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.
Up until a few years ago I went running every week, regardless of weather, after work on the Arkansas River trails. The only thing that stopped me was thunder and lightning. I have all sorts of cold weather gear to where I could run relatively comfortably down to the single digits if I had to do so. Since the tread on my knees has gotten a little thin as one doctor told me, I have cut my running way back. More cycling, more yoga and aquatics classes. But still I like to get out and run every now and then and participate in a race.
Last week, the temperature wasn’t so bad so I went to the river to run and the sunset was just waiting for me. Actually I hurried because we skywatchers know that the sunset waits for no one.
There is nothing like a great sunset. They are so hopeful and I am looking forward to 2020. 2019 was a mixed year (aren’t they all?). Our son started college, Heather and I got to be empty nesters for a little bit and took a couple of great trips to the Teton Mountains and southeast Oklahoma. It was nice. The year ended with my brother coming down with viral encephalitis. My wife, my sister, and her husband and I dealt with that the last couple of months and will continue to deal with that for some time.
So for 2020, our son heads back to college in a few days. My brother will be moving out of skilled nursing into long term care or assisted living as he continues his recovery, and life will go on as it always has.
So keep your friends and family close, be thankful for what you have, and help each other out. I wish all of you a Healthy and Happy 2020.
Thanksgiving 2019 is going to be a little different. I’ve been blessed my whole life that Thanksgiving has always been special. Sometimes it has been with lots of people and happy noises and other times quiet. In recent years it has been on the smaller side of things.
These two, the world’s greatest MIL and my wife get all the food going. Except I smoke the chicken, turkey, ribs or whatever. That’s a hard job. The hardest part is to not drink so much beer that you forget what you are doing.
And Logan, the brains of the bunch, or so he says.
This lady, my partner in life. The one who keeps me going. Heather is the uber networker. She knows everybody, if she doesn’t know the right person, she knows who to call. She can gather information and resources like nobody’s business.
This year, brother Bob has fallen ill. Runner of 26 marathons and numerous lesser distances and probably the toughest person I know, by far, has a serious illness where he can’t walk a foot without support. I think he is going to be okay but it is going to take some time. My sister and I are trying to figure it out all out. Bob has been a part of our Thanksgiving for years. He loves good food and we are the place for that.
So this year Bob and I are having a branch Thanksgiving at his hospital in Memphis. Don’t feel sorry for me, yes I will miss everybody but I am thankful that I have my brother. I am thankful for all the hospitals, nurses, nurses aides, cleaning people, food service techs, and doctors who have a part in getting him to where he is now. Many of those people will be working on Thanksgiving, away from their families, ministering to people like my brother. He’s had a lot of tough therapy and despite his losses and despite the hard therapy, he never complains, he just takes it as it comes.
I am also thankful for his co-workers and friends. Bob is now a Navy civilian employee and most of his coworkers are ex-military as well. There is a fierce loyalty and concern there that I don’t think lifelong civilians can really know.
And my sister, Ellen, fellow blogger, retired IT executive, seasonal Yellowstone Park Ranger, and all around great person who always seems to know what to do. She spent three weeks with Bob and left a few days ago to get some R&R and spend some with her family.
So yes, Thanksgiving will be a little different this year but I think that I have more to be thankful for than ever.
I hope you and your families have a great Thanksgiving. Lets remember those who have to work or otherwise cannot spend their days with family.
We have a little hope. After a rocky period, we have a glimmer of hope for our brother Bob. He’s responding to therapy and so we are headed the right way. He’s a long distance runner with a bunch of marathons under his belt and he knows what hard work is.
The last week or so, our sister Ellen has been with brother Bob at the rehab hospital. that was after a week with her at the first hospital while the medical staff tried to figure out what was wrong with our brother. She and I quizzed doctors and nurses, googled the info they gave us like crazy, waited long hours for the specialists to show up on their rounds.
Just keep us in your thoughts and prayers is all I ask.
I am doing the hiking posts backwards of our trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks earlier in October. Our first hike was actually to Taggert and Bradley Lakes of the Grand Tetons National Park. We have been looking forward to this trip for a long time and with our son away in college and doing well we had our opportunity so off we flew to Jackson, Wyoming.
Our first morning, right after breakfast, we packed our stuff up and went to see the National Park office just inside Jackson. I had a list of places we wanted to see and the person we talked to knew all about them and gave us all sorts of information that came in handy. My first pro-tip and Heather and I have done this a log is always stop at the Ranger Station, Visitor Center, or whatever and talk to a ranger. They have always been very helpful.
Pro tip number two is don’t act like a know it all. My sister actually took me on a hike to Taggert Lake last year but I didn’t say anything because I have found that doing that tends to shut the person up you are talking to and when I didn’t want to happen. It’s hard to learn anything while your mouth is moving. Yes sure, did I hear some repetitive stuff, yes I did (mainly because my sister had done a lot of research.)
I asked the Ranger if bear spray was recommended, and as expected I heard an emphatic yes. We talked about renting it and she gave us directions to a place within walking distance of where we were. So after talking with her, we packed up the maps and other info she gave us, walked over and got our bear spray and headed off to the trailhead.
And off we went. Lots less people than what I remember and we were pretty excited. Our heads were on a swivel though looking and listening for bears.
And what a great hike it was. Through quaking aspen groves turning golden and along Taggert Creek. Creeks up in the mountains make music as they flow and they have their own great aroma. And above it all were the majestic Tetons. I have never tired of looking at them.
We eventually got to Taggert Lake and like last year I was just floored with how crystal clear, calm, and beautiful it is
The Ranger had suggested that if we felt like it (we are obviously low altitude flatlanders I guess) to go over the ridge to Bradley Lake. So off we went. And getting over the ridge was exhausting. They say the Tetons are still growing. While I think the ridge was growing about fifty feet a minute as we went up. We eventually got up and over and went down to the lake. Another beautiful lake, oh hum. How many beautiful lakes can a National Park have?
Spectacular views of the mountains.
And then we hiked out. We were on the shady side of the slope so it was still snowy from earlier in the week.
Every once in a while on the way out I would stop and take a photo of the mountains behind us.
It always seems that the hike back to the trailhead seems a lot further than the hike in. We were tired and a little thirsty and hungry. We packed in a water and snacks. That is pro tip three. Always take water and snacks with you, especially if you are low altitude flatlanders like us.
We passed some Park Service stables and corrals. We were interested in horseback riding opportunities but they are none this late in the season.
The first day was the best weather day of our trip. It got steadily colder as the week went on but hey we knew that we would run into that but we still had some great adventures and I haven’t told them all to you yet.
Five and a half miles and three hours and one great day.
Have you ever visited the Grand Tetons National Park?
On our final day last week of our Jackson Hole trip we had a relatively early checkout time from our condo and a pretty late in the day flight back to Tulsa.
So we got up, cleaned out and checked from where we were staying, got breakfast, grabbed our bear spray and headed up north of Jenny Lake for a final hike along String and Leigh Lakes. A hike that a Ranger we had talked to was easy. It was pretty darn cold, and the trail was snowy but off we went.
It was cold and we were by ourselves but gradually we started seeing more people. Never enough to make it feel crowded. I had read in an online trailguide where somebody had come across a grizzly bear lolling around in the lake near the trailhead.
So we had an invigorating hike, on alert and cold but gradually we relaxed.
It helped that the scenery was stunning. Yeah we were away from the big Teton mountains but these were no slouches and the water was crystal clear and blue.
We allotted enough time to go about 2 miles up the trail and return. You can tell that Heather is pretty happy above.
Last year I spent a few days with my sister, who was working as a seasonal Ranger at Yellowstone Park at West Yellowstone. She took me on a few hikes in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and it really opened up my eyes to just how beautiful and wild the parks are when you get out of your car and venture down a trail a few miles. So this year Heather and I followed down a couple of the trails Ellen took me on last year and found one ourself. We’ll be back!!
What a great treasure our National Parks are. October is a great time to visit, if you can. Dress warm is what I say!!
The other thing I say is rent the bear spray, instead of buying it. We rented them for $7 a day, max $28 and then we just took them back when we were done. If you fly in, you can’t fly back out with it and I was worried about how to dispose of it properly if you buy it and you are flying back.
So I am not going to do trip in chronological order. I will do them as I feel led. I am not an organized blogger who has his act together, but I think that you have already figured that out.