A few weeks ago I took a walk on Turkey Mountain. I came onto the recently cleared and regraded pipeline and I noticed that one could view the entire west side of Turkey Mountain and if you look really closely you can vaguely see the tall buildings of downtown Tulsa in the distance. We love our urban wilderness here in Tulsa.
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
With daylight savings time in effect I can resume my trail running after work on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain. A couple years ago I tried running it at night. Too many trips and falls for me. I have a good headlight but you lose enough of the depth perception to where I was tripping not on the many rocks and roots but just the uneven ground. I wasn’t just stumbling, I was pancaking flat on the ground. I’m too old for that!! So daylight running only on trails for me.
So I ran twice this week. Once on Wednesday evening after work and again early Saturday afternoon after dropping the kid off at his Improv class.
It was kind of like seeing an old friend again. Both days the weather was not the best, cool, and a bit rainy but that meant I basically had the place to myself.
The ponds (for some reason called lakes) on the mountain are full.
I injured my right leg somehow early this year. It is okay now. I did a self rehab and it worked based on the treatment I got for my left leg about a year and a half ago. Stretching, rest, lots of walking, patience. So now that my leg is fine, I am slowly building up mileage to help with my conditioning. Getting old is for the birds is what I say.
I intend to be one of those old crusty guys who are still getting after the trails in the 80’s. So I have to take care of myself.
Wednesday night’s run on the upper and lower Yellow Trail along the river.
Saturday’s run from the upper parking lot into the more remote and less visited west side of Turkey Mountain.
Speaking of Improv, Logan had a show Friday night. This is his last semester as he is aging out of the youth theater. We have been watching him and the other kids for years. Who knows what the future holds for him.
Saturday morning we did our family volunteer gig at a local Pet supply store on their rescue cat area. We clean out the cages and litter boxes, feed and water them, and play with them. We do it ever two weeks and it is a lot of fun. The critters are starved for attention so I think they appreciate it.
I’m linking with Our World Tuesday
Logan’s school had their prom Saturday night. He wore his late grandfather’s tux complete with vest and tie. The trousers fit pretty good after the alterations, the jacket and vest were fine.
The kid is so danged tall that Heather almost needed a step ladder to get all the motherly primping done. He cleaned up pretty well.
I thought he stood out in the crowd. (Sorry I couldn’t resist). The school arranged for an outdoor event center for photographs. You know for some reason they don’t invite parents to the proms. We had a good time with the kids at the pre-event.
The kid with his nervous and proud mother.
And with a friend.
Did I tell you that I thought he was the handsomest guy there?
And a few more friends.
And another. All the young gentlemen looked and acted the part.
Here he is with a childhood friend. They went to early grade school together and then ran into each other again when Logan started this high school. Tulsa is the biggest small town I’ve ever seen.
And then a call for the young ladies. They were all beautiful in the elegant dresses.
And then the ladies and the guys.
And then the guys, and it kind of went downhill from there. Just kidding, they were a spirited but fun bunch.
And then on the way to the prom we stopped at his grandmother’s house for yet another photo op. These two have a special bond. He was proud to wear his grandfather’s tuxedo and she loved seeing Logan wear it.
And that is where the photos end. We dropped him off and then went back to give him his change of clothes for the after prom and then picked him up after that. I was proud to be chauffeur for the evening.
We had a brown Christmas, which suited me fine, followed by several days of lots of rain which wasn’t too much fun and then a day of sleet and then snow and now its cold so the snow is staying. So I got a Christmas photo of house all lit up with the snow which adds some reflection and makes the light a lot more even and later. I used Topaz Impressions software on this shot and then backed the effect by about 2/3 to capture the last days of the Christmas season.
The season started to end at about 5:30 the day after Christmas. Heather’s aunt, a retired school teacher, gave us all Barnes and Noble Bookstore gift cards and since we are all big readers we decided to go buy a bunch of books. So I was coming out of the store and it was raining and I was headed for the car in the rain and a car could have run over me but I was watching the drivers eyes and she wasn’t looking where I was, she was looking the other way and so I got out of her way and raised my arms up in a “What the heck lady” motion. She rolled her window down and said; “I wasn’t going to hit you and you don’t need to give me hand gestures in front of my kids.” I was like huh? and yelled “I didn’t do that!” and then she gave me the old fingered salute. Hah! it was comical and I guess that Christmas was about over, for her. I am still celebrating!!
I am staying home with the family this week eating too much, staying up too late, and sitting around too much. Back to the real world next week helping America fulfill her energy needs.
Linking with Digital Arts Meme this week.
This is a pic of Tulsa’s iconic Healing Hands sculpture at Oral Roberts University. I took some night photographs with my cell phone and then used Topaz Impressions’ Colored Pencil filter to give them a little color.
Linking with Digital Art Meme
A pristine vintage Cadillac ambulance in Tulsa’s Veteran’s Day Parade last week. It really does look an ambulance for the country club set.
Linking today with Ruby Tuesday
Last Saturday, Heather and I were walking to a craft show in a not so great neighborhood just east of downtown Tulsa when I spotted this tree with the bright yellow leaves set against the blue sky and in amongst garbage carts, a food truck, and the back of a stop sign. I live in a city folks many of my Skywatch pictures have power lines, billboards, and other distractions. But I take the pics anyway. (Amongst is a word in Oklahoma by the way)
What about you, do you ever just take the pic anyway?
Linking with Skywatch Friday
Friday, Heather, Logan, and I headed out to the Tulsa Oktoberfest. I had run a race the night before and as part of my entry fee I got a one liter stein. And you know something those steins don’t fill themselves. I had to take it Oktoberfest so it could realize it’s inner “steinness.” If you don’t know what that means then buy my upcoming book “The Inner Life of Beer” and learn all about it.
Logan is rocking his new Oktoberfest cap and pin. I think he looks great.
Logan and Heather make a great couple. I have no idea where he is looking.
Oktoberfest has really upped its game with its beer. It used to be pretty lame but they now have a wide selection of both foreign and domestics, Warsteiner, Boulevard, Marshall Brewing, Paulaner, in addition to the crappy market leading domestics. They had a pretty good variety of food also, bratwurst, sausages, schnitzel and the rest along with typical fair food.
The people watching was world class with lots of people wearing chicken hats.
And one guy that looked like a hipster Hasidic guy. Hey, you know, the devout have to have beer also. Notice his stein. We also had some people right out of Breaking Bad.
Lots of dancing going on to German music. My favorite is the cross generational type dancing.
I think that a smooth and mellow time was had by all. We kind of ran out of gas and left before Heather could do her chicken dance, but hey we’ll double up on it next year!!
There is big news here in Tulsa, Simon Property Group wants to build an “Upscale Outlet Mall” here. That is just great. We need economic development and jobs and investment and all that good stuff. I just have one problem with the concept.
They want to build it on Turkey Mountain right near the Turkey Mountain Wilderness Park. The outlet mall is going to be huge, covering 53 acres. Simon Properties Woodland Hills Mall is a little over 60 acres. As near as I can tell the spot where I took the photo above would be inside the outlet mall.
It is going to ruin a lot of things about Turkey Mountain. The one place in Tulsa where one can get away from it all.
Turkey Mountain is home to a lot of critters, Everything from snakes, turtles, and deer to…
… thousands of people: geocachers (above), hikers, runners, bicyclist, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and just people wanting to go get their heads clear.
This is the wrong place to build an outlet mall. There are other places in the city where it wouldn’t have such a drastic effect.
I know that it is private property and I’m all for property rights as anyone else but not when it has such a drastic effect on the adjoining property. Plus it is anticipated that Simon Properties will be demanding subsidies and special tax treatment to make their project feasible. (Why is it that giving money to starving people is welfare and giving money to multi-billion dollar companies is incentives?) I don’t know about you but I’m not really wanting to provide incentives to somebody to destroy a wilderness and pave it over.
So, I will be writing to the Mayor and writing and talking to my City Councilor and contacting Simon Properties Group to see if they can make a wiser decision on locating their new Outlet Mall.
I am saying No to the Turkey Mountain site. Build in Tulsa if you wish, but do it somewhere else.
What about you? Have you ever fought City Hall on anything?