Tag Archives: Hiking

Skywatch Friday – Outside Time!

I got it all on this week’s post, Gardening, Hiking, Bicycling, A Plea for Help, and a Musical Finale! Are you ready? Lets get started!!

Earlier this week I went to Turkey Mountain. We’ve had a lot of rain and they want people to stay off the trails when its muddy. Kind of like your Great Aunt Grace telling you to stay on the plastic runners. Or at least that’s what my Great Aunt Grace would tell me. Anyway I first checked the Monarch Waystation. Lots of green stuff there and few blooms.

I’m no butterfly but if I were I guess I would be digging into whatever these flowers had to offer. My botanical ID skills are woeful. I do know that these are yellow blooms. Enough Gardening, and now Hiking!!

And then I got back in my car and drove up to the upper parking lot. Ordinarily the I would have gone up the trail but I was rationing my energy because the temperature was over 90F and the head index was almost 110F. Anyway, I started down the Snake Trail to go explore the NW side and see if there were any new trails out that way.

The Snake Trail is pretty decent. When I take first time visitors to Turkey Mountain, before the new trails were started, I took them on Snake because it was relatively flat and not very technical (in other words breaking your ankle was unlikely). Turkey is going to have a mixture of old and new trails. The terrible erosion prone, non sustainable trails will be blocked off to allow the ground to heal.

I got up close to the YMCA and headed east and soon came to some new trail that I had not seen yet. So I jumped on it and went a couple hundred yards or so and saw that it was not yet open. I thought it looked a little rough. Anyway I got off it and got on a parallel old trail.

I emerged on what is called the Powerline Trail and went back to the parking lot. Powerline is difficult. It gets kind of technical and really steep and has several false ridges. I guess you could call it Heartbreaker as well. It is in full sun which makes it extra fun on a hot sunny day. But hey I made it. I guess you already figured that out because I wrote this post.

And now the Bicycling Segment!!

Thursday morning, I got up, skipped yoga and took my bike out on the other side of the Arkansas River to ride the paved trails. That hill you see on the other side of the river is Turkey Mountain. Don’t be giggling or laughing at the Mountain. We don’t have too many in Tulsa.

On the south end of the RiverParks trails is a Native American Tribal owned casino. The trail squeezes in betweenn casino and the river. Somebody, maybe the tribe has been doing some “Riparian Mitigation” on the riverbank and it is bearing fruit. I never noticed these trees before. I love it.

On the north end I stopped at the south end of the Gathering Place. With better weather people are taking their toddlers there and they let the kids migrate into the bike lanes. I don’t blame them, they are new to the trails and don’t understand. Anyway, when the new people I just cut my ride short and go back. Better than risking hitting somebody. But I stopped and smelled the roses

Do I look like I need help? Well I do!! Come volunteer at the Tulsa Ironman race on May 22nd.

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Last year I volunteered on the running segement on Sunday afternoon. It was fun and easy. I just handed out water and gatorade to the racers for several hours. These men and women are amazing athletes. The Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition gets paid for the volunteer hours they provide to the event. Check here to get more info if you are interested.

And the musical section of this mess of a post. Featuring a hot mess herself, Miranda Lambert. I got her new album Palomino and am loving it. She is a good singer and has quite the sense of humor.

That’s about it folks. I guess I had some sky photos in here somewhere. I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!

Our World – the Mysteries on Turkey Mountain

Things have really been busy lately.

Someone close to us got covid and by some miracle, they got right into the emergency room of the leading hospital in Tulsa. They got some great care and will be returning to their home soon. Please be careful folks.

I went for a weekday hike on Turkey Mountain a couple weeks ago. I had the place to myself. I saw two other people in my hour and half and three plus miles. You come on a weekend there are a lot more (unless you know where to go where nobody else is.)

I started down the new trail and then veered off on a small leafy trail paralleling the new one.

I veered back to the new trail to check out this cutout of bigfoot. There is quite a bigfoot culture in Oklahoma!!

I left the new trail and headed west. I came upon a bunch of old cans and rusted pots on the ground and I noticed this pipe hung up in the tree.

It has been there so long that one end is embedded in a tree. It looks to me like a really old camp site. Turkey Mountain has been populated by Native Americans, farmers, ranchers, railway men, oilwell drillers, and supposedly moonshiners and more lately meth labs. Who knows the vintage of this camp!?

A littel further west I came to Pepsi Lake. What are called ponds elsewhere in the world are lakes on Turkey Mountain. Don’t ask me why. Don’t ask me why these Pepsi truck bodies are perched on the Pepsi Lake Dam. The Pepsi
Bottling Company is nearby so there might be some sort of connection. So people tell things like that Pepsi put the bodies up there to protect the dam. They don’t know that, they are just guessing. How would that protect a dam anyway.

It does provide shelter for homeless people (not for very long, it is a long walk to civilization from Pepsi Lake. You can tell people have had parties of very sorts at the site.

And there is some decent tagging there. Please though, take your graffiti elsewhere.

It’s a mystery that I haven’t figured out yet.

Another mystery is this thing on the west side of the mountain. Not too many people know about it but I’ve been told it is an old moonshiners camp other people have said outlaws hung out here.

A friend of mine piped up and said he knows an old timer that lives close to the mountain who knew all about it. He said that it’s an old hunting camp. Wow, that’s boring. I’m sticking with old moonshiner’s camp! Who’s with me?

Turkey Mountain Hike Strava Map

So here is a little map of my travels. I started down at the bottom and went counterclockwise. Like I said I didn’t see hardly anybody. Being retired is fun, going at off times.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday. Come join the fun!

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.

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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?

Skywatch Friday – The Skies of October

I’ve been enjoying my October so far. The weather has been good and I have been doing a lot of hiking and wandering. Above is the sky over Lake Bixhoma south of Tulsa about ten miles. I love it there during the week because nobody else is there.

This is a photo taken by “cousin-in-law” in western Oklahoma of Angus cattle on their ranch.

And this is at Martin Nature Center in Oklahoma City. I stopped there for a short hike on my way to pick up son at his college.

I’ve shown these chairs before. The City of Bixby repurposed the old auto bridge across the Arkansas River to a pedestrian bridge and added all sorts of extras such as these recliners.

And of course I had to try them out.

Here is the view I had.

History Marker

The bridge ties into Washington Irving Park in Bixby where the man camped during his tour of what is now Oklahoma back in 1832.

And here is sculpture of the man. This is part of an outdoor amphitheater. The park is another good place to go during the work week cuz of hardly anybody else being there.

And this always makes me think and ponder. This is one of the girders from the World Trade Center that were destroyed on the attack on America.

So I’m really enjoying the moderate weather. How about you?

Come join me and and bunch of other photobloggers at Skywatch Friday

Late night bonus content – I flew my drone for a little while this evening.

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Roughly a little south of northwest. All these were taken at about 150 feet elevation.

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Looking almost straight west

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Roughly a little north of southwest.

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A really big cloud was passing over Tulsa. This is looking almost straight south.

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A little bit north of northwest.

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Almost straight north.

I flew the drone in “periscope mode” in other words I launched it straight up from my back yard and just rotated it and snapped a few pics.

Our World – Hiking at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

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On the last day of our recent mini-vacation to Missouri we stopped for a visit at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. 10,000 acres of wilderness set in a beautiful canyon in southwest Missouri. It was founded by Johnny Williams of Bass Pro fame and is a non-profit outfit.

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One can walk the three miles of trails, or ride a bike, or take a guided tour in a pickup pulled trail. We like walking so we walked or rather Heather walked, and I sauntered behind taking lots of photos and Logan was in front of me and behind her. We kind of do our own thing.

I love the trail markers. Johnny Morris really works on branding on his Bass Pro properties and you can see his influence on a number of things at Dogwood Canyon.

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There is a creek that runs the length of the property. It has a bunch of pools separated by waterfalls. The pools were full of big fat trout. Did I say that you could go fishing there?

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The canyon is full of features for photographers. Lots of beautiful scenery and the stream provides lots of opportunities for reflections. I would love to be here during the fall color.

I love all the little touches on the trail.

These markers on the various bridges are all works of art.

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There are just so many things to look at.

A huge building is the entry to the park and has displays on early American and Native American relics from the area.

We’ll be back.

This is the second visit here for us. Check out our first visit to the Canyon three years ago. I’m linking with Our World Tuesday, check it out.

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 – Turkey Mountain Hike

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The other day I went to my yoga class and decided that I wanted to go hiking or walking so I went to Turkey Mountain here in Tulsa.

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I parked in the lower lot, which I hardly ever do, and took the Red Trail which is kind of short. It has been a long time I have been on it. I was looking for just two miles or so. It was hot and humid.

About a quarter mile in on the trail I came across this electric cord strung across the trail. I have no idea why it was there. I hope somebody wasn’t trying to injure somebody. It was too high for a runner or walker but somebody on a horse could be injured or a bicyclist maybe sitting up. So I sent in the lat langs and the photo to the RiverParks office for them to take a look at it. I didn’t have any way of cutting it down. I have no idea why anybody would do such a dangerous thing.

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At the bottom of the Red Trail it was pretty muddy.

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And then you finish the Red Trail by going up to the parking lot on the paved trail. That was only about a mile so I wanted one more so I headed out on the Yellow Trail to get some extra distance.

RiverParks has put in a new selfie station on the trail. So here I am. Older, fatter, balder, and dumber than the last time you saw me.

I went out on an overlook I had never been on before and explored briefly a couple trails I had never been on. I could have sworn I have been on them all.

So here are my wibbly wobbly wanderings. No, I was not drunk!! I was pretty sweaty.

And from an earlier evening, a drone shot of the sunset from about 30 meters over our back yard.

And a morning skywatch shot from ground level.

And from three years ago plus or minus. A drilling rig in the STACK play of Oklahoma. The fracking vendor was setting up his frack tanks and positioning the pumps in preparation of fracking the well. You can see the green pipes laying on the ground. The gas gatherer is building their pipeline to the well pad. The well is fracked over a day or so and then they flow the water back from the well into tanks and then the gatherer takes the gas as soon as it is available. If the gatherer is a day late, the economic loss is permanent because you can’t flow twice as much the next day. So lots of pressure to get the timing right right on everything. Despite all that it was a pretty summer day in Oklahoma with beautiful clouds.

I hope that everybody is having a good week.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.

Skywatch Friday – Wichita Mountains Getaway

We took a few days off last week and headed to southwest Oklahoma to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge just north of Lawton, Oklahoma.

We stayed in a beautiful spacious cabin on top of a hill just a little ways out of town.

Talk about dark skies. We were able to track satellites as they passed overhead including the International Space Station. It really flew. Our Cabin was about a half mile from Fort Sill, on of the Army’s major training sites. They shot artillery all day long (big echoing booms) and at night hell really broke out. Some sort of big automatic gunfire and helicopters. We couldn’t see anything because of the mountains but we could sure here it. They keep those 20,000 stationed there busy, it sounded like.

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We drove to the top of Mount Scott and made a shadow selfie.

We saw lots of longhorn cattle.

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And grumpy looking bison. This was with a telephoto. We are not tourons when it comes to critters.

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This critter wasn’t too happy about it. I have a strict no handouts policy.

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We even saw some wild turkeys.

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The Ferguson house, rebuilt by the Friends of the Wichitas.

We looked at a recently preserved homesteaders house that burned down to the walls about ten years ago.

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We checked out the Holy City of the Wichitas, home of a long running passion play.

Bird Houses of Medicine Park II

In nearby Medicine Park, OK we saw some birdhouse cottages going up right by a lake. Aren’t they the cutest things? Or maybe they are the most darling things? You tell me.

We did lots of hiking. Some of was kind of rocky. This is not a spoof. See the trail marker by my wife’s left hand? This was the route.

But we were rewarded with some great views.

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And magnificent vistas. Have to tell you though, on our last full day Heather tripped twice on our last trail and is feeling it. She’s an exercise instructor so she has cancelled her more demanding classes.

And now a blast from the past. I took my father down here in 2007. He’d always wanted to see the refuge and we did. He’s an old Forest Service guy and the refuge was started by the Forest Service and he made sure to set the record straight with the volunteer at the visitor center.

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Anyways we visited the Holy City as part of our trip and I found a geocache in a boat they had as part of their set. Dad was pretty amazing. His mentor when Dad was a young Forest Ranger used to be Supervisor of the National Forest that included what is now the refuge. Dad knew the whole history. He could also look at woods miles off and spot old forest fires and guess at how long ago they ocurred.

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And here I am fourteen years later, older, older, a bit plumper, and still geocaching!! The one they had in the boat is gone though. I think the boat used to represent the Ark and now is the boat that the disciples were in during the storm and Jesus walked across the water to them.

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Here is another photo from our trip. We got into Fort Sill and got lost looking for Geronimo’s grave. Went down lots of back roads with ominous military warning signs saying we were off limits. but hey we got there. Geronimo’s grave is out in the middle of nowhere. It was a virtual geocache so at least I could use my GPS, I just couldn’t figure out the roads. Dad’s been gone a few years now and I sure do miss him. We had a good time on our little road trip.

So anyway we had a great time, my wife and I. One thing I’ll leave you with is: Oklahoma is no Colorado or Montana, but…

Mount Scott Sunset

Don’t let anybody tell you that Oklahoma doesn’t have mountains.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Turkey Mountain Evening Hike

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My knee has been feeling a little glitchy lately so I haven’t been walking like I was, let alone running. Sunday, I had been in the house all day watching football and working on paperwork so I went to Turkey Mountain for a short walk on a relatively flat trail. I went late evening, my favorite time on the mountain even though it was pretty chilly.

I came upon this early on. I was a little annoyed but I guess that one could call it a “painted rock.” I’ve put a few painted rocks out. They are like river rocks though not sandstone. I let it be.

I love the trees on Turkey Mountain. The old ones are all gnarled up. They survived numerous ice storms, wind storms, and more than just a few tornadoes. They are kind of eerie looking. I like eerie.

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As the sun went down some of the vegetation and grass had almost a fluorescent quality to it releasing a little bit of the light of the day.

I passed by one of the lakes on the mountain. This is about all we had for a sunset that night. The clouds were thick and low

Toward the end of my hike it was just plain dark. Nothing like being out in the woods all by yourself in the dark.

I am linking up at Our World Tuesday. Come check out the action there. Link up!!

Skywatch Friday – Snow!!

We finally got a decent snow in Tulsa the other day. I think they said it was the first appreciable amounts in seven years. We were supposed to get one to three inches but it came out five inches of very heavy wet snow.

I was glad to see it although it made for very tough shoveling. I shoveled our driveway and then I shoveled MIL’s. I could feel it so I took it easy but I still slept soundly after all that.

Here’s our house. I don’t do ladders any longer so the lights are low, very low in the case of the ones under the snow. They didn’t short out or anything, they just kept on burning.

And speaking of burning. I’ve mentioned that we are freshening up our house some. We had painters in and they removed the smoke detectors and they looked kind of dingy so I was checking to see what the replacements were and found out that our smoke detectors only have a ten year life and we have lived in the house for twenty years. Made me feel foolish and we now have new smoke detectors. Don’t be like me folks, if you have an ionization type detector check and see if they are still in date.

The whole situation with the snow and painters drove Lizzie to drink. She doesn’t like strangers in the house so these months of work have been hard on her.

Here’s a “go out to get the paper and snap a photo” skywatch shot. I’m lazy like that. You don’t have to travel far to get a nice shot sometimes. I post a lot of the shots on instagram. I am just glad that my neighbor finally got his car door damage repaired. I got as many comments about the car damage as I do the sky.

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Tuesday, several days after the snow, I ventured out to Turkey Mountain to check out the snow. I love hiking in the snow. The RiverParks Authority would just as soon people stay off the trails because of the muddy conditions but I went anyway. Don’t tell them okay? I got all sorts of rationalizations.

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I was plodding along and saw some movement and saw a herd of about eight deer off in the woods. Sorry about the quality of the photos. All I had was my point and shoot and my iphone.

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I stood there for about twenty minutes. The first ten, they all stared at me except for the little ones. After that all but one or two relaxed a little grazed and then they got tired of me and left.

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A little further along I came to a pond. I just love the reflections on it and the sky.

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I started taking trails I don’t usually take just to avoid the muddy more heavily used trails. There is nothing prettier than a single track trail through the snowy woods.

I saw this way off the trail and checked it out. It is some sort of oilfield apparatus. I had never seen it before. I thought I knew all the old abandoned wells, pumpjack foundations, abandoned pipelines, and cables on the mountain, but I guess I didn’t. One of the people with the River Parks Authority commented on my instagram that he didn’t know about this. So I made a find!!

By this time I was getting a little cold and tired so I took another single track path back to the Snake Trail to get back to the car. I really enjoyed my outing.

That’s about it, I am linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!