Tag Archives: Hiking

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

An Afternoon at Oxley Nature Center

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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.

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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.

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The air was crisp and the skies were blue. It was late afternoon and the lowering sun illuminated everything perfectly.

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There were lots of dead leaves on the trail which made it hard to walk stealthily.

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The sun was brilliant shining through the remaining leaves leaving an impression almost like stained glass.

It was a great day to be out in the woods.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Family Hike on the Mountain

Last week my sister, Ellen, and her husband, Irv, came down from Colorado to visit us.

While here we joined our brother Bob at his residence. Management was throwing an Oktoberfest, food, drink, desert, entertainment! We were all up for that.

Music was provided by a local accordion band. I didn’t even know that accordion bands were a thing. These folks were great. They all played together, you know, like they were a band! It was jam packed with residents and guests and I think everyone had a good time.

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The next day I showed off Turkey Mountain. They were very polite. They live on some acreage where they have a front row seat to Pikes Peak at 14,114 feet. Turkey Mountain is 804 feet. They did not snicker, not even once!! Hey you know, we in Tulsa are proud of 804 foot tall hill. We can call it a mountain if we want.

Irv is a fellow geocacher and he found one on the moutain.

Ellen made friends with Sasquatch.

We went by Pepsi Lake. They didn’t ask why the ponds on the Turkey Mountain hill are called lakes. I don’t know!!

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We ended up going about 4.5 miles or so. I was worn out.

We had a really good visit.

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

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!!!

Hiking at Oxley Nature Center

Friday morning I talked son Logan into going on a hike with me to Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center.

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In the parking lot we spotted a swallowtail butterfly. Swallowtails move around a lot so I just kept taking photos hoping one would be okay.

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Later on in our hike we found a doe and her fawn in the woods. They were kind of skittish and the woods were thick so it was hard to get a good photo.

And later came upon this armadillo rooting around for something to eat. It pretty ignored us. I don’t think they see or hear very well. Years ago when I lived in south Texas they got hit a lot on the roads.

And as we were leaving we saw this doe and her two offspring. I think one might be a yearling and the other a pretty new fawn. They ignored as well.

Logan at Oxley Nature Center

Here’s my hiking companion, son Logan who has started a couple classes in the local community college’s Paralegal Program.

I’m linking with Eileen’s Saturday’s Critters. Come check out it!!

A Tour of Tulsa’s Lubell Park

Last week after walking the new trails at Bales Park in west Tulsa, I drove ovder to nearby Lubell Park to check out their new trails. Their trails new to me but they had the grand opening on the new trails in October 2021. Before that they were hand cut trails by volunteers. The new trails were put in by the professionals at Rogue Trails out of Arkansas. The same people working on the Bales Park Trails.

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I’ve only been to Lubell one time before to find a geocache. What Lubell was mainly known for up until the new trails was the number and aggressiveness of their ticks.

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Ticks no more on these big wide, sustainable, cool trails. At least I didn’t get any (I use tick spray whenever I am in the woods.)

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The trails are pretty cool. The project was sponsored by a local bicycle club and so the trails kind of cater to mountain bikes but they are perfectly hikable. These are the only mountain bike trails that I have seen in Tulsa that I think I would be okay with riding my bike on. Smooth, no steeps ups and downs, and doable turns. The new trails at Turkey Mountain and Bales are pretty cool but I don’t have the skillz necessary to ride them successfully. At my age, gravity is not friend! Can I get an Amen?

And they have some interesting features such as this shelter.

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These look like thrones to me. Lubeell is integrated into the surrounding neighborhood such that some people have gates in the fences that open into the park. That is where I found these.

And they had several cairns or stacked rocks. I used to think they were cool but they don’t really go with a leave no trace vibe. They are not much of a problem in Oklahoma but some parts of the country are getting overrun with these and are technically illegal in National Parks.

The east boundary fence appears to be a deer proof fence. I noticed a deer feeder on the other side. Notice the greenery. It is lespedeza, a noxious plant introduced to the United States from Asia in the 1890 and was widely used as a cover on non-productive soils. The problem is that it takes over and deer and livestock won’t eat it. I hate the stuff.

Moving on, near the end of the trail there are some nice obstacles mainly for bikes. I walked the little maze above.

More fun for bicycles.

And Tulsa has these things all over town. They are tornado sirens and many of them seem to be too big for the wooden pole that supports it and they are bending over at ever increasing angles. They send out three types of alarms. Tornados and chemical releases get a three minute monotone. Then there is a three minute wavering tone used only for nuclear attacks. So if you happen to be in Tulsa and those goes off, best just to kiss yourself goodbye. I remember in grade school in the early 1960’s we were told to get under out desks in case of nuclear attack. The third signal is a three minute high low tone. That is a flooding alert.

Sorry I digress, again. Here is a short video showing my hike at Lubell.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday – go 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

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 – Getaway to Beaver’s Bend

Early last week we packed up the ole Honda Pilot to head off on a little trip to southeast Oklahoma. We were not going to be gone long but for some reason the car was packed full.

On the way we stopped in Antlers, OK for gas. They had this memorial to the Cboctaw Code Talkers of both World Wars.

We rented a nice cabin for a couple days. Nice big decks, a hot tub, a pool table and a pretty sizable out door area.

It had a baby Sasquatich inside. I love the corny things people do to decorate their cabins.

Heather playing ladders. We also played cornhole, swung on the swings, and used the fire pit and the hot tub.

We brought along our elderly Pomeranian, Rascal and he seemed to have a great time as well. We went on daily one mile walks with him and he practiced going up and down the steps to the porch.

We grilled a lot of food and spent a lot of time together.

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The next day, we loaded up for a hike (Rascal stayed at the cabin) and went for a three mile hike on the Mountain Fork River. A very nice trail that is relatively flat.

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We didn’t see hardly anybody the whole time.

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The weather was sunny and cool. That’s Logan in blue to the back.

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At the end of hike we came across a collapsed old building with just the foundation remaining. I love mysteries like this? I’m gong to have to found out what the deal is.

Anyway, that was just the first 24 hours. I got more to tell later.

Sad news from Tulsa today. A gunman barged into a medical office building and killed four people before taking his own life. The Tulsa Police Department was on the scene three minutes after the call came in. They ran up to the second floor where the shots were coming from but they were too late.

Take care I’m linking at Skywatch Friday.