the time.)

We drive back into town and then he changes, has lunch and then we head to his weekly Improv Comedy class. This past weekend was a double dose as he had to go back in the evening for their first show.

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He loves improv and is pretty good at it. I’d find it really tough. There are guidelines to improv but you really have to be on your toes and think fast. Two things nobody has ever accused me of doing.

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(Take a bow kids for a job well done. The adult leaders also, talk about a handful!)

The show was great. Many of the kids have been together for several years. They are really a lively and energetic bunch and can be very funny.

Fun with #geometry
(Poor kid, he has a Dad who just has to try all the Hipstamatic combos)

Today, we got up and went to church. After lunch son had some homework to do. He doesn’t find geometry near as much fun as I do, but he is getting good at writing papers for his English class.

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(How much farther Dad! About 20 minutes Son! That’s what you said 20 minutes ago!)

And then for a little outside time. We ventured up north Tulsa to Oxley Nature Center and hiked the Northern Woods loop for an hour and a half to get a little fresh air.

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(How come teenagers don’t like lily pads?)

He doesn’t like near as much as his old man does but he indulged me.

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(They don’t like the sun shining through trees either)

We saw a deer and enjoyed the silence. We didn’t see anybody else the whole time we were there.

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(Poor kid, his Dad dresses like such a dork.)

And then home, and some video game time, dinner, a chore or two and the day is used up.

He is a busy guy and his Mom and I are really proud of him.
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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed

“Wild” is Cheryl Strayed‘s memoir of her 1995 journey along the Pacific Coast Trail from the Mojave Desert to the Oregon-Washington border. I love travel books and this is heck of a travel book as she talks about the challenges she faced and the people she met as she spent several months walking the 1100 miles of the trail. The book is also about her personal journey from a really messed up childhood to a really messed up self destructive personal life as an adult. As she walks along the trail overcoming her challenges and enjoying her adventures she also learns a lot about herself. She appears to have gotten her act together.

The word for this book is compelling. I really got into the book and many times got so engrossed I lost the awareness of reading. What more can you ask of a book.  Her description of the life that she lived before the hike is painful to read. So is her lack of preparation for the hike. She picked out her equipment and made her way to California and started hiking having never done any hiking before. Her body had to toughen up on the go. By the time she finished months later she could hike “the big miles.”

I give the book five stars out of five. It is really a great read.

I read the book on my Kindle. It is the first library book I’ve read on the Kindle. To buy the Kindle version costs over $12. Wayyyyyyy too much for a Kindle book.

Our World – Oklahoma’s Natural Falls State Park

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Saturday, SuperPizzaBoy and I took a road trip about 75 miles east of Tulsa into the Ozarks to Natural Falls State Park. It used to be a private park called Dripping Springs and when Oklahoma took it over they renamed it because we already had a Dripping Springs Park.

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We pretty much had the park to ourselves because of the cold and windy weather. One of the things we did was log an Earth Cache named “Dripping Springs.” Earth Caches are part of Geocaching except that you don’t look for a container. They are more educational in nature and lots of fun.

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The star of the park is of course the waterfall. You can’t tell it from the photographs but the water falls about 77 feet.

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Down in the canyon where the water lands it was much warmer. No wind of course but I would guess the temperature seemed at least five degrees higher than up top.

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There is something about falling water that is very peaceful. The park was used in the filming of the 1974 version of “Where the Red Fern Grows” based on the book by Wilson Rawls.

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There is a bridge across the chasm. Hey, who’s that kid up there?

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SuperPizzaBoy, that’s who. I wondered where he got off to.

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There is more to the park than the falls. The creek flows from the falls to a small lake.

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You can tell this dam has been here for a while. Full disclosure, to keep the falls falling, they pump water from this lake back up to the falls.  We have been having a drought here and the falls would probably be a trickle if anything.

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Son and I did a big part of all the trails until we called it quits.

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I love the goofiness found in some of the State Parks.

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We only went about two and a half miles but it was fun.

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The trails vary from easy level hikes through the woods to “where did the trail go?”

You can follow our very slow route on Garmin Connect by clicking on the green tag above. It will take you to another screen. Click on the button that looks like your “play” button on your dvd player.

Anyway a great time was had by all.

Our World

Geocaching 101 Video

Strike a Pose!

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Sometimes the spirit moves me to gather up a notebook, trinkets, and a recyclable camera and put them into a container you might use for leftover peas and then go hide the container in the woods for others to find.

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The woods I’m thinking about are about a half mile from the house. I’ve been mystified lately because a photographer has been taking clients here in among the knee high weeds and garbage strewn from the McDonald’s across the street.

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This is where they have been setting up their cameras and hauling out wing chairs and fancy sofas, tripods, reflectors, and other such things. I am a mere picture taker and not a photographer so what do I know, but I still don’t get it why this is such a great place for wedding photos.

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For my cache location I pushed on well past where the photographers click and their subjects pose.

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By the time I found a place, hid the cache, checked and double checked the coordinates, the sun was going down and the moon was going up.

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Not bad for hand held moon shot, for a picture taker like me that is. A photographer would hide their head in shame.

#hiding a #geocache - coming soon named "strike a pose" #tulsa

This is your only clue. Go check out Strike a Pose! if you want to find it. 

I would like to thank my fellow Americans, both Democrats and Republicans as well as the few independents out there for being so supportive of spending unrestricted billions of dollars for high tech satellites in space so that I can go hide tupperware in the woods. I salute you all!

If you were trying to find this cache first (FTF – first to find) you are too late. RobPillageBurn (What a name!) found it within hours of the cache going live. In the dark. He ran into some thorns that I forgot to mention. 

Geocaching.com

Our World – Turkey Mountain Autumn

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Saturday, son SuperPizzaBoy and I made a trek on Turkey Mountain here in Tulsa to replace a geocache of ours that had gone missing.

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The weather was ridiculously warm, up in the 70’s, and it was very dry.

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Turkey Mountain had a lot of fall color. With the clear sky and sunny day it was almost sparkly.

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It was very windy in Tulsa and the tops of trees on the mountain were being blown hard by the wind but it was still on the ground.

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We pretty much had the place to ourselves. Some sort of mountain biking event was winding down by the time we got there. Once we got a quarter mile from the parking lot we only saw a handful of people in the hours we were there.

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Good thing we went yesterday because it rained pretty hard up there Sunday and it got cold and overcast. We could use the rain, the ponds and lakes are getting low.

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We were both tired by the time we finished but I think we both had a good time.

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Have you taken a good walk this Fall?

Our World Tuesday

Our World – D Day Outing at Oxley Nature Center

Sunday afternoon in Tulsa was glorious, warm, sunny, dry.  A great day for getting some vitamin D. Getting outside if you know what I mean. SuperPizzaBoy and I loaded up his three wheel Triton and off we went to Mary K. Oxley Nature Center on the north side of Tulsa.

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The center has some old highways long blocked off from traffic that are perfect for SPB’s three wheel Triton.  He doesn’t like walking like his Dad does so it is a good compromise.

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He can ride for miles.

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We saw brilliant Fall foliage.

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And some shimmering lakes.

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Oxley has lots and lots of side trails. In wetter years the walkways come in pretty handy.

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We found a couple of geocaches. I’ve found almost all of them at Oxley.

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We both got a few hours of exercise and probably overloaded on Vitamin D.

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There was a lot to be had. And the Cowboys didn’t play until Sunday night anyway.

Our World Tuesday