Tag Archives: Our World Tuesday

Our World Tuesday – Tulsa Tough Bicycle Races 2018

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Tulsa has a big street party every year on a hill near the River Parks called “Crybaby Hill.”

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In amongst (amongst is a word in Oklahoma by the way) the party a bike race breaks out. It is Tulsa Tough. A three days series of bike rides and races for everybody from Sunday cruisers like me to top professionals around the world.

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They have it in early June every year and it is generally sweltering. Tulsa Tough is sponsored by Saint Francis Hospital, a local Catholic Hospital Medical System.

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The last day of the race is the most popular. The races all criterium style which means that they go round and around the same short course multiple times. The last day’s though is brutal. You start by the river and climb up a very steep hill then you come down off the hill and at the bottom you have to make a very sharp 120 degree turn and most of these guys/gals don’t appear to use their brakes at all so there are some spectacular bike crashes.

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So down on the river is where the races start, and the top is where the party is. It appears to get a little bigger and a little wilder every year. Couple that with no parking, very few sidewalks and the crowd and the races get very close to each other. They have painted the race lanes in bright colors and there is an army of volunteers who are constantly yelling, “mind the gap.” The race lane area.

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So I went out and made a lap of the course with my camera, walking and with the heat it about killed me. I cannot imagine riding the course up to nine times or so.

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I love the contrast, the party with people getting drunk, and laughing and having a good time, and a high stakes race in the brutal heat and humidity.

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I’m linking with “Our World Tuesday

Previous Year’s Tulsa Tough Posts

2017

2016

2015

Our World Tuesday – Flower and Wildflowers

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This is one of Heather’s day lilies in front of our house on Sunday morning after a night’s rainfall. I just love rain drops on flowers.

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Saturday I went hiking on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain and found some color. Or some color besides green. The mountain is covered in bright green and I love it but I also love other colors also

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And here is some yellow flowers. I have no idea about flowers so I call these yellow flowers.

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And here is one of the trails I ran. You see what I mean about bright green?

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And here is a purple wildflower.

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After years using a Toshiba I finally got a new computer. The Toshiba was still working but the pentium chip just wasn’t up to the demands of Lightroom and Photoshop and other photo software I use. so I got a brand spanking new Dell with a fast processor. I also have a solid state hard drive that is about half the size of the one I had but I don’t keep much data on machine. I got it at Staples and had them move the data and programs from the old machine to the new and you know something they did a great job and the cost was very reasonable.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday.

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 -The Prairie Schooners of Tulsa

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We have something new in downtown Tulsa. Stickwork artist Patrick Dougherty, with a lot of help, installed “Prairie Schooners” at Tulsa’s least used park, Chapman Centennial Green on the south edge of downtown. The project was sponsored by the Urban Core Art Project.

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It is made up of branches and sticks from trail cleanup and tree trimming projects here in Tulsa. They are in there very good. The day I took these photos there was a gale blowing downtown and the structures were not going anywhere. The tops were waving about fairly well. I don’t know how they rooted the structures in but they in good.

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Prairie Schooners is what the covered wagons that the pioneers used to go west and steal land from the Native Americans. I can see the resemblance to that. It also looks like sailboats out ocean.

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The structures bend and wave in the strong wind and seem almost alive, they way they move. They look ghostly.

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An example of the complex and very strong weaving of the natural materials used to make the structures.

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They are very complex and make little rooms and there are no “Do not touch” signs anywhere. The place invites touching. It’s a very happy place.

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It is due to be installed for a year, until March 2019, so you got some time to check it out yourself.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday.

Our World Tuesday – Nature Photography Class – Spring 2018 – Chapter One

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I am all excited!! I did a one day Nature Photography class by Tulsa Community College.  We met early in the morning and then headed off to several venues, the Linnaeus Gardens, Tulsa Garden Center, Tulsa Botanic Gardens, and Oxley Nature Center.

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So the over a dozen of us, clicked and snapped away and we walked, and walked. My little garmin wrist device tells me that I walked 7.76 miles today. I believe it. My dogs are barking, you know what I mean. I do trail running, and this was about the same except I had a camera and was clicking happily away.

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This is at Wooward Park, before the class really even started. So what do you like best, pink tulips in front, with yellow in back?

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Or the other way around? Without cars in the background. Ignore the cars in the background.

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Or how about the Redbud Trees.

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How about some ancient stone steps.

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At Oxley, do you like the little snake my fellow students found?

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Or do you like the bigger snake a few hundred yards away. They said, don’t worry, no triangular head, and the eyes are round so it is not venomous. Like I even cared. Who is going to get close enough to snakes to figure out the roundness of its eyes?

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I forget where this is from. It is pretty is all I know.

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I love this also. No idea what it is.

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Anyway, the more I learn about this photography thing, the more ignorant I get. I am firmy entrenched into manual mode, and metering the photos and all that but the complicated things get me. Like the above. Sunny on one side, shady on the other, overeposed on one side, under on the other. Who you going to call? Nobody, suck it up big guy, figure it out.

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Or focus on the blossoms. The yin and the yang. Big picture, small picture. I am so confused.

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Here is a redbud up close.

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Linnaeus Gardens

How about a flag reflection. The reflection looks okay, but the sky is blown out.  No editing done anywhere on this post by the way.  Haha you say, we could tell that.

That is all for now. I took over 200 photos and I store them all in cloud and it is painfully slow to get them there. I used to store them on an external hard drive. Big, huge mistake. It cratered.

I really enjoyed the class. Kudos to my fellow students who really got into it, the various venues, who welcomed us with welcome arms and the instructors, Larry and Natalie who spent a considerable amount of time scheduling us into the various places, and led us around making sure that everybody had a fun time. I’ll be taking more classes from them again.

I am calling this Chapter One because I have so many photos to upload and don’t want to  wait until they are all uploaded before I post something. Call me impatient.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

 

Our World – Spring Break at Big Cedar Lodge

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A week or so ago we had the perfect storm appear of the kid getting a break from school, and a few days off from his job at Walmart and me having some time so we dashed off to Southwest Missouri to Big Cedar Lodge, near Ridgedale to spend a couple nights.

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I really didn’t know what to expect. Big Cedar is owned by the same company who owns Bass Pro and if you have been to a Bass Pro store you know they push the time share condos and Big Cedar hard. (They also the founders of the now non-profit Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, that I discussed in my previous post.) So anyway we got to Big Cedar and it was very nice and very low key. The staff at the hotel act like they like there jobs and are very engaging and spend time with you to make sure that everything is good. What little problems did occur were set right quickly with very little fuss.

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The property is huge and has lots of amenities, most of which are at no extra charge such as the nice mini golf set up that they had or the paddle boats. This is not a resort where they nickle and dime you to death.

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They had a nice chapel on the property available for weddings.

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Lots and lots of flowers. I like it when owners take pride in their properties. There really is not a rate of return to flowers.

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There were lots of people there on the property but it is so spread out and has so many activity centers that it did not seem crowded at all.

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This is the marina where you can check out the paddle boats, kayaks, and other equipment.

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I had never seen so many mounted heads of deer and other wildlife in my life. Whole herds must have been wiped out to furnish the place. (I am being sarcastic folks). These were in the fully equipped fitness center.

Anyway we had a fun, relaxing time. I know this sounds like a puff piece for Big Cedar and I assure you that we paid full price for stay there and were happy to do so and will probably be back. I think it is a great place for our family for a long weekend. The accommodations were nice despite very thin walls. The food and drink in the restaurants was good and reasonably priced and the staff was friendly. What else do you want?

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

My World – Photography 101 Continued – Depth of Field

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Our second lesson in our photography class was learning about depth of field and how you increase it by increasing the Fstop at the decreases the aperture which reduces the light hitting the sensor which means you have to increase the iso setting of the camera which makes for more graininess in the photo. It’s all connected in photography, there is no free lunch!!

Anyway I had all week to do the homework assignment which consisted of setting up objects in a line and then decreasing the Fstop from f22 down to f5.6 to illustrate how the depth of field works.  The teacher said that a shallow depth of field works well with portraits, especially those outside, where one wants to “fog” the background to focus on the subject.

So anyway, I waited to do my homework until Sunday when we had a cold front hitting Oklahoma. I decided to use chess pieces for my objects but that did not work well as the wind kept knocking them over.  So as we say in the oil and gas industry I decided to plug back and perforate, in other words proceed to plan b.

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I moved the table up closer to the house to protect it from the wind and used a chess board and pieces from my late father-in-law that were a lot heavier. So the above is at f22 and I am focusing on the 3rd pawn from this end. So I shot the same scene at f16, f11, f8, and f5.6, the lowest fstop that my camera with the lens I was using.

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So I am still focused on the third pawn and you can see that the rook closest to us might be a might bit fuzzier (we use “might bit” in Oklahoma without irony) and the pieces on the far end are quite a bit fuzzier.  I am sparing you the intermediate photos.

So anyway, next class is Monday night and we will be talking about freezing action with shutter speeds.

I’m still just a lowly picture taker but I’m enjoying myself.

Linking with Our World Tuesday

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.

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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.

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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

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!

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!!