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.
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.
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.
A late afternoon hike on Turkey Mountain, I love hiking there when the sun comes down.
Another front porch skywatch shot.
We had some weather the other day. I didn’t get my drone too far up in the air before the old warning alarm about too much wind. Looking west to the sunset.
One day we had tornade alerts off to the east. So this is a sunset looking east. Kind of a backlit storm. Glad we were were on the west side of this storm.
Another day, another sunset, I love color in the western sky at sundown, and low winds so I can fly my drone. It’s very light and I’m very careful with it. I noticed on the local Next Door, some poor guy got a brand new drone. He charged up the batteries and took it outside and launched it and that was the last he ever saw of it. I felt sorry for the guy but how could he be so clueless?
I see this sculpture ever year end. I always pay my real estate taxes at the last of the year and this sits right outside the Tulsa County Courthouse.
A week or two later I went hiking on Turkey Mountain. My outside time had been limited by a medical procedure on my face (I’m fine, really) where I had to stay out of the sun for a week, bad weather, my wife caught the flu, we got a new puppy, and my brother got covid. So things are looking up and I went outside in some sunny but nippy weather.
The trail builders on Turkey Mountain are putting in a long staircase from the top of the mountain down to the lower parking lot (don’t be too impressed, that’s about 335 feet, but still a big deal in Tulsa. I had to wibble wobble my route. The powers that be ask us not to walk on muddy trails, especially new trails, to keep them getting eroded so I kind of had to improvise a route.
On my route was this trail from the lower parking lot to the top of the mountain. It is bidirectional for people on foot and uphill only for mountain bikers. It looks like a hard go for them but hey they are tough.
And then here is a recently opened downhill only trail for intermediate level mountain bikers. No hikers allowed either way. The bikers fly down the hill and it is wise to keep people on foot out is what I think.
Here is the signage warning people of what they are getting into going down the trail. My modest biking skills and my bike with no suspension will not be on this trail or any other trail on Turkey Mountain. Gravity is not my friend!
And I found a cedar tree somebody decorated for Christmas. They are kind of fun especially if they take the decorations down soon after the holidays. Most people do, some don’t and these ornaments do not age well over time. They are not really “Leave No Trace” compatible.
Just a tad shy of 3 miles. A nice little outing after having been inside for weeks.
And guess, what I saw some flagging from the contractor building the trails. They are going to build more trails. More, more, more is my motto. When it comes to trails.
I am taking more skywatch photos from my front porch. Here is a recent one.
And here is another one.
And here is one of our house from the street. Yes I used a filter. I was trying to emphasize the lights.
Another front porch skywatch photo. I went artsy here by crouching behind our shrubs with some Christmas lights on them. As old as I am crouching down of any kind might be termed as “suffering for my art.”
Kodi the Pom puppy is who I blame for not getting out and taking more pictures. Having a new puppy is kind of like having a kid. They demand constant attention! If we don’t give him positive attention by playing with him, then he gets negative attention by chewing on electrical cords. We’re exhausted!
Another front porch skywatch shot!
My wife bought Kodi a couple of Christmas outfits. He is not a fan but we thought he rocked this elf outfit.
This time I stood on my front porch and pointed the phone to the southeast instead of the southwest like the previous two photos.
I was able to head out to the Arkansas River trails and check on construction of the new pedestrian bridge. It’s looking good but it won’t be done until well into 2023.
And I checked on the PSO power plant across the river. I love stuff like this.
To those who celebrate Christmas I wish you a Merry Christmas, Oklahoma style. To everyone else, I send you greetings and well wishes.
I call this week’s Skywatch post “Inside Edition” because that is mainly where I have been lately. After some great outings that all came to a halt through a combination of my wife catching the flu and cold rainy weather.
So it was like I went to my backyard and took some sky photos because I didn’t have any recent ones and it was a nice sunny day finally. And of course I used one of my iphone camera apps and edited the photos. I do that a lot. I hope it doesn’t bother you.
And the other thing I do is I am constantly tagging photos. I’ve got 85,642 photos in my flickr account and about 3,000 are untagged starting in November 2015 and going backward. I delete about half of my untagged photos in a given session. I found this one this morning during a tagging session. It’s kind of over the top on editing but hey, I kind of like it. I think I used my distressedfx app.
I also found this untagged photo from November 2015. It is from a run I did along the Arkansas Rivier at night. You know starting in 1992 until 2020 when I retired I ran by myself every Wednesday night after work pretty much regardless of the weather. During the non-Daylight Savings Time months I ran on the river because they had lights. Now I am thinking what was going through my little cotton picking head. Of course the answer is that I worked during the day and I was running longer races back then so I had to run longer in training. I’m retired and now, and don’t run, but I walk and ride my bike a lot. All during daylight hours.
Earlier this week it was Heather’s birthday. She recovered from the flu and we had a great time going out for breakfast, going to a movie (Spirited, see my previous post, a wonderful movie) opening gifts, going out for dinner, and then birthday cake!!
Son Logan joined us. We all had a great time.
And we are all decorated for Christmas.
I completed another jigsaw puzzle. This one of an old barn. This one about killed me. All that wood was hard to piece together. I’m doing one now of the Grand Canyon. It’s hard also. That’s okay. I love ipad jigsaw puzzles.
That’s about it for this week. Check back soon. After losing all three of our dogs in about a year’s time to illness we are picking up our new pomeranian Kodi. I’ll have a few photos of him to post. Here is a preview from several weeks ago.
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.
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?
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.
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.
The air was crisp and the skies were blue. It was late afternoon and the lowering sun illuminated everything perfectly.
There were lots of dead leaves on the trail which made it hard to walk stealthily.
The sun was brilliant shining through the remaining leaves leaving an impression almost like stained glass.