Friday I ventured down the turnpikes from Tulsa to Chickasha to pick the kid up at college. He is done for the semester, can you believe it? Seven week semester break until school starts up again. What’s up with that? Anyway, I went through Oklahoma City on the way down and had some time so I stopped at the Skybridge spanning I-40 near downtown. The light was too bright for a decent photo. At least a photo with my humble skills.
LoveLocks have hit Oklahoma. Dozens of them. This one had a couple rings with it. I tried, I couldn’t remove them.
So what’s up with this? Three locks only two of which are interlocked although they are on the same theme. Is the a protocol to these things? How do I translate.
And then this? Hmmm, is it scandalous or just a family with three people. I’ll let you decide.
If you have followed me for any length of time, you know that I am an active geocacher. (Check what geocaching is here and here.) It is a scavenger hunt using a GPS device (or the gps function of your smart phone) to find objects hidden in the world by other people. To me it is an interesting combination of the physical world with the online realm with a significant social component. I have hidden over twenty caches and have found close to 1800 in the years I have been doing it.
Often geocachers use the game to bring attention to significant spaces such as works of art, special outdoor areas, and historical items. I noticed that somebody had placed a cache close to Tulsa with a reference to Blue Duck’s grave site. That immediately got my attention. The Blue Duck I was thinking about was the character in Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove” series of books. So I went to find the cache and see the grave site.
I didn’t find the cache but I found the grave of Bluford Duck. Born in 1858 into the Cherokee tribe he was already an outlaw in the 1870’s in Oklahoma Territory, cattle rustling, bank robbing, and horse stealing was his trade. In 1884 he and two of his compadres killed a farmer named Samuel Wyrich for no reason. Duck was apprehended and sentenced to die by hanging by the Hanging Judge, Isaac Parker, of Forth Smith, Arkansas. His sentence was later commuted to Life in prison. He got tuberculosis in prison and was released and died soon thereafter in 1895 and buried in this humble cemetery in the Tulsa suburb of Catoosa.
Besides being a “notorious outlaw” (are not all old west outlaws, “notorious”), Duck’s claim to fame was being romantically involved with Belle Starr, another “notorious outlaw.”
And here are the love birds. (Note the manacles on Duck’s wrists.) You can tell he is an outlaw because he is wearing a black hat. He is an attractive looking guy though. Starr though looks a little rough in my opinion. (I’d of never told her that to her face you understand. Notorious outlaws are a little twitchy about stuff like that.)
Larry McMurty’s character, Blue Duck, has no relation to the Cherokee Blue Duck besides being “notorious outlaws.” McMurty’s Blue Duck is combined Mexican and Comanche descent and killed a lot more than one person. From what I read, there is no evidence that McMurtry even knew about the Oklahoma Blue Duck. But hey, he might have. Blue Duck is a great name for an outlaw especially the notorious kind.
I love finding stuff like this that helps make history more real. My favorite is from a German POW’s grave at Fort Reno, Oklahoma that I just randomly googled and found out he, Johannes Kunze, was murdered by his fellow POWs for being a snitch. The Germans were prosecuted for the crime during the war by Leon Jaworski, who later led the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Read the post here.
Have you ever found the grave of somebody who is “almost famous.”
Friday afternoon Heather and I took off way past Sand Springs to the Keystone Trail which is on US Corps of Engineers Dam near Keystone Dam and Lake.
It’s a six mile plus or minus loop that is popular with the mountain bikers in the area. When we got there there was only one other person in the parking lot. We took the loop in a clcokwise direction and he took his bike counterclockwise and met him on the trail. We saw nobody else the whole time and ours was the only car in the parking lot when we left.
We didn’t see any deer, we saw lots of squirrels and this guy.
And these two, not friendly at all. I think we were interrupting something.
And rocks, we saw lots of rocks, big beautiful rocks. We didn’t see hardly any litter though. We walked through some spider webs which means that the trail was not very busy.
The trails were well designed and maintained. Not much erosion going on.
We even saw a little fall color. I think coming back in a month the forest would be beautiful with color.
Here’s a 38 second video of our hike. We went every which way. We covered about five miles in all and loved it.
I went for a walk last week at Tulsa’s Gathering Place. A huge public, privately funded, free park built right next to the Arkansas River. I’ve been there a bunch of times and I am still trying to get my head around it.
It has a bunch of different facets to it. One of the things I like is the beauty of the place. From the native, sustainable plantings the landscaping. It’s a great place to hang out. No cars are allowed in the place, the parking is all in the periphery. So be prepared for walk. They do have handicapped parking closer in though.
Who says Tulsa doesn’t have a beach?
I love the Koi Pond. The park is a mixture of high energy and serene.
The native plants make for low maintenance and low water use. It also makes for critters that live in the planting areas and other critters who feed on the critters, like snakes.
There are all sorts of areas to sit and visit, while maintaining social distancing.
The main draw are spectacular play structures. They are huge. Designed and built in Europe, they are unlike anything I have ever seen.
Other times, like on winter mornings I have climbed and clambered and used the slides. I’m not really into that when kids are present though. It’s for them.
The structures are complex and interconnected and there are multiple ways to play on them.
And great exercise to, sliding down the tubes is fun, but you have to climb up to them.
I loved their boat with the sail.
They had their water/hydraulics feature working. It had never been working on my previous trips. You have hand operated pumps, valves, dams. You can make the water go this and that. Talk about fun!!
And then off by itself is the sensory garden with all sorts of things to look at, touch, feel and make noise with.
So you can go from the busy and noisy to isolated and quiet easily.
And make your own music!!
One of my favorite places is the Lodge. It looks like an expensive resort.
I love the woodwork and the midcentury modern vibe with the furniture. Masks required!!
They have a great big fireplace that is just the place on cold winter days. And wifi and a snack bar.
So, this is just a sampler. They also have a boat house where you can rent canoes and kayaks. Bicycle and skateboard parks, and lots of sports courts, cafe’s. Play areas for smaller children, lots of rest rooms. And guess what, no admissions fees, no parking fees, no nothing. They are open 9 am to 8 pm seven days a week. Check out their web site for more information. The home page has some great drone video footage of the park.
Sunday morning, before anybody got up, I ventured out to do some geocaching out of Town. I went through the city of Mounds and stopped to take a photo of this building which looks to be unoccupied at the moment.
What got my attention though was this mural on the side of the building. I checked out the web site and it looks to be not very active right now. It was state sponsored organization and I imagine that funds got cut. But the mural survives and I love the handprints.
At a nearby cemetery I found this little angel. I like hanging out in graveyards. I get a sense of peace there.
I found this really old marker. Eliza A.N. What’s up with just initials for a last name. 1822-1907 – A lot happened in the world during that time. A mystery!! I tried googling a little bit but couldn’t find anything.
Here we had three crosses put up on fenceposts. Some sort of trinity type thing. I think this is fairly recent.
Close by a long forgotten hibiscus is growing up among poison ivy.
More views from our trip to Chickasha, Oklahoma to see our son who is attending college there.
We spent some time at Shannon Springs Park which started out as a stop on the Chisholm Trail during the post Civil War years. The trail was how cattle got from Texas to railheads in Kansas. Shannon Springs was a major source of water on the trail.
It became a city park and later enhanced by the WPA. The city has continued to add to and maintain the park and it is quite attractive.
It is the site of the Chickasha Festival of Lights held during the Christmas season every year. I’m guessing the tower above is a big Christmas Tree.
I puzzled over this thing for quite a while and don’t know what it is. Do you suppose it represents a Loch Ness monster of some sort only in the park’s lake? Nah, I don’t either.
I loved the stone caretaker’s cottage. I don’t think it is occupied any more.
To end the post, this is the Wolf Moon, or Snow Moon last week. I love taking moon photographs.
It’s been cold here and I’ve been cooped up. Sunday morning I went for a walk around Lafortune Park, a 3 mile trek around a combination golf course, library, playground, tennis complex, and little league ballparks. One of those huge rambling urban parks that I tend to love. I’ve been around it hundreds of times over the years and of course I took my camera and I took this photo just focusing on the water and not paying attention to the sky. I was pretty happy with the result. I got a pretty good walk in also.
Saturday the family headed out to the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow to check out their “Chalk it Up Art Festival” held in conjunction with the Broken Arrow Rose Festival.
The event is held on Main Street in downtown Broken Arrow (aka the Rose District). Contestants use chalk and create their works right on the street. It is pretty amazing and it looks to me like a lot of work.
They had a lot of entries, maybe over thirty or so. The only other time we came was years ago and they had maybe a dozen.
They were very colorful and showed a wide variety of themes.
Unfortunately it started sprinkling when we got there so I turned into a man on a mission, photographing almost all of them before it started raining so I was not able to go back and study them in more detail. Plus there were a ton of vendors set up in tents selling all sorts of interesting arts, crafts, and other things. We usually try and check those out also but not this time.
So just as I finished it started sprinkling pretty heavy and we had parked a ways away so we headed back to the car. Turns out that maybe we should have not left so quickly but oh well. I didn’t care if I got wet I was more worried about my camera.
I liked this one showing some of the flora and fauna of Oklahoma.
Saturday, my wife Heather and I went to Tulsa’s Woodward Park. I wanted to check out the Azaleas. That’s Heather above with her hands on her hips like she is ready to do something. She is always ready to pitch in!
The Azaleas were nice but not like last year but we loved it anyway. Above is a photo using my lensball. It is a spherical piece of glass that I keep in my car. It sure makes for nice photos, once I learned how to use it. One trick is that most of my photos with are inverted since it inverts the scene in front of it.
Here is a two tone photo of Azaleas in the shade. I have learned how to do manual exposure and blah, blah, blah with my camera but I forgot to set the white balance to shade and it is hard (for me) to correct for that after the fact. Oh well, I’ll take it anyway.
The Linnaeus Demonstration Gardens at Woodward Park had a butterfly garden. Heather had her notebook out and was making notes. I think we might have one in the near future.
Woodward Park had some iris’s also. I love them!!
We saw lots of flowers, and stopped and chatted with a couple from out of town who asked about what to see in Tulsa. A great time was had by all!!
The best part of the news is that they want input from everybody including the general public. They have hired Micahael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc to develop the master plan. They are the landscape architecture firm that designed Tulsa’s Gathering Place.
A series of public meetings have been scheduled. (Check the Tulsa World story for details.) And if you can’t make it the meetings or if you just cannot wait to participate, you can make comments on the web here.
You may remember the events of three years ago when Simon Malls announced plans to build an outlet mall of all things on Turkey Mountain. A small cadre of people who founded the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition stood up to them and said No. They were able to mobilize the general public and community leaders to save Turkey Mountain and Norton decided to build somewhere else (and they haven’t built an outlet mall in Tulsa yet) and funding was found to buy the private tract and eventually it will be transferred to the River Parks and preserve it from commercial development.
And all that is great but this latest effort is needed to come up with a plan for Turkey Mountain. What does the community want Turkey Mountain to be. The threatened mall awakened the community and now the Mountain has more visitors than ever but there is no one person in charge of it and there is hardly any budget to maintain it.
This master plan is a first step to defining what we want for public mountain and how to go about funding it. I’m pretty pumped about it actually.