Tag Archives: Geocaching

Oxley Nature Center – Land Between Water and Sky

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.

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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?

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Replacing the Rock City Geocache

I have a couple of geocaches on Turkey Mountain. Periodically they need replaced or checked on when they turn up missing. It’s part of the hobby, taking care of geocaches that you have created. (If you don’t know what geocaching is, please check this link.) It’s basically a hide and seek game where people hide containers in the physical world and post the gps coordinates on geocaching.com for other people to go find them

Rock City is a cache that me, my wife, and son hid in 2011 on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain in a rugged area called Rock City and of course I made a blog post about it.

So I went to Harbor Freight and bought a 30 caliber plastic ammo box. Only cost $4 cuz of being Black Friday. Traditionally one puts trade goods in a cache that other cachers can trade for. So I bought some stuff at Harbor Freight and then went next door to the dollar store and bought a small notebook, a pen, and some kid toys. Lots of people take their kids and it is fun for them to trade for stuff as well.

You need the notebook because you don’t get credit for finding the cache unless you sign a physical log in the cache in addition to recording your find on the geocaching web site.

I put all that stuff in the ammo box and then drove out to Turkey Mountain and headed off down the trail to the site.

Here’s a map. I started out at the parking lot to the south and headed roughly north. You can tell I wibble wobbled the route a little bit. I’m notorious for that. Who just wants to go straight to their destination? Not me! If I see a trail I hadn’t been down in a while, I’ll go check it out. See the red blob at the north (top) end of the map. That’s me looking for the old cache, and figuring out that it was gone then looking for a better place for the replacement cache. And then I wibble wobbled my way back.

So the cache is somewhere in this area. Or an area that looks similar.

Washing Machine

On the way back I passed by this washing machine. It is holy relic on Turkey Mountain. Don’t mess with it! Now the odd thing is that I have studied on this and determined that it is actually a dryer, not a washing machine. People know that but they persist in misnaming it. That’s a common thing on Turkey Mountain. Ponds are called lakes for instance. Why? I have no idea. Same thing with Turkey Mountain. It’s not really a mountain, it’s more like a hill, but I don’t want to start any fights.

So lots of fall colors still on the mountain.

Two and half miles made for a great hike on a halfway warm, autumn day on the mountain.

A Walk Along the River in Tulsa

The other day I went on a geocaching hunt on the Arkansas River. The hunt was fun but I really loved the walk even more.

It was very chilly, windy, and sunny. The sun was getting low and I loved the light on the trees and leaves against the clean blue sky.

It was magical.

So I took my time.

At one point I could look all the way down the river to downtown Tulsa.

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A closeup.

Back to the sunlight and trees.

What a nice break in the afternoon! Tulsa has lots of nice winter days like this. Of course Winter is 35 days or so away.

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

Hochatown Adventure – Second Day

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So last week I talked about our first day at Beavers Bend State Park in southeast Oklahoma. The second day we did a couple of hikes including the Friends Trail along the Mountain Fork River. This section comes off the bottom of the Broken Bow lake. The water is very cool and the state stocks it with trout.

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Several fly fisherman were on the water with their waders and long rods.

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I have done a little fly fishing but I was wishing I had a simple Zebco rod and reel, some worms, and a bobber.

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This guy was the smoothest fly fisherman I have ever seen. Hopping from rock to rock doing all sorts of casts into various pools. My late Father-in-law was a great fly fisherman. He could put a fly on one side of a rock or on the other side of the rock. Me, I was just lucky to get it out in front of me somewhere.

It is a very peaceful river and the day we were there were not many people.

We went to the park’s Forestry Heritage Center which has exhibits on the timber industry and culture of southeast Oklahoma. It’s a fun place with a 1960’s type vibe about it. They had a geocache there and Heather found it!! It had stymied us on previous trips.

I love this sculpture dedicated to Woodland Firefighters. It reminds me of my late father who fought forest fires early in his career in the forest service. He had the aluminum hard hat and a Pulaski, the combination axe and hoe the guy is holding.

We took my father to the museum years ago and I remember him showing us how these various chain saws and other tools were used in logging. I remember asking him why the yellow chainsaw had the saw blade horizontal. The answer was that early day carburetors couldn’t work work on the side so you had to hold the engine up straight while cutting trees or the motor would quit. So now you know!!

Later we went back to the cabin, drank a few beers, played some games, started a fire in the fire pit, made some smores and tried out the hot tub again. We had a grand time.

It was great for the three of us get away for a few days.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Check it out.

Skywatch Friday – Geocaching at Okmulgee Lake Park

Last weekend I took some time and went to Lake Okmulgee south of Tulsa about an hour to do some geocaching and hiking. I like finding geocaches out in the woods instead of in parking lots and other places.

It was sunny, breezy, and cool. A perfect day. The vibe at the lake was chill. Not that many people there.

They had several geocaches located in the rocks. I always keep an eye out for snakes whent he weather starts warming up.

Nothing like a few hours out in nature to feel chilled out.

I think the WPA built the dam and a lot of the infrastructure. I find that sort of thing interesting.

There were a couple caches I found but couldn’t get to so they don’t officially count as finds. This one I could have got to if I had a long pole or something else.

This one is in a cedar tree. I felt that I could probably have climbed up there but I personally know two geocachers who got severely injured in this park geocaching. One fell of the side of a cliff and broke a leg in two places. The other was climbing up a cedar tree and a branch broke. She injured her back and was out of commission for months. Gravity is not my friend so I leave the climbing to others. Especially out in the middle of nowhere, all by myself.

I found a skull out there. iNaturalist tells me that it is a racoon’s skull.

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We had a to say goodbye to our sweet dog Abby, here pictured with Logan. Abby was fifteen years old and was doing great, going on daily walks and living her best life. She loved eating, walking, barking at other dogs and barking at horses and cows on television. She was our happy go lucky clown who always had a sweet temper. She got lymphoma out of nowhere and it got bad very quickly. So we had put to sleep.

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So I like to think she is cavorting around in dog heaven with her buddy Ginger who left us last year. Our critters just don’t live long enough is what I say.

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

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.

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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.

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.

The Bronze Zoo of Broken Arrow

One of my hobbies is geocaching which involves finding stuff out in the world using a GPS receiver or an app on a smart phone. I’ve been doing it a long time and love it. (Check geocaching.com for more information.) One of the newer types of geocaches is Adventure Labs. I’ve done several of those. One I did recently was an animal sculpture themed geocache in the town of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. I had to navigate to the sculptures and find out some information about each one. The technology utilized includes an electronic fence which means that I had actually had to go rather than sit in my easy chair and google to find out the information.

Anyway, its lots of fun and I found out new stuff. For example, downtown Broken Arrow has a life sized installation of a mouse. It’s on a windowsill. Why? I have no idea but its there. I love finding out new things in areas where I live and travel.

I’m linking with Mosaic Monday. Come join in!!

Geocaching at Oklahoma City’s Bluff Creek Park

Son Logan came to visit for Fall Break the last several days. We loved having him and Monday it was time to take him back to college. So we loaded up his laundry, his groceries, and all his various devices. (He has lots of devices, and they are heavy) and flew on down the Turner Turnpike and then down south of Oklahoma City to his college. We got there at about noon, so we unloaded his stuff, and he put on his backpack and said bye Dad. Okay, bye son. He has class at one and pizza for lunch, I get it. So off I went.

Johnny's Hamburgers

I flew back up the turnpike to Oklahoma City to Johnnies Hamburgers. Oh my gosh, best hamburgers that I ever had. Texted this photo to my wife. That was NOT a smooth move. You would think after 32 years of marriage I would stop doing crap like that. She thinks so to.

Off I went to Bluff Creek Park in Oklahoma City. I geocached here years ago when it didn’t even have a name. I remember for it great trails and lots of deer and great geocaches. Guess what it still has great trails and deer. The trails are for mountain bikes and they have “directions” oh well, I was on foot like most other people and I’ve spent my whole life not following directions.

I was looking for five caches. You see, I have 1994 caches and I was looking for five to get to 1999 because I have a “milestone” cache in mind for Tulsa that I was going to get Tuesday.

Found this tortoise, but not the nearby geocache.

The geocaching gods had other ideas. I looked for six and found two. One doesn’t count because I could see it but it was way up in the air and I couldn’t reach it so it doesn’t count. The other one I found, and it counts so I stand at 1995 so I have to rethink my strategy. The geocaching gods punish hubris severely.

But hey, its all good. A great time outside wibble wobbling in the park in the sun under a great blue sky. I saw three deer and a bunch of squirrels and not very many people.

Here is a map of my wanderings. As you can guess the thick squiggles is where I was looking for something.

And my geocaching map. The frownies, are caches I didn’t find. The yellow smiley is one I did find. The green one is the cache I saw but couldn’t reach. The other two blue markers, dark and light, and different types of caches that I was not looking for. But hey, I found the one!!! One is better than none in my book. Best thing was a a great time in the woods.

Have you ever been geocaching?