Author Archives: Alan Bates

Skywatch Friday – New Trail Progressing on Turkey Mountain

A new trail is being built on Turkey Mountain. Designed and constructected by the firm Progressive Trail Design out of Bentonville, Arkansas, it is the first professionally designed trail on Turkey Mountain. The rest were built by the users and followed old game trails, jeep tracks, oilfield roads, and the builders’ whims. This new trail is designed to last and be low maintenance and sustainable. They finally got started a couple weeks ago and have been making good progress. I went out there recently to check it out.

It looks very nice and “flowy.” People, especially mountain bikers like the smooth back and forth and up and downs. It’s apparent that it will primarily be a mountainbike trail and I’m just going to have faith that it will work out for non bikers as well.

It’s not open yet they have blazed a trail but the surface is still unfinished. They don’t want anybody on it until they are done and the surface is suitable for sustained use. (I stayed off the trail except at designated crossing points where it crosses existing trail.)

A banked turn. Lots of work before this is finished.

I paralleled the new trail on existing trails until I heard the sound of the trackhoe they were using to move the rocks and other heavy work involved. I went a little further until I saw the crew through the trees and that is as close as I got.

So I am very excited about all this.

About as excited as this tree I found while scouting out the trail.

Any you know it’s getting to be Christmas song. I love this new song my Carrie Underwood, “The Stretchy Pants Song.” My wife, who is also an exercise instructor, has been using it in some of her classes and her students love it.

I am linking this to Skywatch Friday. Come join us!!

Tanyard Creek – Bella Vista, Arkansas

On the last day of our trip to Bentonville, Arkansas, Heather and I ventured up to Bella Vista to check what’s up there.

_DSC0274-2

I’d scoped out the Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in advance and we decided to give it a try.

It is gorgeous. A networked trail system built and maintained by volunteers. It is very nice. Very walker/hiker friendly because they don’t allow mountain bikes on many of the paths. The mountain bikers are not ignored as there are other trails they can use on the property.

The fall color was mainly gone but the creek is very nice. There is a series of waterfalls coming off a dam and the creek goes for quite a ways on the property.

There were other people there but the site is big enough to give everybody some space. I saw hardly any litter scattered around. Kudos to the park users for picking up after themselves.

The signage is outstanding. They identify many of the trees, plants and shrubs on site. They also identify a lot of the cultural history of the land such as places where Native Americans used to shelter way back when, and fragments of farms and houses from the settlers who arrived later. I would have missed most of the cultural items without the signage.

It was an enjoyable two mile jaunt. The place is loaded with geocaches also if you are into that. Heather is not so we didn’t look. I have an app on my phone that chirps when I get within 55 feet or so of a cache and my phone was chirping like crazy. We didn’t look for any though.

I got home and searched the area for caches boy howdy it is full of them. Oh well, next time.

Tanyard Creek doesn’t get the press that nearby Bentonville does and their amazing network of trails but there are lot less people and you don’t run the risk of getting run over by enthusiastic mountain bikers doing there thing.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday. Come check it out.

Thanksgiving 2021

Pumpkin Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!!

DSCF0354

We’ve had big Thanksgivings and smaller ones, especially with this pandemic we have been having. This year is a smaller one. A big treat is that we are having Thanksgiving on Wednesday with my brother at his Assisted Living Center. I’m looking forward to that.

It will just be a few of us on Thanksgiving Day. As our waistlines have expanded, we have downsized the meal. We don’t have the appetites we used to have anyway. We use disposable plates for the meal so nobody gets stuck with the dishes.

philbrook 08

We’ll be counting our blessings as well. We have lots to be thankful for.

I’m wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday, come join in!!

The Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel

_DSC0257-2

My wife and I made a weekend trip to Bentonville, Arkansas for a short getaway. On our last day we ventured up to nearby Bella Vista and checked out the “Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel.” A non-denominational wedding chapel. Hit the link above for more information. Check here for historical information on who Mildred B. Cooper was.

_DSC0272-2

It was designed by E. Fay Jones along with his partner Maurice Jennings. Jones also designed the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs and the Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel near Kansas City, Missouri. I’ve been fortunate enough to see both chapels. Hit the links for my blog posts on those structures. Jones was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright and the architecture school at the University of Arkansas bears his name, the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design.

_DSC0270-2

The Cooper Chapel is like the others. It is light, airy, and appears to float in the air. There are fifteen main arches, each 50 feet tall. In all 31 tons of steel were used and support 4640 square feet of glass.

_DSC0271-2

It is open to the public every day unless it is booked for an event.

_DSC0269-2
_DSC0273-2
My wife inside the main entrance

It sits on a wooded knoll high above a lake. It is an incredible structure.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Autumn Colors at Woodward Park

Tuesday was a very warm day here in Tulsa. After my yoga class I headed up close to downtown to Woodward Park. Lots and lots of trees here and tons of fall color. So I just wandered around.

Maria Tallchief

I stopped by the Five Moons, Oklahoma’s Native American ballerinas. In the last century these five women, Maria Tallchief, Marjorie Tallchief, Yvonne Chouteau, Rosella Hightower, and Moscylene Larkin were at the top of the ballet world. Hit the link above to find out more. The sculptures are actually on the grounds of the Tulsa History Museum which is adjacent to Woodward Park.

I also stopped by “Appeal to the Great Spirit” to check him out. I love this sculpture. It used to be in a local high school until they tore the school down and the statue was moved to Woodward Park.

Lots of brilliant fall color on disply.

I love this blast of yellow as seen from the shadows.

A similar effect here.

And here is shrub bursting with sunlight.

Stopped by my favorite sculpture of all time. “Poems and Promises” by Rosalind Cook. I used the Hipstamatic and Snapseed App on this.

By now I was getting hungry and I was close to downtown so I headed off to the Arts District.

I got some coneys from James Coney Island. It’s been in Tulsa for over a hundred years. I get them with cheese, chili, and onions and add a healthy splash of hot sauce and pepper them chili powder. Don’t knock it until you try it.

They sky was clear Tuesday night so I took this shot. It’s the Beaver Moon at 93% waxing gibbous so not quite full.

I hope everybody is having a great week!! I”ll be linking with Skywatch Friday, come check it out!!

Playing MacGyver out in the Woods

MacGyver was a television show back in the 1980’s and1990’s that featured a private eye who improvised all sorts of tools to get him and his friends out of bad situations.

Friday I started down this trail in south Tulsa. I was looking for a geocache with multiple steps that promised that one would have to use some MacGyver skills to find. I was sorely prepared. All I had with me was a pen. I even left my swiss army knife home. In other words you have to find intermediate steps before you get the cache. These are called multi-caches. I started on this one in August of 2020 but couldn’t find the first step. The cache owner (“CO”) gave me a clue. I held off until Friday. With the clue I found the first step. It had a device that if properly worked would give me the second stage.

Taking the results I walked another half mile and the coordinates I had would put the second stage in the middle of a gated apartment community. Oops!! So I walked the half mile back to the first step and checked my manipulations and yep, I messed up.

So off I went bushwhacking through the woods. November is a great time for bushwhacking. August, no so much. I ended up finding the second stage. I could see the container but I could not get to it so I had to improvise using what was available at hand. I’m not showing the details out of courtesy to the cache owner and other people who go look for it. Anyway, my improvisation worked and I had to go bushwhacking a long ways to go not very far.

This isn’t the cache but I thought it was. It is a very heavy battery abandoned out in the woods. It’s too heavy to carry out so I am trying to figure out how to get it out to a recycling center. It still has lead in it which is awful for the environment. So I am pondering what to do about this.

I did find the container but I needed a code to open it. The CO sent me the code because I was too much of a simpleton to figure it out on my own. Then even with the code I had too look up on youtube how to open the thing. I am not showing the container, again out of courtesy to the owners of the cache. The video shows everything in the area of the cache, except for the cache.

I opened it up and looked at the log and I was surprised to see that I was the first person since 2017 to find the thing. In fact there have been only three finders since 2014. I love caches like this.

Number 2008 for me, but who is counting?

I am linking with Our World Tuesday. Come join in!!

Curious about geocaching? Check out this short video.

Philbrook Reflections

philbrook 13

I was at Tulsa Philbrook Museum Gardens checking out the fall foliage when I noticed some crystal balls hanging in one of the trees. So I went to check them out.l

philbrook 14

They had hung all these balls in the lower branches. I loved them. I think they are for the Christmas holidays.

DSCF0038-adjust

I had my lensball with me so I made a crystal photo of a crystal. I love garden decorations.

I’m linking with Weekend Reflections. Come check it out!

Skywatch Friday – Restoring Equilibrium

Lafortune Park – I love the smudged cloud skies.

Last week was the busiest I have been in a while. I helped out at the Leave No Trace event here in Tulsa so I was there for most of it. Not that big a deal really, about four or five hours a day so don’t feel sorry for me but it was a lot to me.

Wild Turkeys hanging out on Turkey Mountain at the YMCA where the Leave No Trace Account was held. They Turkeys were there every day.

It started Wednesday and ended Saturday. Lots and lots of good stuff happened and I was glad to be a small part of it.

Oxley Nature Center

The way I recover from stress is to head back to nature. Sunday night I went to Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center. They close the gate at 5 pm so I parked outside the gate and climbed over the fence. (Totally legal folks!!) One of the people I met at the event told me where to find the river otters at Oxley. That got my attention!! I have never seen one in the wild. (Spoiler alert, I still haven’t seen one.)

_DSC0203

It was beautiful, the sun was getting low and the leaves were glowing.

_DSC0187

There is nothing like a lonely trail through the woods.

_DSC0197

I didn’t find the otters but I found a few deer including this one who posed for me.

DSCF0004

The next evening I went back to Turkey Mountain. Not too many people in what is called the back country when the sun starts going down.

DSCF0006

I found this deer and a few of his siblings and mom. I just had my point and shoot with me and this is the only photo I got. I have gotten pretty good at figuring out where the deer are in the evening on the mountain and how they move.

DSCF0017

The sun was going down and the trees were putting on a show.

DSCF0022

Sunset near what is called Rock City.

DSCF0011

At some point the color is going to get a little better and then we’ll get a big wind and all those trees will be on the ground.

DSCF0007

And again, give me a trail through the woods anytime.

So how do you recharge the batteries?

Come join party at Skywatch Friday. Lots of talented people there.