Tag Archives: Hiking

A Hike on Turkey Mountain – Meditation in Motion

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I found me a gnarled old tree. I love gnarly.

Saturday morning I didn’t have any obligations. Heather went off to teach her classes and the kid didn’t want to go walking or hiking or much of anything. So I went off to Turkey Mountain all on my lonesome.

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A perfect trail, I love the dappled sun.

I like exploring Turkey Mountain with my family or friends but I am okay with it on my own as well. I get totally lost in the moment feeling the sun or shade on my face, the heat, humidity, what the ground feels like under my feet, other people up there and everything else. It is all just part of the whole. You can’t keep your head in the clouds though. You have to keep an eye on the trail so you don’t trip plus the copperheads are out and they are hard to spot.

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An open air auditorium. The trees make a natural archway.

So I have a rough idea of what I want to do but I feel free to change it up as the mood strikes me.

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Slow and steady down the this steeper than it looks and rocky trail.

Turkey Mountain is just so lush and green this early in the summer. Give it time under some hot sun and the green will lose its freshness and the ponds, creeks, and springs will dry up. It’s all part of the cycle.

Relive ‘Morning Meditation in Motion on Turkey Mountain’

I can walk an hour or two and it seems like five minutes.

J.T. Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve

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Sunday, son Logan and I ventured off into deep eastern Oklahoma to the JT Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve northeast of  the town of Tahlequah.

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It is a 17,000 acre former cattle ranch that the Nature Conservancy took over in 2000 and it is now the largest privately protected block of land in the Ozarks. It is almost a complete ecosystem of its own.

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The Conservancy has reintroduced fire and is replacing the former bermuda meadows with tallgrass prairie to try and reestablish what the landscape looked like long ago. From the six mile drive across the property it looks like they are succeeding. The open meadows are very lush. The burned landscape really opens up the woods.

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They reintroduced elk in the area in 2005. We got a glimpse of one through the trees but I did not get a decent photo of it. We also saw white tailed deer on our hike.

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The only thing I wish is that they had more trails. We hiked two out of the three available and it was 2.3 miles. They packed a lot into that short distance with a variety of sights from ridge tops to creek bottoms, woods to savannas.

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It was a good outing. We were the only ones there. The headquarters was closed but they had a great display on the area, the trails, where the trails were and how to get to them. The trails were spotless. No litter or vandalism or anything. Of course you really have to want to go there to get there. We drove across six miles of very bumpy and rocky road to get there.

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Logan really liked the peacefulness of the site.

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Check the link if you want to visit. They provide directions and all sorts of other information.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

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!!

Skywatch Friday – Fall is Falling

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My wife’s cousin’s wife, Cheri Lou took this photo at the ranch in western Oklahoma. I love the rolling hills, grassy rangelands, and the big skies out there. The people are great also.

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Where we live in northeastern Oklahoma is more forest land and a lot wetter. Son Logan and I went on a little jaunt at Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center. Lots of wildlife in Oxley. Lots of water also and it is right underneath the main approaches to our local airport and is right next to the police gun range so it can get kind of noisy but I love it.

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There are several sizeable lakes and ponds and it is known as a good birding site. I love birds but I don’t have the patience to put in the work.

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Here you go, any photoblogger worth his salt has the obligatory first red leaf of Autumn. I think this might be my first red leaf ever.

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This gave me a start! Don’t worry, it is a rubber snake placed near a geocache. At least I think it was near a geocache. I looked for it and didn’t find it. I lifted a rock and found me a real snake. Just a tiny little garter snake but I decided, enough is enough.

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Saturday I had some time so I went looking for some urban caches in Tulsa. Found one near the Saba Grotto. I think it has some relation to the Masons. There were a few instagram pics with Saba Grotto. it looks like a big man cave. They have a pretty active facebook page and they seem to have all sorts of benefits and events. Who would have thought? Stuff like that intrigues me. People don’t seem to join clubs any longer. They belong to “affinity groups” where they do people who have similar interests but is a lot looser. Anyway, one reason I love geocaching is that I find new places and learn new things.

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Another cache I found was on a freeway interchange. Talk about hiding something in plain sight. Lots of cars whizzing by while I figured out where the cache was.

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I am still training for the Tulsa Run 15K the last weekend of this month. Last week I ran 9 miles after work and I actually felt pretty good. Cooler weather and a hydration vest works wonders. I had already signed up for the race and went ahead and signed up for the Route 66 Half Marathon in November. This weekend I am running 11 miles on Sunday morning. At least that is my plan. Check back later. Plans change.

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A side benefit is running is the opportunity to take photographs. A great deal of my running (and a great deal of my photos) are along the Arkansas River. Tulsa really is a beautiful town. Of course I love the gritty west side of Tulsa where all the industry and refineries are.

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In the Fall the skies get a lot more interesting. This is a sunset photo looking east with my back to the sun.

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I’ll finish up with a selfie with a combuster at a waste treatment plant on the river. I was halfway on my nine mile run and I was really happy with how good I felt. Cooler weather, a hydration vest, and Metallica on the earbuds works wonders. That is about as big a smile as you will ever get out of me.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – A Family Walk at Oxley Nature Center

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Last Friday the family decided to go for walk at Tulsa’s Mary K. Oxley Nature Center. One of the best kept secrets in Tulsa. Acres and acres of trails, woods, marsh, lakes, and meadows and hardly anybody ever visits it.

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Well somebody had been visiting. We saw a few of these in the park but they didn’t look like they had been used.

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I love the big and small ponds, lakes, and streams on the property.

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It looked like some beavers had been hard at work.

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A sign needs either replacing or fetched.

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A nice surprise were some pelicans. They were cruising about. The geese seemed a little put off their visitors.

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Heather taking in the view near the photo blind.

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Yep, I’m a lucky guy is what I think.

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Heather and our gentle giant of a son, Logan checking out some storm damage from last year.

And here is our route. About 3 miles and a good mix of woods, open land, and water. We saw nobody else during our three miles.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday this week.

Shadow Shot Sunday – New Years Eve Walk at Ray Harral Nature Park

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Logan and I went for a little hike on New Years Eve. He had his wisdom teeth taken out a few days ago and he was supposed to be quiet but by NYE both he and I were pretty owly and needed some fresh air and walking time. I have a hard to shake sinus infection and so I haven’t been doing much either.

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So off he went!! He isn’t into running much but he was pretty restless. We went to Ray Harral Nature Park in Broken Arrow, a suburb of Tulsa. I kind of like it. It has lots of trails and not very many people. By planning your route you can get a couple miles in by varying the loops available.

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The woods were grey but I did find a cardinal hiding from me in the shadows for a bit of red.

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I finally catching up with the kid. There is something about pedestrian bridges that I love. I alos feel compelled to tilt the camera. For some reason it seems more interesting.

How about you? What do you tilt the camera for?

I’m linking with Shadow Shot Sunday today.

I wish everybody a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!

Our World Tuesday – Oxley North Woods Loop Trek

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Saturday I went for a walk at Oxley Nature Center‘s North Woods. I love it there because it is remote, off the beaten path, and I rarely see anybody.

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I especially like it when it is windy because there is enough trees and brush to block the wind. It is near still at the ground and I love the sound of the wind in the tops of the trees.

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The trails are well kept. This time of year there is a thick matt of dried leaves that announces your presence as you walk along and sends the big and small critters scurrying.

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I started in late afternoon and the low sun made all the leaves radiant with color.

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There is something about a bench on a trail overlooking a creek that is restful without even sitting on it.

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The woods loom over parts of the trails. I call these tree tunnels.

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I love the color of some of the oak leaves.

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Another tree tunnel.

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The sun is getting low. Heading across my favorite boardwalk. There is a geocache here that took me three years to find. And one day I saw it without looking for it.

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Headed back to the car and saw these two critters. We watched each other for a while. I would move up twenty paces and wait twenty seconds, and then move up another twenty paces and so on. They got tired of my game and scampered off.

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A little bit further I found this single deer. She played my game and let me get a little closer before she turned on her heel and left.

I didn’t set any speed records but I had a good time. Didn’t see anybody else. I wasn’t looking for anybody either.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday 

Twenty Four Hours in Osage County

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Those of you who know me, know that I’m a Geocacher. The Tulsa Area Geocachers have an annual event in the Fall that they have at various State Parks in Oklahoma and this year they went to one of my favorite spots in Oklahoma, Osage Hills State Park up in Osage County. It is a beautiful wooded, hilly location with lots of camping spots and a friendly accommodating staff.

Heather and Logan stayed home. They hate geocaching. Hate might be too mild a word for their feelings about it. So I went by myself.

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So it was fun finding the various temporary caches placed by the participants. Some of the people are diabolically clever.

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Osage Hills is known for having the remnants of a Civilian Conservation Commission camp built back in the 1930’s to house young men who helped build the facilities still used at the park.

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Here is a link to an interesting short blog post about the history of the CCC at Osage Hills. I learned that the camp was active from 1935 to 1941. Its amazing that so much remains 75 years after the camp ceased operation.

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Mainly I wandered the trails. I didn’t encounter many other geocachers as I started with the furthest removed caches and worked back and was more interested in taking pictures anyway.

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I found the camp dynamite hut. It looks solid enough still, except for the roof.

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I loved Lookout Lake. No geocachers here, just fishermen.

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Found me a little critter. He told me he wasn’t a geocache.

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The next day I got up early and went out to Sand Creek to take some photos. One of the prettist places in the state as far as I am concerned.

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And then I drove out to the nearby Nature Conservancy’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. I always love the wide open spaces with rolling hills and the bison.

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I’ve never been able to photograph the feeling of exapanse of this place. It is almost 40,000 acres.

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It is huge and goes on forever.

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And then I drove down to Woolaroc, Frank Phillips’ (of Phillips Petroleum) country place. Woolaroc is an acronym for “Woods, Lakes,and Rocks”. He has a first class western art museum, a buffalo herd, and all sorts of other stuff that an oil gazillionaire needs.

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And a barn for the the critters.  I love the barn.

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And the landscaping (rockscaping).

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And the Native American design motif. I know its cultural misappropriation but I still like it.

And then I went home.  But I had a great time.

Labor Day Weekend

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Well I didn’t get any labor done this weekend. The yard needs mowed, the bills need paid, and a few other things need attending but we took it easy. We spent a lot of time at Nana’s house with relatives both in town and out of town. We all got a little sunburned but we had a good time. It’s great to reconnect with people and see what is happening with them. Plus I get to take lots of photos and use my bag of special effects on them if they irritate me.

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Me and the kid went on a little hike in the north Woods section of Oxley Nature Center. A beautiful area and I have only seen two other people on those trails in all the years I’ve been hiking them.

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The view from the back of the pack

Monday morning I ran a fairly small 5K put on a by a local church, the Run to the Son 5K. A great event that I loved more because I finished 3rd in my age group and got a medal (out of six if you must know).

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It was a Baptist Church that put it on and I violated my oath to never run in anything but beer runs. I’ve amended the rule to include great pancakes instead of beer. Flexibility is my middle name.

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New Beginnings – Logan Starts College Today

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We were trying to figure out what to do Sunday when Logan announced that he would like to go hiking on Turkey Mountain.  It only took a few microseconds for the words to hit my ear and my response didn’t even go to my brain “Lets go!” I said.

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It was a change for Logan. He has a couple of other big changes coming up. For one he is starting college today at a local community college. He is starting part time. So we are not photographing decorated dorm rooms and new room mates and all that. We are starting kind of slow to see how it goes and get him used to it and he’ll live at home.

Not everybody of course goes “off” to college. I graduated from high school in Albuquerque and went to the University of New Mexico and stayed at home. Suited me!! I went off to the Permian Basin of west Texas to work as a roustabout in the oilfields during the summer. I loved the work but I loved getting home also. I think Logan is a home body also. Eventually he want to get a job and get a place of his own. Hopefully not too far away.

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We found someone camping illegally on the Mountain

The other change for Logan is that he is starting a work skills class at Goodwill Inc sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitative Services (“DRS”). Its going to be several hours a day and they are going to learn about all the various things a person has to know in order to have a job. We have been very impressed with both Goodwill and DRS. They are very nice people and we think this will be great for Logan. It will be in a small group type environment and they will all learn together. 

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Anyways say a small prayer if you would for our son as he starts this new things in his life. He is very nervous about it.

“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go…”

Joshua 1:9