Category Archives: Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Hot Summer Hike

I was up on Turkey Mountain Tuesday afternoon, watering the Monarch Way Station. A nursery had donated some plants to us on Saturday and we planted and watered them that day. It’s been scorching since so I watered them again. Still hot. Fortunately I have pretty good place to watch the watering, and the goings on in the main parking lot. Took me about an hour to do and I decided to go on a short hike.

I drove up to the upper parking lot and took off to what some call the “back country” to the northwest. Not near as many people that way. I saw two mountain bikers and another hiker during my trek. I used a combination of new trails including the above, and…

the older trails which still hold most of the mystery of Turkey Mountain to me. I can feel the history on Turkey Mountain. It’s had farmers, cattlemen, oilfield roughnecks and drillers, moonshining, and up until the cartels put them out of business, meth labs. I still think that there is a lot of monkey business goes on.

I was checking out the trees, many of them are wild and twisted. The competitive forces of nature at work.

Nature is just awesome. Below is the route I took.

And now a bonus section courtesy of NASA. It is the clearest view of Neptune us earthlings have seen since the Voyager 2 satellite moseyed by in 1989. This was shot with the James Webb Space Telescope.

New Webb Image Captures Clearest View of Neptune’s Rings in Decades
Photo courtesy of  NASA, ESA, CSA, STSc under a Creative Commons License. Click on photo to get the details.

It is shot in near infrared light so it is not as blue as previous images. You can see the rings (Neptune has rings? Now I know). And 14 moons!!!

Skywatch Friday – the Moon and More

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We had a Full Corn Moon last week paired up with a crystal clear sky.

And some more clear skies on a day when I sneaked onto the new Bales Park trails here in Tulsa. They are putting up a fancy rustic wicket over the trail.

They have a nice boardwalk over a marshy area.

And Bales Park has an overlook to downtown Tulsa not very far away. That land across the freeway to the right is the very northwest end of Turkey Mountain. Nice to have two great public areas so close together. The highway department is redoing a freeway interchange at the center left of the photo. As part of the work the highway guys are putting in a bench to be used as a trail connector between Bales Park and Turkey Mountain. It was a big enough deal that US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg came to town and made a press conference at the interchange to talk about the project as part of a project to reconnect parts of Tulsa that have been semi-isolated since the 1950’s. Here is the link to an article about it. Hilarious because Oklahoma’s Representatives and Senators all voted against the project and now they are all taking credit for it.

And switching gears, here is photo that is not mine.

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Jigsaw puzzle – not my photo

Another jigsaw puzzle on my ipad. I think of Monument Valley. I am not sure.

Fiery Skies in Tulsa

We’ve had some pretty good sunsets in Tulsa lately. Late day weather helps with the clouds in the western sky. One evening I launched my drone and went up about 50 meters. Not much wind which is rare for Oklahoma.

Another day I was taking son somewhere and we had good skies so I was taking shots as I safely could while driving. This is from our house looking west.

And at our church a little later.

And the drive home.

Another day I had to get my car serviced. We live only 0.8 miles from the mechanic so if the weather is good I walk back home. So this is an early morning shot to the east. I have to confess that since I have retired I have not seen very many sunrises.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday. Check it out, lots of great posts there.

Skywatch Friday – Oklahoma and Wyoming

Below is not my photo. This is a jigsaw puzzle I did on my Ipad of the Mouton Barn at Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. This may be the most photographed barn in the world!!

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I’ve always loved Mormon Row, it reminds me of a ranch that my aunt and uncle had in Idaho not that far from this scene in Wyoming. The closed up barn with great patina. The brutal winters mean not too many windows.

Moulton Barn Mormon Row October 2019

This is a photo I made a few years ago. Just looking at how the west barn eave cuts into the tree line I think I was standing just 10 to 20 feet west of where the person who took the photo for the puzzle was standing.

And while we are loosely of the subject of architecture. Above is a photo of Westhope here in Tulsa. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I think it is one of only three of his designs in Oklahoma. I knew of it but had never chased it down until last week when I did a geocaching AdventureLab focusing on oil millionaires houses in Tulsa.

And this is from a bike ride I did earlier this week in Tulsa. The river is the Arkansas River and the hill across the river is Turkey Mountain. An Urban Wilderness in the middle of Tulsa.

And here is the monarch waystation I help take care of on Turkey Mountain.

And a couple of sky photos from a hike at Oxley Nature Center.

And a shot of a prairie at Oxley.

And a drone shot from our backyard in south Tulsa looking west toward the sunset.

That’s all I got this week. I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Come check it out!!

Skywatch Friday – August Happenings

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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.

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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!

A Sneak Peak the new Trails at Bales Park in Tulsa

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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!!

Skywatch Friday

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We had a break the other day with unrelenting heat and cloudless skies so I launched my drone from the back yard. These were rainless clouds but hey they shaded us a little bit. This is looking northeast from about 50 meters high.

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And looking straight west. Not a drop of rain in them.

"Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church"

I went downtown for some reason and ended up going by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church across the freeway from downtown. I love the domes that are on the Orthodox churches.

Tulsa Fire Station 4

And just down the street is Tulsa Fire Station 4 which is located right on Route 66 as it goes through town. They had a spiffy new (to me) Route 66 sign that I thought was cool. I posted it on Instagram and on a facebook Route 66 sign. Somebody from out of state asked if that was the only Tulsa fire station on Route 66. So I checked and no, there is one other Tulsa Station Fire Station.

Tulsa Fire Station 66, way out in city limits but in the country on Route 66. They call themselves “The Keepers of the Mother Road.” I thought I knew all the Tulsa US 66 attractions and no I didn’t. Check out their facebook page. They like people to come by and visit if they are not doing anything and host all sorts of school and other groups.

One of the things I do is water the monarch waystation on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain. I went up there Wednesday morning and it had rained!! Not much of a rain but it soaked the parking lot. I didn’t feel much like watering after it rained plus the park had a contractor there laying down sod and I felt that they would probably be wanting to use the water tap and hose that I would be using so I just plugged and abandoned the project (oilfield lingo for giving up) and decided to go hiking. I’ll be back in a few days.

I went by one of the small lakes on Turkey Mountain on my hike. Something about skies and woods reflected on water really attracts me.

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Earlier this week I went on another bike ride on the RiverParks trails. I stopped and inspected the progress on the new pedestrian bridge and dam. Going pretty darn slow is what I think but I got a shot of the crane.

NASA’s Webb Sheds Light on Galaxy Evolution, Black Holes

And this is a photo from NASA from the new James Webb telescope that is taking some spectacular images of space. Click on the photo and you’ll get a description of what you are looking at. I’m still in the stage of just looking at the imagery, the text dulls the mind. (Sorry). They are letting everybody use the pics under a liberal creative commons license. Awesomeness is what I think.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Mountain Memories

I’ve been laid up lately so I haven’t been taking any skywatch photos. So what does any self respecting blogger do in such a case? Of course they go to the archives. So here are some photos from a family trip to Idaho and Wyoming back in 2012

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This is the back end of a thunderstorm that went through swan valley. The whole sky opened up in a deluge that lasted maybe two or three minutes and then it was over. The deluge was still happening it was just moving toward Wyoming quickly.

We were stopped at a store at Rainey Creek, Idaho. They sell square ice cream in many different flavors, and ours is huckleberry. I strongly recommend it.

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Later in the day, we got to the Grand Teton National Park. We went to Mormon Row home of the most photographed barns in the world. The Mouton barns.

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They were some bison there munching away on the tasty grass.

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We had gone there to visit my father. Here we are on Teton Pass that afternoon.

Anyway, thanks for letting me do the blast from the past. It brings back lots of great memories.

Come check out Skywatch Friday. Lots of talented bloggers post their best work there.

I got cleared by my doctor today to go out and about so next week I’ll have new photos. Gotta tell you that though that they are not going to be of the Tetons or of a mountain storm passing through.

Skywatch Friday – Fun in the Sun

We had a huge hot spell for a while and then lately it has been lots cooler and drier. I have to advantage of that.

One day I went to Turkey Mountain and hiked about three miles. My knee that has been bothering me was not a problem. That made me happy.

I moseyed along on the new trails and some old trails. I love being retired. You got the woods to yourself most weekdays!

I found a good vantage point on the mountain to see the Arkansas River and south Tulsa on the other side. This truly is an Urban Wilderness.

One day Heather and I bicycled 15 miles on the RiverParks trails. Doesn’t sound like much but it was a nice time.

At the house, the crepe myrtles are loving the sun. I posted this image on instagram and while I was thinking crepe myrtles, I typed out azaleas. Nobody said a thing about it except my wife. You need wives like Heather keep you straight. In other news along that line, I had some books to return to the library and so I went there and tried to put them in the book return slot and they wouldn’t fit. You know why? Cuz I was at the post office, that’s why. Heather got a laugh out of that as well. And I’m saying the books would have eventually got back to the library.

And another sunny photo at my MIL’s swimming pool. The net is up because my skin is so white that it causes sun reflections that blind our nations surveillance satellites. Don’t buy that, how about this? The local ducks took to using the pool as their hangout spot. Turns out that ducks can foul pool water quickly.

So that’s about it for me. I hope that everybody (in the northern hemisphere) is enjoying their summer. You folks way down south, just hang in there it will be your turn to have summer in several months. You guys in the tropics. Just enjoy if you can.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!

Bicycles, Bridges, and Skies

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I went on a ride on Tulsa’s Riverparks trails the other day. It was hot but I had lots of water and you know when you ride you make your wind. I stopped at the Gathering Place and checked out the new pedestrian bridge under construction. It is going to be done sometime next spring. I’m looking forward to it. It has it’s own web site here.

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Here’s the old bridge from the other side of the river here. It was a railroad bridge up until the 60’s or so and then was later converted to pedestrian bridge. When the Gathering Place was done, the city suddenly decided the old bridge was unsafe and proceeded to tear it down. Many of us felt a little played but I’m not too upset. I think the real reason was that the low water dam just downstream was obsolete and was being replaced. I think the construction of the new dam would destabilize the old bridge. So that is why I’m okay with the new bridge plus it will tie-in better, than trying to make the old bridge work, to the Gathering Place on the east side of the river.

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Also looking across the river is Tulsa Power Station. An old natural gas powered electric generating plant still in service. It hardly ever runs.

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From the other side of the river looking downtown here is where I worked for years before I retired.

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And of course I have to take pictures of construction equipment. This is working on the riverbed. It looks like they are putting up structures in the river. The construction site is protected by a huge cofferdam as the bridge and the new dam are built.

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And about a mile upstream is one of my favorite views, looking at the arches on the 21st street bridge.

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And five or six miles downstream photos of some of my fellow bicyclers. This woman has an ebike. They are pretty popular. I know people of average fitness that can go 50 or 60 miles on them. They’d be nice to have but I like something that doesn’t plug in.

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And a conventional road bike. Lots of really in-shape people on the river!

And here is my bike. A hybrid type with a big soft seat and big tires. I’m looking for a smooth ride.

I’m linking to Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!