Our World – Hike to Yellowstone’s Fairy Falls and Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook

On our trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming a couple weeks ago Heather and I decided to make a quick run up to Yellowstone because a storm was coming and we feared that the roads we closed.

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So we made our “quick run” to just past the Old Faithful Geyser to the trail head of the Fairy Falls trail. It took us about three hours on this quick run. Lots to look at so we were okay but ready to hit the trail. It was very cold and the wind was a gale.

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So, on the way, we took the little bypass to the overlook for the Grand Prismatic Spring. It’s a wonder of nature and no photographs I have took or edited shows it quite like it looks. So you get this unedited version of the Spring along with my wife Heather. She doesn’t need any editing in my opinion.

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The gale winds quit once we got in the woods. We saw this guy, the second of the Bison we encountered. We gave them wide berth. They seem benign but they can close on you in a hurry if they are riled up. We had our bear spray which is supposed to work on Bison but I didn’t want to have to worry about it. Especially if it is windy. The theory is that you create a cloud of spray for them to run through. No clouds though when the wind is blowing!!

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There is a definite boundary between the dead zone caused by the hot springs and the forests.

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Lots of old dead wood laying around from an older forest fire, I think back in the 80’s. My sister Ellen took me on this same hike in August 2018. She knew all about it, but I forgot.

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And here is Fairy Falls. They falls are 220 feet tall and are the highest “front country falls” in the park. Heather and I had the Falls to ourselves for quite a while. That is the thing about hiking this time of year. There is not near the crowds that you get in the summer.

Fairy Falls and log jumble October 2019

Here’s another view, obviously you can tell I edited it.

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And a closeup. A very nice and peaceful place.

I don’t have many photos of our return hike to the trailhead. It had gotten colder and the wind increased and we faced it heading back so we just hiked out with our heads on a swivel looking for bears and bison.

We had planned to see other sites during out time in Yellowstone but we got off to a late start leaving Jackson so we plugged and abandoned the other plans and just headed back. On the side of the road we saw mule deer (with tracking collars), a herd of elk, and another bison. The smartest bison in the world who stopped on the side of the road and looked both ways, waited for traffic to come to a stop and then walked across, with a brief stop in the middle. Heather saw a momma bear and two cubs crossing a gravelly stream and we violated all the rules, stopped the car and walked back to the bridge to see them and they were gone.

We got back to our condo very tired but happy. The storm came in that night and although we had a little bit in Jackson, they had enough in Yellowstone to where almost all the roads were closed.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday.

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

Saturday’s Critters – Puppy Yoga

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Once every six months or so our gym has a special class, “Puppy Yoga” in the courtyard where a non-profit dog shelter brings a bunch of puppies in for a special yoga class, “Puppy Yoga.” The members pay an extra $10 to take the class with the money going to the non-profit.

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There is the only other guy in the class. People called me a good sport for some reason. I love puppies, especially other people’s puppies.

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The dogs were little beggars. The volunteers were handing out treats to the attendees and we were shook down by the dogs and as soon as we gave them all away then they had nothing to do with us, the little beggars.

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Smiles all around everywhere.

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The instructor had 26 animal themed yoga poses for us. I don’t remember them all but you know, up dog, down dog, cat, cow, pigeon, crow (for the more adept students, and so on. She made it a lot of fun.

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Sometimes if you could grab a puppy you just did the hold puppy pose. This is my wife doing just that.

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And then my turn.

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Everybody had a lot of fun. The dogs were exhausted at the end. I’ll be back the next time they have it.

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Toward the end, a wasp crashed the party and stung me pretty good. Before the night was over my foot swelled up and turned red. My wife rescued me with some antihistamines. I went home and further treated it with a couple of my favorite beers.

I am linking with Eileen’s Saturday’s Critters

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

Our World – Turkey Mountain Cleanup

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The Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition sponsored a Trail Cleanup Day on Turkey Mountain Saturday, early Saturday morning, like really early, like eight am, I got there about 8:40. I brought my loppers so I took off down the Red Trail to go do some lopping.

Abandoned Bicycle Jumps on Turkey Mountain

I turned off the Red Trail and headed down the Fro-Flow mountain bike trail.

More Abandoned Bicycle Jumps on Turkey Mountain

The Fro-Flow trail was all the rage just a few years ago. Somebody went and built this incredible collection of jumps and obstacles to ride their bikes on. It made for some great watching.

Here is a three year old youtube video of somebody doing the ride.

People still ride the trail. Four came by while I was lopping limbs to help clear the way. They just bypass the obstacles. It is a little more exciting than I would want to try.

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I found me a big ole rock with all sorts of swirly patterns in it.

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I also found this fall across the trail. So you can either hop over the thing, or take the steps, or just bypass the whole thing. You got options here. I am in the natural gas business. Everybody in the business, from producers to end markets want optionality.

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Here is a relic of Turkey Mountain’s oilfield past. Turkey Mountain was a thriving oilfield at one time, it also had farms and small settlements and outlaws. The Tulsa area used to have lots of outlaws.

https://flic.kr/p/2hnaZ4q

While I was lopping I was picking up stuff. Lots and lots of beer cans, water bottles, and a shoe, and some cheap hair dye. Don’t ask me cuz I don’t know.

Too big to lop. If there were some guys with me (or even gals) we could have probably moved this. By myelf, nope.

So I lopped limbs on about 2 miles of trails, picked up a lot of trash. There were about a half dozen other people, plus a Girl Scout Troop, a couple of policemen, and a mom and her son looking for volunteer hours. We got a lot done in just a few hours.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Outlaw Skies

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I work in downtown Tulsa and most lunch times you can find me roaming downtown, carrying my camera seeing what there is to see. After 27 years of doing that, I still see new stuff. Anway, Tulsa Community College’s downtown campus has a building with a platform overlooking Boston Avenue in downtown Tulsa.

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See the blue chair?

I’ve tried to get up there several times and only once has the door been open but I had only had my iphone so I did what I could with what I had. This time I had my new Fujifilm point and shoot so what the heck, I’ll see if I can get up there. Plus the blue chair on the platform gave me a little hope. I know the route pretty well now, take the elevator to the third floor, and go right through the door to the stairwell and guess what!!

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The same blue chair

And the mostly locked door opened. Yeah for me. There were some people in the classroom to the right but I decided to just ignore them.

So here is the view to the northwest. Holy Family Cathedral.

Downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma

And straight north up Boston Avenue, the heart of downtown.

Tulsa's Boston Avenue Church - An Art-Deco Icon

And straight south along Boston Avenue.

That is Boston Avenue Church. An art-deco treasure.

Just so you know, I didn’t pass any “No Trespassing”, “Students and Staff Only,” visitors please check in or any other blah blah blah signs during my little venture up to what the school calls the “Ninth Street Overlook.”

Have you shot any outlaw photos?

Skywatch Friday

Our World – In the Woods

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Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness

This past weekend I lucked out and got to for two short hikes into some woods. The first hike was at Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness. I go there frequently and Saturday I loved it. It was overcast although warm. I love dark and moody. That doesn’t mean that I am a dark and moody person. At least I don’t think it does.

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Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness

I was actually kind of happy. I had just been asked to join the Advisory Board of the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition and had accepted. TUWC are the group of people that got together when Simon Malls wanted to build an outlet mall on Turkey Mountain (of all places!!!!) and got the community outraged and ended up convincing Simon to go build their stupid outlet mall somewhere else. Talk about a David and Goliath situation.

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Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness

Anyway, they are not a militant environment organization and are into positive things so I am honored to be part of the organization. The Advisory Board of course is mainly honorary but I plan on redoubling the volunteering and advocacy that I have been doing.

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Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness

Turkey Mountain isn’t much of a mountain and it isn’t that big, about two miles by one mile, but it is special.

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Broken Arrow Sports Park

On Sunday, I went geocaching at some soccer fields at the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow. Little known fact is that many soccer fields are bordered by woods that separate them from surrounding neighborhoods. These are forgotten pieces of woods by everybody little neighborhood kids and geocachers. The going is a little rough because there are no trails and lots of nettles, stickers, and thorns.

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Tree with a frog face mocking me for not finding a nearby geocache.
Broken Arrow Sports Park

I only found one of the three geocaches I was looking for. One appeared to be beyond the park boundary behind a tall metal fence. A quick check on my iphone showed that it looked to be part of a private estate. I love geocaching and outlaw hikes but out and out trespassing on somebody’s home place? Count me out! So that was a big did not find on that one.

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So I looked for three and found only this one. It is kind of like fishing though. If you caught fish every time you cast your line they wouldn’t call it fishing, they would call it catching! To me, finding caches is fun but the major fun is the looking. (If you want to know what geocaching is check this video.) Be assured there are two types of people in this world, those who are on fire about geocaching, and those who don’t get it.

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#SufferingForMyArt – don’t pity me, totally self inflicted.

Those edge pieces of woods are pretty neglected. I soaked my legs and shorts with DEET and was wearing a treated shirt but the thorns did a number on my legs. You know something, I don’t feel the cuts when they happen. I call it “suffering for my art.”

So I am chilled out this past week, two times in the woods. How was your weekend?

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