Went on another hike on Turkey Mountain. Right at the trailhead I saw this handsome bad boy. A Toyota Tacoma pickup heavy duty everything including a snorkel for the engine, beefed up bumper up front with extra lighting, tires that cost a mint. A very nice rig. And look the tires have a little dirt on them. Most overlanders I see are spotless.
The skies were gray on Sunday afternoon. That’s okay, I’ll take whatever kind of sky there is as long as the trails are not muddy.
Turkey Mountain has lots and lots of rocks!!
And lots of ponds. I learned something last year during a wildlife tour. The ponds are stocked every year with fish, which is great. Also, there is an active beaver population on the mountain but they are not spread out to all the ponds. They pretty much stay at one pond until they eat all the fish and then they travel overland to another pond to eat its fish. For some reason I think that is hilarious.
I used a combination of the new fancy trails and the some of the smaller, less known legacy trails. I was kind of hoping that I would see some deer but I did not.
Here is a smaller trail with some heavy duty rock armoring to prevent erosion. I think the people that run Turkey Mountain are shifting over to some smaller trails to accommodate those of us who like to travel on foot.
The trees are wild without their leaves. I love the trees in any of the season.
Here is a new windy trail that I encountered while heading back to the parking lot. I got a ways then oops, I found out it was not open yet. My bad. I try and follow all the rules.
Back at the parking lot at the trail head. Everybody had gone home and it started misting. I love weather like this.
Here is my route. The inner loop is where I hoped to find deer. I’ve learned that when there are not too many people, the deer will move north along the center of the circle. Not that day though!!
All told, despite the gray skies, I had a lovely time.
Went for a walk on Presidents Day around Tulsa’s Lafortune Park. It is a little over 3 miles around so it is perfect for a walk or a run or whatever you want to do. The trail winds around two golf courses, a tennis center, a library, a playground, and some little league baseball fields so there is a lot going on.
It has several ponds which make for great reflections when the sky is decent.
The trees near water make for great reflections.
Trees in the winter can be spectacular.
The library has a hip modern design, but it was closed. You can get their wifi in the parking lot though. They started that during covid. That was handy.
And a Bonus!!
I got a new cell phone that I am still “messing with.” I took this shot the other day in my front yard. A crescent moon, with Jupiter nearby, and Venus underneath. The moon is kind of fuzzy but I am still okay with it.
I was invited to a press conference a week or so ago. It was by the Tulsa River Parks Authority, the folks who manage the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area, to announce that they received a large grant ($2.1 million) from Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, (“TSET”) to build more trails on Turkey Mountain.
So Riverparks authority execs and TSET board members showed up along with some Tulsa County bigwigs as well as board members of the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition. And of course the media was there with cameras and drones. So we had some short speeches and the ceremonial presentation of the oversize check. It was interesting and I’m all about more money for improvements such as trails for Turkey Mountain.
TSET is an interesting entity. It is funded as a result of a huge lawsuit that that Oklahoma and a bunch of other states filed against the tobacco companies back in the late 1990’s. There was a Master Settlement in 1998 where the four largest tobacco companies agreed to pay the states an annual fee. Oklahoma puts the money in a trust to fund various health related programs such as the trails at Turkey Mountain. Read the details here.
So after the presentations and the individual interviews RiverParks took everybody on a hike to look at the new staircase up the mountain.
It’s about 130 feet long with a 100 of vertical elevation. The tour only went up halfway. Then the all the VIP’s went back down the trail.
Me? I’m a retired guy, I came to the press conference with my hiking boots and water bottle. I went the rest of the way up and took a little hike.
Turned right at the top of the stairs and went a short way to an overlook over south Tulsa and the Arkansas River.
And then headed north for a short loop.
This Christmas tree is on the blue trail and yet has no blue ornaments! What’s up with that. I am going to remember to bring a sack and take all this down. Nothing ages faster than ornaments outdoors.
Earlier this week, I wanted to go hiking on Turkey Mountain but decided to do it a little differently. I started from the Herman and Kate Kaiser YMCA on the northwest side of the mountain. I’ve been in lots of races there and a few events but never just parked in their parking lot and went hiking from their trails (which intersects with all the other trails on the mountain.)
So I checked in at the lodge and headed off by Lake Logan and the dam that forms the lake.
I got a nice view of the lodge across the lake.
And headed down the faint trail to the northl.
It eventually merged into the bigger trails that the Riverparks Authority is installing.
I always love the wild trees on Turkey Mountain.
The new trails are designed for and popular with the mountain bikers. Lots of up and down and side to side.
Eventually I got off the new trail and onto a legacy trail. This part of the park was cleared out by the previous owners when they were trying to get Simon Outlet Malls to buy it. By the way, Simon Malls announced, for the the third or fourth time, that they are restarting construction on the site they bought when they encountered so much opposition to buying a piece of Turkey Mountain.
Got to my destination on 61st street. The last work day we had a group went and made a small length of trail to get to the street so that the bikers could go through there, onto the streets for a ways, and then to another park with brand new trails. The only thing better than trails is interconnected trails is my motto. And then it was time to head back.
I came across this scene which is wall about what an Urban Wilderness means. That is downtown Tulsa off in the distance.
Part of an old road. Turkey Mountain used to have an oil field on it along with farms, ranches, and moonshiner stills.
A sign that we are back on the Y property.
Uh, don’t ask me!
And I had a good hike, about two and a half miles. But one more thing.
We had a full moon and clear skies!! The Full Snow Moon.
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?