I went hiking the other day and found this tree with all the branches on one side. It looks a little ghostly to me actually. And of course I liked the blue sky.
New Year’s Eve morning I decided I wanted to go on a little hike. I’m in recovery for an injury and my doctor told me to walk or run on level surfaces. Running is not happening right now but I am walking more and it doesn’t get any more level than Oxley Nature Center in north Tulsa. It was cold, in the low twenties, and there was a stiff breeze. Look at the flags standing at attention. Notice the empty parking lot! I had the whole place to myself.
I am not afraid of the cold. After years of running in the winter in all kinds of weather, I have the right gear to wear in cold weather. It is a balancing act dressing for the cold. Too little clothes and you die from the cold. Too many clothes and you overheat and sweat and possibly freeze. Also, avoid cotton!! Cotton kills in cold weather. Wear tech fabrics close to your skin. They wick the moisture away and breathe. The other thing about cold windy weather is I like to hike in the woods. It cuts the wind a lot. There are some parts of Oxley where you can hear the wind howling in the tree tops but it is calm at ground level.
Another reason to hike at Oxley, in the woods is the deer. They have deer there and I see at least one almost every time I go. I saw this dude when I walked into a water pipeline right of way. He had a group of four or so does he was bossing. So he stood and kept watch giving me the stinkeye while his harem left.
Then he gave me one last glare and left.
I walked on and had to backtrack when I came upon a frozen over trail. Hadn’t seen that at Oxley before.
Lots and lots of deer tracks.
I got to Lake Yahola and observed this dude from one of the blinds they have set up. Does anybody know what this guy is? I am wondering if it is an American White Pelican.
Hiking further on I found these deer. There were about four of them. I had a devil of a time being the newbie, picture taker that I am. I had to take the lens of autofocus and focus manually but there was a lot of glare so I had to shield the viewfinder while focusing. I’m sure it looked pretty hilarious. As you can see, I didn’t quite get the focus right.
And then yet another group. There was the big dude letting me know he was watching me and then he left and then mom and a teenager showed up. They kind of strolled past. In the background you can see another deer grazing. It was part of another group of four or five.
And got to the other side. This was pretty close to my car. I got in the car and while I was messing around with my gear and getting a drink a security car came by and checked me out.
Time to stop for some hot chocolate at Quik Trip, head home and check on the Dallas Cowboys in the game against Philidelphia. Dallas won but it was very ugly.
I’m linking with Our World Tuesday
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.
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.
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.
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.
So I took the Oxbow lake Trail to get to Lake Yahola.
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.
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.
About two thirds of the way around the lake I come upon the city water treatment plant. I love infrastructure stuff like this.
Back close to the main trail at the Oxbow Lakes.
Fuzzy pic of me with the lake. Do you like my socks?
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“
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.
Well somebody had been visiting. We saw a few of these in the park but they didn’t look like they had been used.
I love the big and small ponds, lakes, and streams on the property.
It looked like some beavers had been hard at work.
A sign needs either replacing or fetched.
A nice surprise were some pelicans. They were cruising about. The geese seemed a little put off their visitors.
Heather taking in the view near the photo blind.
Yep, I’m a lucky guy is what I think.
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.
I went on a run at Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center this week. I have taken off the whole week between Christmas and New Years and the weather has been quite mild. Unlike other parks around town, Oxley has their trails extremely well marked some even with gates like this. I’m a Forest Service kid and I love this type of construction. And, who can resist checking out a trail called the “Meadowlark Prairie Trail.”
And I am donating a free shadow selfie at no extra cost.
I am linking this post with Fences Around the World
as a PS I am ashamed to say that I have subscribed to Photoshop for over a year and just this week have been figuring out how it works. I had always discounted Lightroom before but I have learned it is an integral part of the whole process. You do the easy edits in Lightroom and then pass the photo easily on to Photoshop. And then you can pass it back. Easy Peasy. Plus I have some of the Topaz Filters and have learned that the they are easily integrated into Photoshop as well. In the photo above I used I used a free Nik Filter from Google. They made them free in March of 2016 and they are very powerful. Anyway, they are integrated into Photoshop also.
I feel kind of dumb but having a little time to study things shows me that I have been wasting a lot of time. Better late than never I guess.
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.
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.
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.
I started in late afternoon and the low sun made all the leaves radiant with color.
There is something about a bench on a trail overlooking a creek that is restful without even sitting on it.
The woods loom over parts of the trails. I call these tree tunnels.
I love the color of some of the oak leaves.
Another tree tunnel.
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.
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.
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
Oxley Nature Center is built on some land nobody else wanted. Just north of the airport, wrapped by Bird Creek, and right next to the police department shooting range, nobody likes it except hikers, families, trail runners, geocachers, and photographer, not to mention deer, squirrels, snakes, lizards, ticks, fish, and lots of birds. The marshes of Oxley is what gives wildlife its space against us humans. I’ve been out here and have seen deer run across the marshes and swim the sloughs and leave guys like me trying to get good pictures behind.
The marshes give Oxley a lot of its mystery. I used Topaz Glow to emphasize that mystery. I like how it brought out the reflections of the trees and the texture of their bark.
Heather and I wanted to go hiking on a warm sunny Winter afternoon and we decided to on the north side of Tulsa to Oxley Nature Center to avoid the crowds that show up at Turkey Mountain on nice days. The successful fight to save Turkey Mountain from developers really aroused the public’s interest in the park and I’m happy that so many people love it but there are other parks in Tulsa to go and hike, run, bike, and whatever you want outside with a lot less people. Where you can get a little elbow room and hunt for a parking space.
Oxley, adjacent to the also hikeable Mohawk Park is a little more structured and has a interpretive center with staff to help you with planning your hike. And it has hours of operation and such but if you just want to show up and hike or run, just park and do what you want. Check the link for hours of operation, maps, and such.
So on a day where Turkey Mountain was a little crowded (only at the parking lot, you get a quarter mile from the parking lot and the crowd are diminished considerably) Heather and I found a hiking spot and took off on a circuitous route. Sure we saw other people but just every now and then.
So don’t let crowded parking lots deter you from spending time outside.
We say several deer right close to the parking lot. I haven’t seen a deer on Turkey Mountain in years.
So we were just moseying along at a leisurely pace. Our son is on a school trip to Breckenridge and of course we stopped every time he texted us.
And we had a great time. Over four miles all in all.
As far as what was going on in Breckenridge, here is a selection of some of the pics Logan sent Heather.
This was from the bus ride as they were getting close to town.
The condo they are staying in and reportedly doing lots of “hanging out” and “relaxing” when we ask him what he is doing.
And it sounds like there is an ice sculpting contest or exhibition going on so this is one of the sculptures.
And this has something to do with dragons. Anyways we miss the boy and are glad to be able to hear from him.
Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center last month.
Linking with Skywatch Friday
I had a few hours to myself last week so I went to Oxley Nature Center north of Tulsa’s airport. I only found one cache but the enjoyment is mainly in the looking. I walked up to one of the lakes and too this shot. If it looks familiar it is because it is taken from near where my blog header shot is taken. I’ve probably got two dozen pics of the same scene over the years, summer, winter, fall, spring, cloudy, clear, cold, hot, with Heather and Logan, mostly without. If there is a law against repeat photographs then I’m in for a long sentence.
I’ll have plenty of company though if I’m sent off to blogger jail. The bloggers I regularly read do similar things. A pretty or attractive scene tends to stay that way. What about you, do you repeat yourself a lot? Going back to the same scene I mean.