Tag Archives: Geocaching

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?

Route 66 Skywatching, Channeling Paul McCartney

Son Logan visited us over the weekend and on Monday I took him back to college. Our little 6′ 3″, 250 pound son is in his final semester (he better be in his final semester) and graduates this Fall. We are really proud of him! Anyway, dropped him and his stuff off, made a visit with the bursar and paid his tuition and fees and headed back to Tulsa.

I took the scenic route on part of it on Route 66. I was hunting down geocaches and doing a ten state Adventure Lab geocache at the same time. Hit the links to find out more about what I’m talking about. First stop was Pops on Route 66. They have a gas station and a huge selection of pop. I got me a selfie cuz I am 66 years old this year on Route 66.

Pops is a stop on the Adventure Lab and it also has a real geocache that I had found previously. Nearby there was another one.

A little bit down the road is the Round Barn of Arcadia, another stop on the Adventure Lab. With an Adventure Lab you don’t find a physical container, you have to answer questions about the stop.

And nearby is minor attraction in Arcadia. Tutons Drug Store. I think it has been closed very years but I love the rock work.

And another stop is an “Auto Trim Museum.” It was closed but I got the information I needed from the gate.

Paul McCartney Sighting

And then this find. Paul McCartney, on his 66th birthday, drove Route 66 with his girlfriend back in 2011. Not being a geocacher the former Beatle got lost and had to stop at a house and ask if if he was still on the Old Road (as Route 66 is called by some.) This was on an “alternate alignment” of Route 66 and I never would have found it if were not for geocaching. I guess great minds think alike.

Washington Irving Camp Site

Another stop was at this marker commemorating a stop Washing Irving made on his travels in Oklahoma way back when. Another bit of info I would have never known if hadn’t been for my sport.

It was close to here while looking for another cache that a couple of sheriff deputies stopped and asked me if I knew that my car tag was almost two years expired. I said no I didn’t. We chatted about that for a while and then they asked what I was doing and I told him all about it. So they said to get the tag renewed cuz they don’t care about it but you get a highway patrolman in a bad mood they have been known to impound your car and leave you standing by the road. (I took care of the tag the next day.)

And then a little later, I stopped at this old gas station from the early in 20 the century. Anyway I had earned the Adventure Labs cache and was a little unnerved by the thought of encountering a highway patrolman in a bad mood so I went on home.

So thanks for sticking with me. Here’s a photo from our vacation looking out the back side of the condo we were staying in. I took my drone but didn’t fly it. We were on the 15th floor so it was kind of like a stationary drone.

I hope everybody is well. I got my third jab yesterday and a flu shot. I’m still being careful and avoiding crowds as much as I can.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday, come join the fun!!

Skywatch Friday – Ida Skies

We had some nice skies for part of the week. I think they were offshoots of Hurricane Ida. The victims of the storm are in my thoughts. So many people had to leave their homes. It’s going to be a long time before they get the electricity turned on. The storm continued up to the east coast causing flooding and tornadoes. What a miserable storm Ida was.

I went looking for a geocache. The spoiler is that I didn’t find it but I found something else. I was looking at the these cottonwood trees and it looked kind of funny.

It’s hard to see it in this photo but there is a trail that starts out and goes down to the Arkansas River. I was checking it out and a guy with a fishing rod came by and we chatted a bit. Apparently you walk down the trail to the river, wade across part of the river and climb up on a sandbar and right there is a big hole that he says is full of catfish. You learn something new every day. I tried explaining geocaching to him and I could kind of tell the young man was worried about me. He was wondering if I was right in my head.

I wasn’t fishing, I was geocaching and the cache was hidden in the rip rap. I clambered around looking in all the nooks and crannies and couldn’t find it. Apparently nobody else could either. I got an email from the owners who said that they checked and it was missing and they are going to replace it soon.

On the way out I passed a tube bending company in an industrial area. They built this thing to show off their craft. Tube bending is useful in making chemical and refinery processing equipment, especially heaters and such. Tulsa has a lot of oilfield manufacturing companies and expertise.

The next day I went on a bike ride on the RiverParks trails along the Arkansas River here in Tulsa. I stopped to check out the construction of the new low water dam and pedestrian bridge. I think that it is going to be another two years or so before they are done. I’m looking forward to it. Click here for a look at the conceptual design.

And finished up at what I call the Bear Fountain near where I parked my care. The temp was in the low 90’s F but the heat index was about a 105 F. Time to go get cooled off. I was going to go geocaching again but didn’t want to get back out in the heat.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday – come join in!!

Our World – On the Trail and the Road

Sunday morning after dropping the kid off at work I headed to Turkey Mountain for a little hiking.

Virginia Creeper?

I’ve been reading the novel, The Overstory by Richard Powers and it is blowing me away with its talk of how trees in a forest are all interconnected and they exchange nutrients with one another and with other plants via a network of fungal hyphae, miles and miles of tubular fungus that exchange minerals with trees for sugar. I already read the book and then I started reading it again. It’s pretty amazing.

Hairy Ruellia?

The woods on Turkey Mountain are very new. It used to be small farms and ranches but oil was discovered and what trees that were there were cut down for fuel for the boilers that powered the pumps.

Headache!!! I’m afraid some poor mountain biker hit his noggin.

So the trees that are there now are pretty new and mostly skinny. There are a few older ones that are bigger and are more spread out. I find the whole life cycle of tree thing to be fascinating.

American Trumpet Vine maybe

I know that Sunday I pretty much had the place to myself. Most people on Turkey Mountain stick to the more established east side with its overlooks of the Arkansas River and well developed trails. The west side is a little wilder and the trails less established and mapped.

I went all the over the the YMCA and took a pic. Not much going on there.

Shining Sumac perhaps

Just 3 miles but hey I was refreshed.

In the afternoon I checked out Route 66 for some geocaching. I stopped one of my favorites. The Blue Whale of Catoosa.

Right next to it was this. Apparently it is supposed to be an Ark as part of a journey through the Bible attraction but it didn’t really take off.

I found this museum in Catoosa. It was closed but it has a great mural out back.

And this is an old bridge on Route 66 that has been relocated. So I am continuing my turning 66 on Route 66 thing that I have going on.

I hope your Sunday was as fun as mine!!

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Running Through the Woods

I went on a recently on Turkey Mountain. It was morning but it was hot but the trails were shady.

I was also looking for a geocache. I thought it was below the above ledge so I climbed down below and nope, there is another ledge further down and I needed to get below that. It was too hot and sticky so, as we say in the energy biz, I temporarily abandoned that project for a day when I feel better. Getting down ledges is easy, getting back up is sometimes harder. Further south there is a trail I could descent to and walk out. So I’ll finish this on another day.

It was still morning as I made my way back and the morning sun was making the leaves glow green. It kind of reminded me of a stained glass window except it was bright green. It has been wet this summer and the leaves and grass still have that fresh green look to them.

Went by Wagon Wheel Lake and it was full and overflowing. I have seen it dry as a bone by this time some years.

Sky to the south one afternoon.

I’m still flying my drone. I am kind of boring. I send it straight up and rotate it. I don’t want to fly it over anybody’s property but mine. Most of the time I go to 50 meters. Doesn’t seem very high but I can hardly see it at that height. You don’t get much better views higher than that and I can maintain control of the aircraft. I went up to 75 meters and suddenly the controller said it had lost contact and was going to try and land the drone automatically. That was kind of panicy but the drone came on down and reestablished contact so I kept it up in the air.

Sky to the northwest another day.

So I am not too adventurous it. It costs too much money. I know guys who fly their across rivers and subdivisions and all that. Not me I am not flying it anywhere I can’t walk to it, legally. Plus if it fell it could hurt somebody and I would feel terrible. It is tiny, only 249 grams in weight but something like that falling from 100 feet would give somebody a headache or worse.

I am amazed by the device. It is a technological marvel. It can fly for thirty minutes, it takes great photos, and stays rock solid when you stop it due to its built in GPS. If I can fly it, anybody can.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join the party!

Our World – Hanging out in Okmulgee

Monday morning, I drove 43 miles south of Tulsa to the little burg of Okmulgee, Oklahoma in order to pursue my geocaching hobby. First up on the list is an Adventure Lab geocache at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology. Adventure Lab caches don’t involve finding a physical object, instead you have to navigate to various places and then answer questions about what you find. You use an app on your phone to navigate and it has technology that makes sure you are physically there where you say you are. It discourages “armchair geocachers.”

So it had me go all over the campus finding information. I learned that the campus started out as an Army Hospital during World War II and then later a hospital for German POWs. After the war the USA sold the campus to what is now Oklahoma State University for a dollar.

OSU loves the color orange, they put it on everything. Even their flowers are orange.

It is an applied technology school. You don’t go here to think the big thoughts. You go here to learn nursing, engine repair, cooking and a bunch of other fields. It has a 100% placement rate for their graduates.

This is a solar pond that helps reduce the campus heating and cooling costs. The water is circulated through a heat pump is how it works.

This is OSU’s mascot, Pistol Pete. He’s based on a real person, Frank Eaton. At eight years old, he witnessed his father’s murder by six vigilantes. Young Frank practiced shooting until he was fifteen years old and then spent the next six years hunting down and killing his father’s murderers. He later served as a US Marshall for Oklahoma under the Hanging Judge, Isaac Parker. He became the mascot for OSU after he died in 1958. You can’t make this stuff up!! I love stories like this.

Nothing to do with the cache but this is the Natural Gas Compression Technology building. I spent about 40 years messing with natural gas compressors in various capacities. Compressors are what is used to move the natural gas all the way from the wellhead to industrial and home use. It is hard to get into this program. For years all of the graduates have had jobs before they graduate.

And then shifting gears to downtown Okmulgee. It was an oilfield boom town way back when and then went into a long slow decline as the production in the area waned. There is a new spirit in town. People are moving in buying and renovating the many beautiful old buildings that were decaying. They are also commissioning murals such as the one above by famed Native American Muralist, Yatika Starr Fields. The mural above may be the most beautiful mural I have ever seen, (and I have seen a lot of them.)

Even OSU Tech got in on the action converting the above building to an off campus dorm.

So with this cache I went to a lot different murals. It was fun.

With a Where I Go geocache, you eventually have to find a physical object and I did. I don’t want to spoil it for anybody but it is a nanocache which makes it tiny. Lots smaller than the tip of my pinkie fingers.

Anyway, a good morning. It took me a little more than an hour to log both caches and then headed home.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

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