Oxley Nature Center – Land Between Water and Sky

The other day I ventured out to Oxley Nature Center. It’s not as popular as Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness but Oxley has its charms. No mountain bikes for one thing, flat trails for another. And lots of water, even during a drought like we are having now.

To me Oxley is defined by the water in its lakes, streams, rivers, marshland and ponds.

So if you like the sky and reflections, you are in the right place. Even if the skies are gray and overcast like they were the day of my visit.

I actually came looking for otters. The staff tells me that the otters have taken over an old beaver lodge and the best time to see them is around 6 am. Well, that isn’t happening. So I take my chances during the day every once in a while.

I love Oxley’s woods and water and proximity to town and its many trails.

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And opportunities to take photos.

I even found a geocache on my visit. Finding it was easy but you have to sign the paper log for it to count. This one had a “field puzzle” to solve. They had nine bottles of scents and the combination to the log involved identifying three of the scents and putting them in the correct order. That took a lot of time, for me. But I eventually figured it out even though my sniffer got worn out. Good thing it wasn’t summer when I would be wearing scented bug spray. I loved it, such an original concept for a geocache.

So I had a good time in what seems sometimes like my own private forest preserve. Do you have a secluded place you can go to to get away?

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Tulsa Jingle Bell Run 2022 5K

Dallas Cowboys Santa Cap, Heated Vest, and downtown Tulsa in the Background.

Last Saturday I ran the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell 5K in Tulsa. It is a fund raiser with races in almost all the bigger cities.

You can tell we have drouth going on. The Arkansas River is way down.

Back when I used to run a lot the Jingle Bell Run was a must do. They had the best tshirts!! Big thick shirts with bold graphics. I think the fastest 5K I ever ran was during Jingle Bell Run. I think the temperature was 9 degrees F. I was motivated!!

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Fall Color!!

Years ago, they used to have the run adjacent to a large inside space so you could stay inside where it was warm and when you finished you could go inside and warm up.

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None of that nowadays! The race started in a big open field with a cold wind bearing down direct from the north pole.

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All the slow folks, like me, are bundled up.

Don’t feel sorry for me though. I volunteered to run the race and brought my heated vest that Heather got me for Christmas last year.

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More Fall Color

It worked great. Not only does it warm the body but it also warms your neck and has heated pockets!! So I was warm.

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The route went right by the Route 66 Neon Sign Park.

In fact as the race went on, I turned the heating elements on my vest off.

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Crossing the Arkansas River looking south.

The race went up and down the Arkansas River using the River Parks trail system. I am up for a fast walk up and down the riverparks. I always see something new there.

I finished out of the money but I got a very nice participation medal. I don’t know exactly how I finished in relation to others in my age group for some reason they don’t have a link to the timing company on their web page. I’ve sent an email asking about it.

And the tee shirt. Still a very nice, thick tee shirt.

So I walked the whole way. Nowdays my fast walking pace is only a bit slower than my trotting pace so I just took it easy. Enjoyed myself immensely. I’ll be back next year.

Waterfowl at Oxley Nature Center

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On my recent hike at Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa. I came upon lots of deer but they were skittish and took off and I couldn’t get a clear shot through the underbrush. I also saw a possum but had the same problem. I did come across these birds on a lake paddling around. I didn’t have a very long lens because I was trying for more foliage views than long range photography. I am not sure what kind of birds these are.

I’m linking with Saturday’s Critters. Go check them out!

An Afternoon at Oxley Nature Center

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Wednesday here in Oklahoma started cold, about 29F but it was clear and it warmed up nicely and the skies were clear in the afternoon into the 40’s so I bundled up and drove to north Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center to get some trail time and sunlight.

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I took the trail called the North Woods Loop. I have been on this trail dozens of times over the years and hardly ever see anybody. Today there was nobody at all.

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The air was crisp and the skies were blue. It was late afternoon and the lowering sun illuminated everything perfectly.

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There were lots of dead leaves on the trail which made it hard to walk stealthily.

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The sun was brilliant shining through the remaining leaves leaving an impression almost like stained glass.

It was a great day to be out in the woods.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Cats in the House

Here is Lizzie doing what she does best, napping. She was impatient with us as we put a Christmas quilt on the bed. We were delaying her nap. You can tell she is kind of grumpy about it.

I vacuumed the house yesterday. When I found cat toys underneath furniture I’d vacuum off the dust bunny’s and put them in this tray. She always like to see her toys again. But then she loses them. She’s napping here using a coaster for a pillow. Our vet told us she needed to go on a diet. Only two scoops of kibble per day. She thinks I need to use a bigger scoop.

Here’s LJ chilling. He’s happy, the vet said he could have all the food he wants. He’s kind of old and has kidney problems and he’s loving his new food. He has a lot more energy now.

Here’s LJ with a Hipstamatic Filter. I filters of all types. I unashamedly and unembarrassingly use a lot of them.

That’s it for this week. Check out Saturday’s Critters!

Replacing the Rock City Geocache

I have a couple of geocaches on Turkey Mountain. Periodically they need replaced or checked on when they turn up missing. It’s part of the hobby, taking care of geocaches that you have created. (If you don’t know what geocaching is, please check this link.) It’s basically a hide and seek game where people hide containers in the physical world and post the gps coordinates on geocaching.com for other people to go find them

Rock City is a cache that me, my wife, and son hid in 2011 on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain in a rugged area called Rock City and of course I made a blog post about it.

So I went to Harbor Freight and bought a 30 caliber plastic ammo box. Only cost $4 cuz of being Black Friday. Traditionally one puts trade goods in a cache that other cachers can trade for. So I bought some stuff at Harbor Freight and then went next door to the dollar store and bought a small notebook, a pen, and some kid toys. Lots of people take their kids and it is fun for them to trade for stuff as well.

You need the notebook because you don’t get credit for finding the cache unless you sign a physical log in the cache in addition to recording your find on the geocaching web site.

I put all that stuff in the ammo box and then drove out to Turkey Mountain and headed off down the trail to the site.

Here’s a map. I started out at the parking lot to the south and headed roughly north. You can tell I wibble wobbled the route a little bit. I’m notorious for that. Who just wants to go straight to their destination? Not me! If I see a trail I hadn’t been down in a while, I’ll go check it out. See the red blob at the north (top) end of the map. That’s me looking for the old cache, and figuring out that it was gone then looking for a better place for the replacement cache. And then I wibble wobbled my way back.

So the cache is somewhere in this area. Or an area that looks similar.

Washing Machine

On the way back I passed by this washing machine. It is holy relic on Turkey Mountain. Don’t mess with it! Now the odd thing is that I have studied on this and determined that it is actually a dryer, not a washing machine. People know that but they persist in misnaming it. That’s a common thing on Turkey Mountain. Ponds are called lakes for instance. Why? I have no idea. Same thing with Turkey Mountain. It’s not really a mountain, it’s more like a hill, but I don’t want to start any fights.

So lots of fall colors still on the mountain.

Two and half miles made for a great hike on a halfway warm, autumn day on the mountain.

2022 Thanksgiving Skywatch

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RiverParks painted the storage container at Turkey Mountain. I love it.

It’s Thanksgiving today. This day always brings back floods of memories going back decades.

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Crooked Trees on Turkey Mountain

When I was a kid we would travel frequently to southeastern Idaho. I think my mother was related to half the people there. We would gather at a family member’s ranch near Dubois, Idaho. All sorts of aunts, uncles, cousins and such would be there. Lots of fun for the kids, lots of rest for the men and a huge amount of work for the women.

A twisty turny tree on the mountain.

I’m glad that I have those memories. My parents and everybody in that generation is now gone on my mother’s side of the family.

Sasquatch has moved again.

Over the years since, the Thanksgiving’s have grown and shrunk and changed considerably. Not as much food, not as much work the guys are expected to help out with the cleanup. It’s all good.

Thanksgiving is a time to remember people who are no long with us.

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Our crew from 2016. Sorry for the glare from the window. One of the many reasons I call myself a “picture taker” and not a photographer.

I’ve been married for a long time now and many of my in-laws traditions are now ours. For example I smoke the turkeys and other meats instead of roasting them in the oven.

Also, the moderate weather in Oklahoma compared to Idaho means that there have been some Thanksgiving dinners have been eaten outside.

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Artificial Intelligence generated photo of a Thanksgiving feast.

We’ve all gotten older and cannot eat as much. I confess we use disposable plates to speed up the cleanup.

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Jigsaw puzzle I completed recently.

I wish everyone a great Thanksgiving!!

New Update!! Today’s Thanksgiving Photo

Clockwise from upper left, Me, Logan, brother Bob, wife Heather, and MIL Jeanette

Linking with Skywatch Friday