Our World – Thoughts on a Turkey Mountain Ramble

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I have run by this a bunch of times and never noticed it. A big trunk with several wraps of barbed wire. Turkey Mountain used to have farms on it and was an active oilfield back in the day.

Sunday morning I went for a walk on Turkey Mountain here in Tulsa. There was a running group that was leaving at 8 am but I didn’t join them. I have not run since I injured myself during the Route 66 Half Marathon in November. Since then I have been walking, cycling, rowing, walking, elliptical machining and a lot of resistance training. I still don’t feel like I should be running. My knees are popping a lot and I don’t know if I will ever run again. (sniff??)

Turkey Mountain Wire fence

This was a wire fence, almost decorative starting from the tree in the first pic. In fact, if you go back and look at the first pic you will see that it is this fence that is imprinted in the tree trunk! It makes me wonder if there was a house here at one time. Turkey Mountain has a history, and a lot of ghosts. I can sense the ghosts when I run here at twilight. Again something I never saw before. Maybe walking and hiking will give me a new perspective on things?

So I have been thinking about why I started running in the first place. I started running a little late in life. I am not a natural athlete.  I was 37 years old and had found out that my cholesterol was sky high and my cholesterol ratio was terrible. The exercise guy I consulted said that running was the most bang for the buck. So I started running and really never stopped. I entered races and eventually ran a couple of marathons and a whole bunch of half marathon and 15 to 25k races and countless 5 to 10K’s. I loved the hopeless feeling of being 5 miles from the finish and exhausted and then somehow making it to the finish. I didn’t care that I finished 57th out of 62 in my age group. Finishing was the goal, and I always finished, one way or the other.

Turkey Mountain pumpjack base

A base for an oil well pumpjack from way back. There was a geocache here that I never could find and it is no longer active.

So that was then, and this is now. I can see me hiking instead of running the trails. I can see my biking a lot more. If you can’t do what you want, do what you can. So my doctor says “… your tread is running a little thin.” So I am going to save my tread for hiking and maybe the occasional trotting 5K. I’ll be on my bicycle a lot more and in the gym a lot more. Taking care of my tread.

Turkey Mountain Tree

I collect trees. Here is one on Turkey Mountain. It seems a little here and there and perhaps unstable? Do you know unstable trees? Do they make you nervous? This one makes me nervous.

I can deal with it. Circumstances change, you have to change with them. My goal is to be as active as I can for as long as I can, however I can.

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Turkey Mountain is an urban wilderness and is maintained mainly by volunteer labor. It is not groomed like a city park. The trails are kept clear. Many of them by people showing up with their hand saws and power saws and cleaning things up on their own initiative. The cuttings are tossed to the side. They are not hauled off. So the woods show the cumulative effect of windstorms, ice storms, and tornadoes. We vounteers pick up the trash but leave the organic material to rot on its own. It works. No way could anybody afford to come clean everything up. The people who love Turkey Mountain don’t want them to do so. I’ve had friends say, “It is so icky up there, why don’t they clean it up.” And I would never tell them but my thought is, “Turkey Mountain is not for you maybe?”

The ironic thing is that all this running didn’t do crap for my cholesterol levels. It lowered it by about 10%. Now drugs, drugs knocked my LDL’s in the butt. At $7.50 for a month’s worth, I am sticking with that. Of course, with statin drugs, deaths from heart attacks are cut but total mortality doesn’t change!! Huh!! Yep, true fact. I am going to continue taking them anyway. In the long term, the mortality rate is 100%!! You can’t argue with that.

What about you? Are you having any changes lately?

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Shadow Shot Sunday – Winter Sunlight

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Winter of course is here and when the sky clears off the sun comes in really bright and the shadows are very sharp. Above is a shadowy phone booth at Tulsa’s Utica Square. I don’t think there is actually a phone in it. I guess you could take your cell phone in there and talk if wished.  I do know that if you are professional photographer doing a shoot and you pose somebody in there, Utica Square security will magically appear and courteously but firmly tell you to leave.  It happened to an acquaintance of mine.

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Tulsa has lots of construction going on downtown. Lots and lots of new hotels going in. I don’t know who is going to stay in them. Anyways, here are a couple of trackhoes. Komatsu instead of Caterpillar. Everybody knows that Caterpillar makes the best construction equipment. Next time you are in a hotel and are not happy with it and don’t know why. I bet you that it is because they used offbrands like Komatsu instead of a premium brand like Caterpillar. I always ask about that when I make a hotel reservation. It only costs a little more to go first class.

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The weather broke here and we had a couple of non freezing days so I did a little lunchtime geocaching. I ended up on this long straight trail, with a few shadows.

I’m linking with Shadow Shot Sunday

Tulsa’s HollyFrontier Refinery

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I’ve always loved oil refineries. As a young kid, it seemed like big important things were going on with big towers and huge tanks and all sorts of pipes and lots of electric power lines. Ironically, I have a chemical engineering degree and have only spent a few hours inside a refinery. Oh well, I’ve done other things.

This is one of two refineries that HollyFrontier operates in Tulsa. I used Topaz Glow to add a little drama to the scene.

The refineries are located on the west side of Tulsa along with a power plant, a trash to energy steam plant, a bunch of trucking outfits, and oilfield manufacturing companies. All this industrial stuff is the original financing of the all the nice part of Tulsa. The art deco office towers, museums, and all the rest. I’ve always found the dichotomy fascinating.

Skywatch Friday – Scenes of Winter

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I kind of collect trees. I don’t dig them up or anything like that but I do take pictures of them. These two are my latest acquistion. I can’t tell if they like each other but you can tell they have lived with other a long time.

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Here is a winter sky from a clearing not far away. I love winters. Yes it is kind of cold but it has its own kind of beauty.

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Photo courtesy of Cheri Lou Gastineau

We have had a spell of cold weather here in Oklahoma that is uncomfortably long. Ranchers have to go out and break the ice so their livestock can drink water.

Our World – 2018 Keystone Ancient Forest 5K

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I went to a road race Saturday morning. It was cold and I hate being cold so I dressed warm. Note the oilfield Carhartt coat and the fire resistant pants. Don’t laugh at me. I was warm!!

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There is a new race in the Tulsa area, the Keystone Ancient Forest 5K/10K at a nature preserve with that name about 15 minutes west of Downtown. The preserve is pretty cool because it has trees that although small and scrawny are several hundred years old. You can read more about it on its  Nature Conservancy site. It is a special place and due to manpower and budget restrictions it is only open a couple times a month or so. The proceeds from the race all went back to the preserve.

This is the first year they have held a race and even though the scheduled start of the race before dark they had over 140 people signed up (at least I think that is what was said during the pre-race briefing.)

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The scheduled start was 7 am but it was dark so they delayed it about 15 minutes plus it gave some stragglers time to get their packet pin their numbers on.  So they started the race and everybody ran away from me. Don’t feel sorry for me, I was able to walk through the woods all by myself in the early morning. Even though it was 18F. The course started out with a half mile or of asphalt then, gravel, then dirt.

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The course went downhill and then uphill via series switchbacks. A nice easy, wide, rock and root free trail. I liked it anyway (just kidding) the trail is in great shape.

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At the far end of the loop, we had some nice views of Keystone Lake.

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Much of the return loop was on a fire trail turned into a trail recently.

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Found me a natural gas pipeline running through the area. It looks like it has been there a while.

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I loved the pattern in the sky after a while.

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They had a water stop that we hit both going and coming. I grabbed a bottle and it was nice. The water was partially frozen!! Kind of a surprise at first. Also, in keeping with the ethic of the preserve there were not discarded water bottles. I think everybody did like I did. Drink the water,and hold the bottle until I went back by and through the bottle and cap into the trash can.

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And the final stretch commingled with the 10k runners  to the finish. I think I came in dead last which was my goal. I don’t think anybody enjoyed the event more than I did.

 

I was pretty pleased with my knee. For a long time it hurt to up or down the slightest inclines and I couldn’t walk very far without things hurting. I had no problems so I am going to continue the twice a week leg workouts, and continue with the stationary bike and elliptical machine and walk at noon. I don’t feel ready to run yet but I think I might start running a little bit in March. I’m just taking it slow.

 

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Kudos to those who organized and worked the race. Everything was perfect. They even had Starbucks Coffee for us at the finish and Panera pastries, and a big roaring fire!! The course was well marked, they had a fire rescue crew out on an ATV checking on everybody, and a decent tee shirt. And of course thank you to the Race Director and all the volunteers that got out there at dark thirty to get everything ready for the runners, and thanks to TATUR Racing  who timedthe event and my fellow racers.

The race is for a great cause. I’ll be back next year. Maybe I will be able to run it?

What have you been up to lately?

I am linking with Our World Tuesday!

Skywatch Friday – Winter

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View of the sky to the west from my office building at sunset.The river is the Arkansas River.

Well its January and it finally got cold in Tulsa and is pretty much staying cold. That’s okay, that drives the snakes and ticks away. Anything that does that, I am all for.

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It just makes me appreciate the warm weather that much more.

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I forgot to post the full moon last week. I love full moons.

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I have this new nerd app on my Iphone called Solocator. It takes photos with gps coordinates, elevation, direction, and other info. Isn’t it just the coolest. I’m showing how dreary the sky was in the greenbelt in my neighborhood. (Why do they call it a greenbelt? In the winter we should call it the brownbelt, but I am digressing)

So, sorry about the lack of a theme, but that is kind of my life these days.

Skywatch Friday

New Building in Town

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As my knee is getting stronger I am back to walking around downtown like I used to only not quite as far. Tuesday I strolled to the east side and checked out the progress on a new building. I swear they have been building this thing for a long time.20180109-114250-3

I kind of like its modern design with steel beams, lots of glass, balconies, and geometric theme. It is some sort of technology company I think and it looks almost ready to move in. Sorry for the dull pics. It was very overcast.

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I posted this photo on Instagram. It is the “Urban” filter on the Prisma app. I love prisma. Maybe I love it too much.

What have you been up to lately?

Our World – First Hike of 2018 on Turkey Mountain

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Son Logan and I went on a hike on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain Wilderness Area last Friday. It was cold to start but sunny.  The sunny part of it made for some great shadows.

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I’m still recovering from my knee injury so I picked an easy trail. The upper yellow trail from the south to north. When I run I like to take this route to start because it is a slight downhill the whole way and I feel like areal runner. No running this time but it was still pretty easy.

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We found us a tree. Turkey Mountain is full of trees. There is plenty for everybody so if you come here feel free to claim one. Please leave it though. Take all the pictures you want and visit anytime!

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The upper yellow trail passes some moonscape type terrain.

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We also found an old oil well. Turkey Mountain used to have lots of wells back in the day and there are reminders around everywhere.

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We also found this shelter made of branches. It is at the highest point on Turkey Mountain. I am not sure who used it. I doubt it was a homeless person. The surrounding area had no trash or debris at all. Most homeless camps are pretty messy. Plus most homeless camps are near places where they can get water and food. This place is a pretty arduous hike for a homeless person. So it is a mystery to me. I have a feeling somebody came up and camped here. In my evening runs on the mountain I have seen several people leaving the parking lot with camping gear. Camping is forbidden but I am not the camping police is my motto.

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By the time we got back to the parking lot, it was a lot warmer. Plus if the hike is downhill all the out, then it is uphill all the way back. Plus I decided to pick a little tougher trail with more rocks.  We were ready to get home and down some cold water.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday, come join the party!!