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.
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!!!
Friday morning I talked son Logan into going on a hike with me to Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center.
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.
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.
Here’s my hiking companion, son Logan who has started a couple classes in the local community college’s Paralegal Program.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
And looking straight west. Not a drop of rain in them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Several fly fisherman were on the water with their waders and long rods.
I have done a little fly fishing but I was wishing I had a simple Zebco rod and reel, some worms, and a bobber.
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.
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.
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.
We didn’t see hardly anybody the whole time.
The weather was sunny and cool. That’s Logan in blue to the back.
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.
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.
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!!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.