Tag Archives: Outdoors

Our World – Thoughts on a Turkey Mountain Ramble

Turkey Mountain Barbed Wire_

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 There was a geocache here that I never could find and it is no longer active.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

Our World Tuesday – Half and Half Run at Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center and Lake Yahola

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For my weekly Wednesday after work run I changed things up a little bit. Instead of going to Turkey Mountain with its rocks, roots, and hills I headed out to the best kept secret trails in Tulsa, the Northwoods trails at Oxley Nature Center and then extend it by running around one of Tulsa’s raw water supply sources, Lake Yahola.

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The Norhwoods trails are not used very much. They don’t even have a parking lot. You just park on the side of the road. I hardly ever see anybody else on them. And there is a chance of seeing deer. I haven’t seen a deer on Turkey Mountain in a long time. The thing about Oxley is that there are very few rocks and no hills. My legs were a little sore and I wanted some distance but I couldn’t face going up and down the hills of Turkey Mountain.

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I did find an old snag that toppled across the trail. A real trail runner would have leaped across it without slowing down. Then there are guys like me who deal with in a different manner.

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There is quite network of trails in the North Woods section but they only add up to 3 miles and they loop around on each other so if you miss a turn it is no big deal.

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So I took the Oxbow lake Trail to get to Lake Yahola.

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And here it is. See the little specs to the left of center on the far shore? That is the high rises of downtown Tulsa just a few miles away.

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I turned to the right and started running on the chat gravel path. I didn’t bring my trail shoes and the gravel was hurting my feet and the grassy part was too soft for really good running. What a cry baby I am!!! I was running into the wind also but I was having the time of my life. I come upon about a dozen fishermen scattered around the lake. There is something peaceful about fishing and watching fishermen.

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About two thirds of the way around the lake I come upon the city water treatment plant. I love infrastructure stuff like this.

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Back close to the main trail at the Oxbow Lakes.

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Fuzzy pic of me with the lake. Do you like my socks?

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Back down to the road. I love how the trees tunnel over the trail. I love running here when there is strong winds because the trees just plain stop the wind and it is neat because you can hear the wind howling through the tops of the trees. I love stuff like that.

Got my run in. Almost six miles at a leisurely pace. Oh well, it is what it is.

I’m linking with “Our World Tuesday

More on the Outlet Mall on Turkey Mountain

I’m such a slacker. The Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition held a very successful cleanup on Turkey Mountain today (Saturday). I didn’t make it because I took son to his horseback riding lessons and then to his Improv class. I went by the main parking lot at Turkey Mountain over an hour late and it was cram full. So I drove up close to where Simon Property Group is planning to put their “Upscale Outlet Mall” (Whatever that is) and took off with my camera.

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I started at the natural gas pipeline right of way. The pipeline had been marked. This is a safety procedure. Generally anywhere in the country if you are going to dig or drill or do anything that might affect underground structures, you call a number. In Oklahoma it is” 1-800 Call Okie”  and tell them where you are going to dig or drill and anybody who has underground utilities will send someone out to locate their lines. It keeps everybody safe.

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So anyway the pipeline company located the line and cleared out their right of way a little bit.

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I wandered around and found where the contractors hired by Simon Property Group had moved their equipment in. I have to tell you that this is somewhat of a “me to” post as two excellent bloggers have already told this story. Ken, aka “Trail Zombie” one of the leaders of Tulsa’s thriving trail and ultra running community has posted on …..miles to go before I sleep… as well as Bob Doucette who has a great outdoors oriented blog proactiveoutside, Check them out. They both bring a lot of passion to the situation on Turkey Mountain.

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I followed the track and found some of what I would call gratuitous damage. Damage that was done for no purpose. Keep in mind that this is not public land, it is private land so I guess they can do whatever the landowner will stand for. Still, I spent years building pipelines all over Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi and I never met a landowner who would stand for this kind of damage during the survey process.

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This tree was documented by both Trail Zombie and Bob. TZ measured it at 31 inches across. It seems to me that it was cut down just for the fun of it.

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These survey sticks with the ribbons seem to be where they are drilling for cores.

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More needless damage.

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Here is the core drilling rig and the Bobcat used to clear the path for the rig. They were taking the day off on Saturday. Or what the heck maybe the crew was participating in the cleanup.

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A closeup of the drilling rig.

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And some other equipment in the brush.

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And some logs cut into firewood length.

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After a while I came to the northernmost basket on the Westside Y’s disk golf course.

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Right nearby were these three sticks together. I wondered if this might be the northern boundary of the proposed mall property.

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Right adjacent to it was this ancient fence line.

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I ventured further to see if I could find any other damage. I didn’t see any and eventually came upon the edge of the Westside Y proper. This is Lake Logan.

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Backtracking, these ribbons caught my eye. They were marking the waterway that feeds Lake Logan.

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I followed them upstream for quite a ways. I’m guessing it was well marked to make sure they didn’t get their equipment didn’t get in there. What I’m afraid of is that all the construction upstream would cause a lot of runnoff into the Y’s lake  where they have a popular day camp in the summer.

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As I followed the waterway I saw some of these survey stakes very close to the water course. I’m anticipating that very soon the Bobcat will be clearing a trail down to the creek in several places so that the drilling rig can take some core samples.

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If Simon Property Group is allowed to build their mall then this trail and others in the area are going to not be there any longer.

What to do?

Contact the Mayor, Dewey Bartlett

Find out who your Council Member is and tell them what you think.

Tell Simon Property Group what you think about their proposal

Check out the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition

Question:  If it is private land can’t the landowners do whatever they want with it?

Sure, especially in Oklahoma. It is anticipated though that they will want  special tax breaks and subsidies for the infrastructure needed plus improved roads to the site. Simon Property Group is a very wealthy company. If they want to build a mall while spoiling a major part of Turkey Mountain then I don’t want to subsidize them with my tax dollars.

Question: Should the landowner be expected to continue to provide the land for the trails for free?

Of course not. Tulsa needs to buy the land and other tracts not already owned by the city or the George Kaiser Family Foundation  if it is to be protected long term. Where will the money come from? I don’t know. I do know that things that are a priority get funded.

Question: Am I against outlet malls or against development?

No I am not outlet malls. I think Turkey Mountain is the wrong place to put one. My preference would be to put it somewhere where it doesn’t affect outdoor recreation. I also think Simon Property Group is a responsible company. They own and operate Woodland Hills Mall near where I live. I don’t think they are making a good choice by pursuing the Turkey Mountain site.