Skywatch at Tulsa’s Gathering Place

Last week before the weather got bad son Logan and I had a walk at Tulsa’s Gathering Place. One of my favorite spots is the sensory garden. All sorts of fun stuff here including mirrors and a geocache.

We checked out one of the play towers. When there are no kids around I have been known to climb up into these things. We just looked at it today.

And the beach. Too cold for anything beach related besides taking photos.

And the small lake, not much happening there.

I love the big timbers holding up the elevated trails. They have trails going this way and that and some of them cross over others. It’s quite the maze. Fun though!!

I violated a photography rule by shooting into the sun. I also got a crooked pic. Somehow, it worked for me.


And the roof the boat dock.


And then we ventured over to the nearby Arkansas River where the a new dam and pedestriana bridge are being built. The stuff in the foreground is where a new kayak park is going in. All this is going to be ready late next year.


And we saw two Cats.


And a Deer!!


Nope, this is not in Tulsa. I finished another jigsaw puzzle on my ipad. This one kicked my butt pretty good. I’m getting to where I like the tough ones.

If you want to visit the Gathering Place check out their web site. It’s free!! Bring money for drinks and food but you don’t need tickets or anything. Just come on down. Tell them I sent you.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday. Check it out. You’ll like it. I promise.

Ode to the Silent Generation

Mom in the background, Me with the Smokey Bear, Dad, and brother Bob. Lower Pecos District Ranger Station, Santa Fe National Forest. Part of a photo shoot by Forest Service.

My mom and dad and their contemporaries were members of the Silent Generation.

My mother in the Forest Service camp 1947 plus or minus.

Born between the mid 1920’s and the mid 1940’s. They grew up during the Great Depression and World War II (which many fought in) and it marked their generation. Dad was a US Army MP at the War Crimes Trials in Japan during the Occupation after the war.

No idea who these guys are

Traditional values, financial prudence (boy howdy my parents had that!) interpersonal respect, determination, resilience, work ethic, self sacrfice, define this generation according to They were also social on steroids. You don’t find too many “Silents” hunched over the phone updating their status.

Dad took lots of photos of people.

They formed clubs and had parties and celebrated a lot. When I was a kid it was nothing for us to just load up in a car and “drop in” unannounced on another family and often stay for hours. Can you imagine that happening today?


The black and white photos are from negatives that my sister gave me recently of photos my dad shot in a forest service camp in northern Idaho.


My parents met at such a camp. I think they spent most of their time socializing and not as much time doing blister rust control projects (blister rust is a fungus that kills white pine trees.)

A bus stuck in the snow out in the middle of nowhere., 1947, Northern Idaho.

Everybody looks exuberent and happy. Living in tents for months at a time. Nowadays there would be congressional investigations of the living conditions.


After his time in the camp, dad graduated with a forestry degreee from the University of Idaho and accepted a Junior Forest Ranger job in Happy Jack, Arizona near Flagstaff. He wrote mom a letter with a marriage proposal. She accepted by telegram and in short order quit her job at Gonzaga University and took a bus from Washington State to Flagstaff. Dad met her at the bus station and took her to a friend’s house where a justice of the peace married them. Dad then drove them out to Happy Jack where they lived in the house above.


Eventually they moved to New Mexico where I was born, and we lived in the Pecos Ranger Station where the first photo of this post and moved is from to the little village of Coyote. No public schools, so brother Bob stayed with a family in Santa Fe and attended school there. And then we moved to Payson, Arizona. Neat thing was, see the government house we lived in Coyote. We moved into an exact copy of it in Payson. Forest Service housing!! I got lots of memories of Coyote. Dad was out of state fighting forest fires one time and mom put a sewing machine needle through a fingernail. Pulled the needle out herself with a pair of pliers. That was something to remember.


Nobody cared, at least my brother and I didn’t. I’m sure my parents worried plenty but they kept it from us.

I have no idea where this photo was taken.

Later on our sister Ellen joined the family. We moved around little towns a few more times and then dad got transferred to Albuquerque. Whew!! I knew from when I was about six years old that I was a city kid. Sure, it was neat having a dad who was a Forest Ranger and we saw and did lots of neat stuff but give me the city to live in anytime.

Anyway, the Silent Generation is disappearing. Go hug a Silent if you can find one.

Skywatch Friday – Cloudy Day Exploration


The forecast for Tuesday was snow starting late in the morning. I decided to skip my yoga class and go for a hike while the hiking was good. Turkey Mountain had closed their trails though and so I went over to nearby Bales Park to see if I could find the future connector pathway between Bales and Turkey Mountain. The two parks are separated by a freeway US 75 but I heard the highway department was going to put in a “shelf” or something on an overpass that could be used for a trail.

Bales Park was empty, one other vehicle when I got there so I took off on their recently constructed trail. Bales has some of the most picturesque trees in Tulsa. I just love their shapes. The sky is kind of bleh but that’s okay. It is what it is.


I love the Bales Park wicket. I can see future trail runs here with maybe this the start and finish gate.


I meandered up the Ridge Trail that runs parallel to US 75.

I got to the vista at the top where three trails converge. You can also get a view of downtown Tulsa way off in the distance. I actually felt sorry for my former coworkers who are slaving away down there making sure that we have enough energy to power the economy, and provide a return to the shareholders but mostly to keep those pension payments coming!!


So I headed north along this old road, not on the designated trail. True Confessions. I was looking for a way to cut under US75 where it meets I44. But I ended up having to go off trail.


I got to me destination. The Feds are financing the construction of a new interchange at US 75 and I 44. All of Oklahoma’s congressmen are hurrahing the project. What they don’t say is that they all voted against it. But enough of that.


So I found where the new trail cuts under US 75. It’s almost like a road. Really nice.


So I got over to the other side of US 75 where the YMCA is and followed a trail there. They have put a disc golf course up. YMCA’s are multitaskers!! It looks like they leased a site for a billboard at the same location.


I couldn’t tarry so I didn’t spend too much time on the east side of US 75 so I doubled back across the trail under the freeway.


And back to Bales Park. I love the trees there. I hardly ever see anybody at Bales Park. On Martin Luther King’s birthday, Turkey Mountain’s parking lots were jam packed. My wife and I went to Bales Park and didn’t hardly see anybody the whole time we were there. I saw literally nobody today.


Lots of gray sky and beautiful trees though. That’s Turkey Mountain in the background.

So I see how they are going to connect Bales Park and Turkey Mountain via the YMCA. The freeway interchange construction is at a pause right now and I don’t know when they are starting back up but I don’t see the trail connections being made until the interchange is complete. Obviously I went across and anybody else can but there is really no trails to connect to on either side. Not everybody is going to be willing to overland it like I did.

Here is a map of my adventure. Only about two miles but a million miles of fun.

And a little video.

And a slick map from Garmin showing my travels. If you don’t map your adventures did they really even happen?

It’s Skywatch Friday time. My skies are gray but hey can’t all be blue skies or dramatic storm clouds. Gray clouds are part of the as well.

Turkey Mountain Trail Work Day

group turkey mountain workday
Photo from TUWC facebook page

Early this past Sunday morning close to fifty volunteers showed up in the freezing cold to do a variety of projects on the trails of Turkey Mountain. They did everything from reclaiming old trails to building new trails to repairing erosion damage on trails. We all got divided into teams and off we went. The project was put on jointly by the RiverParks Authority and the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition.


I was on a trail reclamation team. The park has lots of up and down trails which is just lousy for trying to control erosion damage. Plus the up and down trails intersect a new high speed mountainbike trail running back and forth across the cliff faces. Mixing glorified social trails with high speed black rated mountainbike trails is not good. So this project addressed a safety issue as well.


Reclaming the trails is basically putting debris such as fallen logs and brush on the trail and raking leaves onto it. The effect is startling when you are done. The trail vanishes.


Some trails you have to do several times as some people resist losing their favorite trail. What happens though is that without people and bicycles causing further damage, the old trail heal themselves.

Here is a reclaimed trail. The old yellow trail, it was replaced by a brand new trail off to the right designed and built to be sustainable and will shed water of the side of the trail instead of the water running down the trail.

We were done by 1 PM or so. Everybody was tired but satisfied by all the projects that got done that day. We had refreshments and people went on their way. Check out the TUWC’s facebook page for a bunch more photos from the days work.

Turkey Mountain cleanup - Bob
from a post by the Tulsa Riverparks Authority on facebook

Some serendiptiy earlier in the day. In a facebook post publicizing the event, The River Parks authority posted a photo from a work day from years ago. My brother Bob is in the photo off the right. I remember when he lived with us a short while he helped out in a cleanup one day. I thought that was kind of cool.

Linking with My Corner of the World

Saturday’s Critters – More Kodi

Kodi, our little Pomeranian is continuing to grow. He is still very small though. He is wearing a cat harness because the smallest of dog harnesses is too big for him. The way he is eating though he’ll be larger before we know it.

He loves playing outside in our backyard.

Kodi the Joey in his pouch
We call him Kodi the Joey when he is in the pouch

We bought a pouch for him to take him on neighborhood walks. He loves seeing the sights and hearing the sounds especially barks from other dogs we encounter during out outings.

He’s a lot of fun.

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

Skywatch Friday – Sunny Skies

View from my brother’s hospital room.

Sunny weather this past week for the most part which suits my present mood. My brother got sick in late December and has had quite a journey but is getting released tomorrow to go back to his home. The whole family is happy.

A front porch skywatch photo. A cousin called it the Pythagoras Sky.

Another front porch sky.

Trees close to the parking lot of my brother’s hospital. I love the sight of trees in winter.

And a view of a sunset through the glass blocks of my gym.

Linking to Skywatch Friday

Camera Obscura on Greenwood Avenue

A friend of mine who is a retired college professor in the Oklahoma City area posted a link on facebook about a Camera Obscura installation in the Greenwood Area of Tulsa right in the middle of “Black Wall Street” being built by current professor. I decided to go check it out so last Saturday I went down and followed the signs to the third floor offices of the president of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce. The office had the windows masked over except for a small hole in which was placed a lens of five or six inches in diameter. The amazing thing was that there was image on the other side of the room projected on rolls of paper and the sides of the room.

I used my phone to take a photo of the image.

It was an upside down and flipped sideways image of the scene across the street. I was inside a giant camera! It was amazing. I stood there astounded as the professor, Mark Zimmerman, a photography professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, explained what was happening. This is the earliest form of photography, first started in 500 to 1000 AD. Of course nothing is recorded unless one traces the drawings.

And here is the flipped image. I should have flipped it again left to right. Professor Zimmerman explained that our eyes see upside down and flipped images but our brain does the correctionso for us when it gets the images from the eyes.

Here is an article from Petapixle, with photos and videos showing how Professor Zimmerman made a camera obscura in his classroom.

Here is a link to the Tulsa World article about the installation.

And below is a YouTube video on how to make your own.

So seeing a Camera Obscura was my wow moment this past week.

I am linking with “My Corner of the World.”