Tag Archives: Trails

Riding the Osage Prairie Trail and Checking out Movie Locations

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Earlier this week, I took my bicycle up to Skiatook, Oklahoma and rode about ten miles of the Osage Prairie Trail. It is on the roadbed of the now defunct Midland Valley Railroad. Being an old railroad, the grades are very easy and the route very straight. I love it though because you ride through old farm and ranch country away from the roads. Sometimes I see deer and other wildlife and always lots of birds. The other night there were lots of birds, no deer, but a couple of snakes crossing the roadway. Hmm, a thought just popped into my head. How come snakes always go across trails and never along trails? Let me know if you have the answer. Okay I’ll get back on track.

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The trail goes right through the town of Sperry. So what you say?

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This is what. This a former shooting location for the movie “The Outsiders” based on S.E. Hinton’s book of the same name. A coming of age novel set in Tulsa in the late 50’s-early 60’s. It was shot in Tulsa back in the early 1980’s. I don’t think it is used for anything these days. Check the image here.

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Right across the street is another shooting location for the film.

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So much for Hollywood. A little further along I come across this scene of a workover rig on an old well well. The rig has been up for quite a while and I am not actually sure they are working on it. Most activities in the oil field go on pretty much 24 hours a day. The way oil and gas wells are, if you lose a day’s production, you don’t make it up until the back end of the of well’s life which could be years away because you can’t double up to make up so producers end up being pretty demanding with their service providers. Speaking as a service provider.

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The trail has several grade crossings of local roads. Best to slow down before you get there so you don’t get run over. That would ruin my whole day. I don’t know about you.

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I passed a big group of people walking on the track. I love that kind of stuff. You know, getting out and actually talking to each other and exercising. Great stuff.

Relive ‘Biking the Osage Prairie Trail’

A video of my little almost 20 mile jaunt.  Be thinking about me Saturday. I am participating in my first biking event. A 24 mile race. I expect to finish dead last in my big heavy cruiser bike. My goal is finishing.

Shadow Shot Sunday – Evening Ride to Sand Springs

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I am really enjoying riding my bike. I couldn’t do it Monday or Tuesday because I had to pick the kid up from work and Wednesday Heather and I went to the Alison Krauss – Willie Nelson concert. (Heck of a show those two put on I tell you.) So Thursday was it. I have a go pro type cheap clone that I mount on the handlebars of my bike. I had it set to take a photo every 20 seconds so above is an action shot of my filling my water bottle. You can tell from the long shadow of the tree that it was already getting late in the day.

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The winds were supposed to pick up from the north so I opted for an east west route to Sand Springs and back on the MK&T trail. A converted railroad line. Straight as an arrow and easy grades. It doesn’t get much use and has several road crossings but they are easily crossed.

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Here is a sign shadow, with a lens flare.

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And here is an action shadow selfie of me pressing the crosswalk button like a nerd. A bicyclist who knows what he is doing just goes out there in traffic. I plan on living a few more years and I am hoping that being a nerd furthers that cause.

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And an extra long shadow selfie on the trail. Below is a brief video of my ride.

Relive ‘After work ride to Sand Springs’

So what have you been up to lately?

I am linking with Shadow Shot Sunday

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

Fences Around the World – Oxley Nature Center

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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.

Our World Tuesday – Oxley North Woods Loop Trek

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I started in late afternoon and the low sun made all the leaves radiant with color.

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There is something about a bench on a trail overlooking a creek that is restful without even sitting on it.

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The woods loom over parts of the trails. I call these tree tunnels.

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I love the color of some of the oak leaves.

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Another tree tunnel.

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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.

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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.

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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 

In Search of the Rid(dle)diculous Geocache

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I have been after a geocache named “That’s Just Rid(dle)iculous!!!” by a geocacher named M5. (Geocachers have names, I’m known as YogiABB.) Its  puzzle cache which means one has to solve a puzzle to find the cache.

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This puzzle involves arithmetic and some baffling wordage about the three kids and the sum of their ages, and the product of the their ages, and one’s a muggle and oh my. I don’t know what is going on.

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Ithought I had it so I went out the area and bushwhacked to what i thought was ground zero and looked here and there and up there and down here and around and around. so I didn’t find it.

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I didn’t find the cache but I had a pleasant hour in the woods, Plus One for ME! And found a new secret trail!! Score One More for Me.!! It is not very long but it is sweet.

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So I’ll take that.

Turkey Mountain Trails Added to National Trails System

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Exciting news to many of us here in Oklahoma. The National Park Service announced the designation of Turkey Mountain’s Red, Blue, and Yellow trails (about 7 miles total) as part of the National Recreation Trails and will be added to the National Trails System. The announcement comes just in time for National Trails Day.

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No, this doesn’t mean that the Feds are coming in to take over the trails, the designation recognizes existing trails built and maintained by others. The National Park Service will provide special trail markers and add it to their web site. The main thing is that the designation provides additional credibility to those who are trying to get grants for Turkey Mountain. 

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Kudos to the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition who led the effort behind the scenes to get the designation. UWC is quite an organization. They started last year in response to a tone deaf effort by the City of Tulsa and Simon Properties to build a cheesy outlet mall on Turkey Mountain. Thanks to the efforts of TUWC and other organizations, the community rose up in opposition and Simon is proceeding on building the mall at a more appropriate location. I was amazed, do you know how many times Oklahoman’s are successful in opposing bad development ideas? Very few times is the answer.

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So this is great news but the preservation of Turkey Mountain is still a process more than event. Steps are continuing to be made by both private and public entities. The citizens of Tulsa passed a bond issue to provide funds for the purchase of the proposed Simon Malls site. After the close on that purchase, the River Parks Authority, who administer the land, installed new cable and post fencing to keep vehicles off that property. The vehicles were tearing the trails up and some of our fellow citizens were dumping their trash.

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So we have recognition from the Feds which helps but Turkey Mountain still needs lots of support from the community.

Turkey Mountain Map

Read the Tulsa World Article on the designation

Download a map and check the trails for yourself.

Check out the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition, get involved.

 

Our World Tuesday – Checking Out Chandler Park

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Sunday I decided to explore a new area with Logan. It is the land west west of Chandler Park is far northwest Tulsa. I was inspired by the facebook posts of TrailZombie Ken who is my guide pretty much for anything having to do with trails and trailrunning in Oklahoma. 

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We start out at the very southwest end of Chandler Park and cross the gate and head down the road. The first thing you run into is this sign. This is the Compass Industries Landfill EPA Superfund Site. A gazillion dollars was spent cleaning up “…620,000 cubic yards of solid, liquid and sludge wastes, including acids, caustics, solvents and potentially carcinogenic materials” in a former limestone quarry.  The cleanup was paid for by the polluters themselves but all that stopped in 1995 and now we taxpayers get to pay for cleanups. I guess because it is unfair to ask the polluters to pay the expenses. It might cut into their campaign contributions budget or something.

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We go a little further and we find the that the fence has been breached in a major way. I wonder what kind of morons trespass out there on a regular basis?

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Shortly thereafter the trail gets away from the site and continues on west. We only saw one other person during our outing. Turkey Mountain is great but on nice weekends some of the main trails get crowded and Logan doesn’t like the constant bikers coming up behind us. No traffic problems at Chandler Park, yet.

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And then it got a little rocky and I spent 40 fruitless minutes looking for a geocache and we continued our trek until the trail looped around to Avery drive.

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We took a little break and then decided to head back on a different route.

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If it looks steep, it is.

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Just ask Logan, he’ll tell you.

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We got into some of rock formations that make Chandler popular with the local bouldering and climbing enthusiasts. We are not into any of that.

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Logan took a picture of the old man in full nerd regalia standing on a rock.

So it was a nice easy out and back introduction. I can see when daylight savings time returns that I’ll be coming out here some to do my Wednesday night runs. The area is lots bigger than Turkey Mountain but literally about 1% as many people. I’ll be learning the trails and looking forward to it.

Timely column today in the Tulsa World: Do we even need Chandler Park? I say yes!!

Have you been anywhere new lately?

Linking with Our World Tuesday

Packing it All In – A Very Full and Busy Day Off

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I had a day off today. I had it all to myself because Heather went off to an Autism Conference in Norman, Oklahoma and Logan had to go to school. So I kissed Heather goodbye at 6 am and made the kid breakfast and made sure that he was dressed and ready to go and off we went to his school. After I dropped him off I headed up to Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center. Turkey Mountain gets all the press, and the people, but Oxley is a gem also and its North Woods Loop Trail is wonderful and deserted. In all the years I have been going there I have seen somebody else there once. I love Turkey Mountain, but the problem is so does everybody else.

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And this was my first trail run since my injury on Turkey Mountain back in September. I wanted somewhere that was flat with no rocks. Oxley fits the bill. Plus it is just flat out beautiful. Turkey Mountain will always be my favorite but Oxley is my go to place when I don’t want to deal with rocks and and hills, and lots of people.

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I got there about eight in the morning and I have to tell you that I saw lots of deer. I didn’t get a single photo of them. I saw them running through the brush, swimming across lakes and bounding around all over the place. You will just have to take my word for it.

Here is the data on my so called run. I ran quite a bit and walked quite a bit. I went looking for two geocaches and found one.  After my jaunt at Oxley I went home, cleaned up, and headed up to Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum. They have an Andy Warhol exhibit going on and I felt ah, well, so what until I actually looked at it and saw a bunch of art that I had only seen in magazines. Warhol’s screen prints of Marilyn Monroe, Mao Tse Tung, and John Wayne plus a bunch of other works. It was amazing. I always thought of Warhol has a lightweight celebrity artist but I’ve changed my mind. They didn’t allow any photography of the exhibit so you will just have to check out the link to see for yourself.

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After Warhol, I checked out the gardens of Philbrook. I don’t know what I like better, the gardens of Philbrook or its art.  Don’t make me choose is all I can say. The Tempietto above is the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.

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Villa Philbrook, the heart of the museum, used to be a house. Not for me is what I say.

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Eric Baker’s glass and steel installation, Oklahoma Autumn, is my favorite work in the gardens.

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I was also taken by Theordore Van Soelen and his Tesuque (Dark Houses). You see my folks were living at the Tesuque Ranger Station when I was born. That was in the day before health insurance so Dad called the hospital’s in Santa Fe and Espanola, New Mexico and got bids on getting a baby birthed. Espanola won. It cost like $95 or something like that. I’m not like Ben Carson who is running for president so just take my word for it.

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I love the pottery from Acoma Pueblo.

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And the black on black pottery of Maria Marinez is wonderful.

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And here is something different. A catlinite pipe inlaid with lead. I’m not sure that smoking with that would be good for you. It sure looks like though.

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So a pretty active day for me, so far about 18,800 steps or over nine miles. Not bad for a guy with a bum knee.  Actually they are both sore right now.

Jesus Wept - Pray for Paris

I didn’t hear about the news from Paris until pretty late in the day. How sad. I really don’t know what the answer is to radical Islam. They seem to have no regard for life.