Skywatch Friday – August Happenings

DSCF0338

The heat is down just a slight bit nowadays so I took a walk around Lafortune Park. I’ve taken around a thousand pictures of the pond with the trees in the background. The water was clear and still and there were some clouds and some decent reflections.

I’ve been launching the drone again from the backyard. This is looking west.

And on another day looking north.

The software on my drone is a bit of a nag and very bossy. Like when our previous president flew into town for his rally the drone wouldn’t even get off the ground. Good thing to as the guy had Air Force One make a slow and low pass over south Tulsa before landing at the airport. I bring it because one recent evening it was pretty dark out but still some color in the sky and the drone wasn’t really in the mood. Said it was too dark so I had to affirm that I was flying at my own risk before it let me send it up. I liked the result.

And on another day it fussed at me again but I still sent it up and got another decent shot.

A1C9C1E4-5776-4D51-AC22-8799113CB45A

And this is not my photo. It is a jigsaw puzzle that I put together on my ipad. It took me weeks to complete. About drove me crazy. What I love though is that there is a tipping point in a puzzle where you have enough pieces down that the remaining pieces go very quickly. My next puzzle is going to be of the Mouton Barn at Grand Teton National Park.

Anyway that’s it for this week! I’m linking with Skywatch Friday – come join the fun!

2022 Tess 5K Trail Run

Last Saturday I got up bright and early and headed out to Turkey Mountain to run the Tess 5K Trail Run sponsored by the Tristesse Grief Center here in Tulsa.

I decided to go ahead and do a video of the start. After I was done videoing I had to loop around the timer’s truck and across the starting line myself.

DSCF0321

A treat for me on this race is that most of it was done on the brand new sustainable trails constructed in the last year. Especially nice was the new trail from the lower parking lot up to the upper level of Turkey Mountain. Those old trails have gotten worse and worse over the years. It got so bad that I hadn’t used them in a long time.

DSCF0322

The new trails are like a super highway through the woods. Another benefit is the chances of getting ticks and chiggers from the grass is way less. Also it is easier to pass other people and there is lots of room for both bicyclists and hikers/runners on the trail.

DSCF0323

Pretty soon I had passed a small bunch of people and was way behind the pack. That’s alright, I was looking for a great hike through the woods. My running days are over. I do admit though on the smooth slightly downhill stretches I did trot a bit. Probably not over three or four hundred yards total.

DSCF0324

And here we split off from the superhighway headed to the left and headed right to one of the legacy trails.

DSCF0325

And up the rock garden after we turned south. I got an impromptu invite to a private geological tour of Turkey Mountain last week. I learned that the trail above is caused by alternating layers of shale and sandstone. As the shale layers dissolve and wash away the brittle sandstone breaks and falls down forming a kind of steps. Yep, the steps are ankle breakers!!

DSCF0326

I also learned the top of Turkey Mountain is 300 million years old and has been submerged and re-emerged under a huge inland sea five times by a combination of tectonic and weathering forces. The guy showed us rocks that used to be sand on a beach and lots of little fossilized shellfish embedded in the rocks. It was amazing.

DSCF0327

Enough geology for now. We made the loop and headed down the superhighway to the finish. All I can say is that I finished vertically. I didn’t place in my age group. Last year I finished first in my age group. Oh well I finished.

It was a great race, it was easy to register and they had lots of volunteers helping out. Timing was by Tatur, the best in the business in my opinion. They had lots of snacks and water for the participants and I think everybody left happy I know I did.

New Belgium Trippel

They didn’t have beer this year so I had one at home later on. In fact I might have had more than one, I’m not sure. They had tshirts but they are mailing me mine as I registered a little too late to actually get a tshirt at the event.

Tess 5K Trail Run

I’ll be back next year, here is my post from the 2021 Tess Trail Run.

A big thank to the Tristesse Grief Center, their staff and volunteers who helped, Tatur Racing, and my fellow racers.

I am linking to My Corner of the World. Check it out!.

Saturday’s Critters – Hummingbirds Finally

We have tried for two years to attract hummingbirds to our backyard. We get occasional visits but no repeats. After several months this summer, my wife finally took the feeder down, cleaned it out, and left it sitting on a table on our patio. Then I was looking out the window and saw a hummingbird to trying to use the feeder. It was persistent so we prepared some more nectar and hung it up.

DSCF0135

And now they are coming back. In two days my trailcam picked up twenty-nine photos and videos of the tiny little birds. Don’t worry I’m not posting all twenty -today.

Just one photo and one video. But hey I’m happy!

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

Shadow Shot Sunday – Mystery Shadows

I was geocaching at a clinic’s gardens in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma when I came upon this sculpture. I thought, “interesting” and snapped the pic and moved on with my task.

I found what I was looking for and noticed the walkway circling the sculpture and saw roman numeral numbers, then the light went on in my head! The sculpture is a giant sundial and is keeping almost perfect time. Eureka. I love figuring out stuff like that.

I’m linking with Shadow Shot Sunday II – come check it out.

A Tour of Tulsa’s Lubell Park

Last week after walking the new trails at Bales Park in west Tulsa, I drove ovder to nearby Lubell Park to check out their new trails. Their trails new to me but they had the grand opening on the new trails in October 2021. Before that they were hand cut trails by volunteers. The new trails were put in by the professionals at Rogue Trails out of Arkansas. The same people working on the Bales Park Trails.

DSCF0310

I’ve only been to Lubell one time before to find a geocache. What Lubell was mainly known for up until the new trails was the number and aggressiveness of their ticks.

DSCF0313

Ticks no more on these big wide, sustainable, cool trails. At least I didn’t get any (I use tick spray whenever I am in the woods.)

DSCF0314

The trails are pretty cool. The project was sponsored by a local bicycle club and so the trails kind of cater to mountain bikes but they are perfectly hikable. These are the only mountain bike trails that I have seen in Tulsa that I think I would be okay with riding my bike on. Smooth, no steeps ups and downs, and doable turns. The new trails at Turkey Mountain and Bales are pretty cool but I don’t have the skillz necessary to ride them successfully. At my age, gravity is not friend! Can I get an Amen?

And they have some interesting features such as this shelter.

DSCF0312

These look like thrones to me. Lubeell is integrated into the surrounding neighborhood such that some people have gates in the fences that open into the park. That is where I found these.

And they had several cairns or stacked rocks. I used to think they were cool but they don’t really go with a leave no trace vibe. They are not much of a problem in Oklahoma but some parts of the country are getting overrun with these and are technically illegal in National Parks.

The east boundary fence appears to be a deer proof fence. I noticed a deer feeder on the other side. Notice the greenery. It is lespedeza, a noxious plant introduced to the United States from Asia in the 1890 and was widely used as a cover on non-productive soils. The problem is that it takes over and deer and livestock won’t eat it. I hate the stuff.

Moving on, near the end of the trail there are some nice obstacles mainly for bikes. I walked the little maze above.

More fun for bicycles.

And Tulsa has these things all over town. They are tornado sirens and many of them seem to be too big for the wooden pole that supports it and they are bending over at ever increasing angles. They send out three types of alarms. Tornados and chemical releases get a three minute monotone. Then there is a three minute wavering tone used only for nuclear attacks. So if you happen to be in Tulsa and those goes off, best just to kiss yourself goodbye. I remember in grade school in the early 1960’s we were told to get under out desks in case of nuclear attack. The third signal is a three minute high low tone. That is a flooding alert.

Sorry I digress, again. Here is a short video showing my hike at Lubell.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday – go check it out!!

Badlands by C.J. Box

I received an advanced readers copy of the paperback version of Badlands, by C.J. Box. Ironically, I was reading a hardback copy from the library of the same novel.

This book features Cassie Dewell, a brand new Deputy Sheriff in Grimstad, North Dakota. Right in the middle of the Bakken Field, one of the biggest oil plays in history. Grimstad is a boom town. Housing is short, Walmart doesn’t have time to shelve their goods, they just put boxes in the middle of the aisle and let the customers paw through them for what they need.

Grimstad is an oilfield town with drillers and pipeliners working long days. It is also a town where a gang from California wants in on the local drug business and they are ruthlessly getting rid of the competition. Cassie’s job is find out what is going on.

Grimstad is also home to young Kyle Westergaard. A “slow” boy who delivers papers to help his mom out. During one of his paper runs early in the morning Kyle witnesses something he shouldn’t have and takes something that gets him in trouble as the gang is after him now. Cassie Dewell has to fight the Sheriff’s Department and the gangs to save Kyle and his mother.

I loved this book. It came out in 2015 when the Bakken was at its peak in oil activity and the cities and towns did not have the infrastructure and it was kind of a zoo. Box doesn’t exaggerate the burden the activity put on the town and portrays accurately the crews who did the well drilling, fracking, and laid pipelines. I strongly recommend this book.

Saturday’s Critters – Cats and Others

I got Covid the first day of this month. Bummer but I am quadruple vaccinated and in good health so I just stayed home and isolated during my recovery.

Our cat Lizzie would sneak upstairs from time to time to say hello. She is not a cat that likes to be held but she likes being petted.

So she would come and say hello and I’d give a few scratches and pets and then off she would go until the next day or so.

It’s one reason we like to have our critters with us.

And I’m doing fine. I didn’t have a severe case but I still have the old covid cough but have got my energy bike and am hiking and riding my bicycle.

I think we have more cottontails kits in the backyard. Mom has been hanging out under the bench and doesn’t leave when we approach.

It has been very hot so I haven’t felt like mowing the yard. They sometimes stash their kits in holes dug in the grass. I’ve run over them a few times in the past. Never injured them but I can’t imagine the trauma from having a noisy lawnmower blade just an inch or so from your head. So now the grass is really tall. I’ll have to face the music soon and mow it, and I dread it.

We continue to have midnight visitors.

I’m linking up with all the animal lovers at Eileen’s Saturday’s Critters. Go check it out.

A Sneak Peak the new Trails at Bales Park in Tulsa

DSCF0280

We’ve had days of over 100F heat for quite a while now. When the weather gets you down you have to learn how adjust if you don’t want to end up spending all summer on the dreadmill at the gym or mall walking. Me, I am getting up earlier and getting out before it is too hot.

DSCF0283

Back in March of this year the City of Tulsa Parks Department announced that they had a grant to build some trails at Bales Park. Bales Park is right across a four lane highway from Turkey Mountain and there has been some talk of connecting the two trail systems.

DSCF0285
The signs and netting were down on the ground so I figured I was good to go.

I saw on Strava that a friend of mine checked out the trails so I thought I would. I think they are having a soft opening while they do finishing touches.

DSCF0288

Downtwon Tulsa from the trail at Bales Park looking north. The highway department is redoing the intersection shown in the foreground. Rumor has it that they are making it so that Bales Park and Turkey Mountain can interconnect.

DSCF0289

Turn 90 degrees to your right and look east. That is Turkey Mountain right across the road. Oh well time to move on.

DSCF0292

The trails that city is building using Rogue Trails as a contractor look a lot like the recent trails built on Turkey Mountain. An emphasis on shedding water to avoid erosion and making the trails “flowy” back and forth and up and down, side to side.

DSCF0299

Sure the flowy parts are for the mountain bikes but they are good trails to hike on as well and they will last longer and require less maintenance.

DSCF0298

The trails go deep into Bales Park in areas where I doubt many people have been Lots of big oak and hickory trees there.

DSCF0295

It’ll provide a great alternative to Turkey Mountain which on weekend afternoons can get crowded in the parking lots. Although, you get a quarter mile down any of the trails you are basically by yourself on the busiest of days.

DSCF0294

Today, it was just me. And an equipment operator from Rogue building trail.

DSCF0296

I gave him a wide berth. Supposedly there will be about 3 plus miles of trail. I made it to just over two miles today.

DSCF0304

I didn’t see any critters besides a few squirrels and birds. Despite being early in the day it was still kind of hot.

DSCF0303

I’m very happy about this latest addition to the Tulas Trail scene. The Gilcrease museum up in north Tulsa is raising funds to build an extensive trail system on property they have adjacent to the museum and connect their trail to the Katy Rails to Trail system which connects to the Tulsa River Parks system (as does Turkey Mountain’s trails). I love interconnected trails.

DSCF0305

I think the city is having a grand opening set for sometime in August or so for their new trails. I am not into crowds so I’ll just be happy with the mini grand opening I treated myself to today. I do think that the people of Tulsa will be happy with the new trails at Bales Park.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Check it out!!

2022 Photo Contest Entries

My former employer has a photo contest every year and they let retirees enter it. It’s always a lot of fun. I have a talented group of former coworkers who make great photographs and I have been lucky enough to win some awards over time as well.

This is what I submitted this year. I don’t think it is my best year but hey we’ll see what happens.

TM004

This is Logan Lake at the YMCA on Turkey Mountain. I submitted it in the “Landscape” category.

And this is Rascal when he graduated from Physical Therapy. It was hilarious they put a cap and tassel on him and the little ham posed. This is in the “Flora and Fauna” category.

This is a scene from the Arkansas delta country last year as we returned home from our vacation on the Gulf Coast.

And this is the Union Pacific Big Boy Locomotive at one of its stops in northeast Oklahoma. I love this shot but I doubt my previous employer will want to use anything that was part of another company’s promotion campaign. This is the “People” category.

This is a tribute to the Choctaw Code Talkers of World War I and II. This is in the “Our Company Values” category.

IMG_2739

And this is the moon. I entered it in the “Creative” category as I always edit my moon shots to make the details stand out.

So there you go. You get an advance look. I think all these shots have been in my blog the past year. Wish me luck!!