Tag Archives: My Corner of the World

Turkey Mountain Work Day

A bunch of people got up early last Sunday morning and headed out to Tulsa Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness for a Work Day. I’m a member of the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition, the organizer of the event. Lots of people from the community joined in. Notice the camera lady interviewing the President of TUWC? Check this link on the coverage they provided of the event.

It was a perfect storm of great weather and great publicity. Also, there was a promised pancake breakfast. All told about 70 or so people showed up to work on a variety of project. Everything from picking up litter and lopping trees and brush on the trails to some heavy duty trail armoring involving moving heavy rocks (100 pounds or so) to help with erosion control. There were also fence building projects to separate hikers from the downhill bicycle trails, and other erosion control projects.

The various projects were described and people gathered around the designated project leads for what they wanted to do. All tools and equipment are provided. We ask participants to bring gloves, water, and appropriate clothing. I was the designated lead for those who wanted to pick up litter and clear limbs. I ended up with about ten or so people of all ages, including some Boy Scouts and their moms and a dad. So we got our garbage bags and loppers and off we went to clear out the Snake Trail.

It took us about two hours to work on the two miles of designated trails. Everybody stayed with it very well.

I had another event to go to so I didn’t get to participate in the pancake breakfast but from all reports it was a success. I think everyone involved enjoyed the event and they really did some good. Check out the TUWC facebook page for over a hundred other photographs and some more descriptions of the work that was done.

I am linking with My Corner of the World

Skywatch Friday – Geocaching Adventure at Lake Bixhoma

Lake Bixhoma is a water supply lake for the Tulsa suburb of Bixby. It is known for its clean water and protection from wind since it is surrounded on three sides by hills. It has a few hiking trails that are known for being kind of tough plus they have all sorts of venomous snakes there. I’ve been lucky and never seen one except for a water snake last year. The place also has a geocache that has not been found in four years. So I wanted to do two things. Find the cache and hike completely around the lake which I have never done before. I also wanted to lessen the chances of serpent encounter by doing the hike while the snakes were still in brumation (the snake form of hibernation.)

So I started off at the beginning. I couldn’t make heads nor tails of this map at the time. All I wanted to do was avoid the “snake farm” indicated on the upper part of the map. Off I went. You don’t really need a map. Just keep the lake in sight and you’ll be okay. That turned out not to be totally true.

The trail is a mix of old road, nice single track and some pretty technical rocky sections.

Old Picnic Pavillion

They used to have a road that went deeper into the park and had picnic pavilions, restrooms and such. These are now abandoned.

Old Model T Axle

There is evidence of old farms and houses here. I’m told that this is a model T axle. How it got there, I don’t know.

There is a little creek flowing into the lake.

Woman Crossing Creek

Last year I came looking for the cache and turned back at this creek crossing. I had my good camera with me and no walking stick. So I didn’t want to take a tumble into the water. This year I came upon a young woman who had two dogs on leash who was considering the crossing and went ahead and did it even though the dogs were pulling here pretty hard. I said, okay if she can do it I can so I got across with dry feet.

Soon after crossing I started deadheading to the cache. No trail so I was going around thorns and such. Found me this old turtle shell.

And a skull of some unlucky critter.

I got to ground zero which was almost on the lake. It looks like one could take a kayak almost all the way there. In fact almost all the previous finders used a kayak but had to beach it in marshy areas and get all muddy coming in.

I looked for the cache for an hour. I was envisioning something big like an ammo box. I was convinced that the cache had gone missing. “Muggled” they say in the geocaching world. I looked for it for an hour or so and couldn’t find it. I had marked ground zero with my blue water bottle and when I gave up looking for the cache well then I couldn’t find my bottle. So I had to hunt for the water bottle and when I found it, I saw the cache. Which is why I marked the zero point with my bottle. I could have saved an hour, oh well.

The thing is that the cache container’s top had been chewed by some critter and the container was level full of water. So I obviously could not sign the log. I’m still claiming it! I logged the find online and cache owner got back with me and said that they would replace the container.

So then I hiked out. Since I wanted to circumnavigate the lake I had to take the long way out. It was a mile and a half to the cache site and I hike almost two and a half miles to get back out. A good time was had by all is my motto.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday and My Corner of the World.

A Rainy Afternoon at the 2024 Tulsa Boat Show

I went to the Tulsa Boat Show on a rainy day last weekend and here he is what I saw.

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Lots of personal watercraft on display. I’ve never been on one of these and I think it would be a blast. I know people who cannot afford boats buy these things now. They are the size of a small boat.

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I loved the color of this boat.

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Our sheriff’s department brought one of their boats. I think riding in one of these would also be fun.

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There were a couple of vintage wooden boats on display, not for sale. This is a 1959 Riva Ariston built in Italy. It is named Bella Vita which means “Beautiful Life.”

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I cannot imagine putting it in the water. It is number 219 of 1021 built.

This is a 1955 Chris Craft Cobra 21′. It’s also gorgeous. Number 18 of only 56 built.

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And back to boats for sale. They had a bunch of pontoon boats. My in-laws had one and it was fun.

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And bass boats. I saw one for $91,000. I bought a used bass boat when I lived near a lake in Texas back in the day. It was used and I think I paid like $400 and sold it back to the guy I bought it from for $400. The two happiest days of my life were the day I bought and the day I sold it.

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Lots of little light weight travel trailers. I love the retro design of this one. It had the door at the back.

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This was probably the most popular trailer. I had to stand in place for a while before traffic cleared out so I could take a photo. A trailer with a back deck and loft sleeping areas. It also is a rear entry.

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The interior is cool.

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Here’s another two story trailer but not near as nice. So I guess the kids sleep up top to give mom and dad a little privacy?

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And some RV’s. Here is a truck conversion.

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And here is a deluxe version.

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They had four wheelers for sale.

And two wheelers.

Anyway, it was a nice day to spend a rainy couple of hours. I don’t buy anything, I just like looking.

I am linking with My Corner of the World. Go check it out!!

My Corner of the World – The Flycatcher Trail

I was at an event recently that had a bunch of people with associated with environmental and conservation groups. I got to talking with somebody was with the Tulsa Audubon Society and she mentioned they partner with Jenks School District, close to Tulsa, on an outdoor classroom located right next to one of the schools. That perked my interest up and she said it was just a fraction of an acre but was packed with all sorts of stuff. She said it had an attractive water feature that local photographers use and was open to the public.

It has been cold, wet, and rainy here and so my outdoor time has been limited but one day we got a little break in the rain so I went to find it. Iphone maps was no help but I knew what school it was by and found it that way. It’s called the Flycatcher Trail. Check out their web page and their facebook page. They are very active with work days and other events. You will also find a better physical address than Apple Maps has for it.

So I went looking for it and found it and it is as advertised. Lots of and lots of things in a very small space, and very well done.

They have habitat with birds, insects, and small critters.

A very nice water feature with a space for photography.

They have small winding trails going this way..

and thay way

leading to purple moutain houses

and two chimney swift towers

They are also a demonstration garden so they have things like this rain barrel. We get lots of rain in Oklahoma so a rain barrel can come in handy.

Anyways, this was a fun find. I love how they get the kids involved in it. Anything we can do to get kids off devices and checking into nature is a good thing.

I’m linking with My Corner of the World.

Armchair Skywatching

For whatever reasons I haven’t been out much since the first part of this month. Too cold, too rainy, blah blah blah. I’ve got lots of excuses. 

The above is a tree in my backyard. We are still waiting on a new fence. I’ve paid the guy a deposit now we just need it to stop raining.

owen park 1

This photo and the two following are of Tulsa’s Own Park just northwest of downtown Tulsa. I think it may be Tulsa’s oldest park. It has fallen by the wayside. The city keeps the grass mowed, picks up litter, and chases off vagrants and such but it has been abandoned to the neighborhood and they seem to love it.

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It is such an old place and feels settled in. And over the years their have been lots of geocaches planted there so I was there in December hunting down a couple of new ones.

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And I love the pond. It is home to quite a menagerie of waterfowl. I think many of them are escaped or released pets.

panhandle 1-studio

This is a re-edit (all the photos in the post are re-edits) of a shot I took during out trip in December to Colorado Springs. We drove through the Oklahoma panhandle. You can see forever out there. I found the big sky and lonely highway exhilarating.

Bales Park Tree

This is a tree on a hilltop at Tulsa’s Bales Park from a hike I took a year ago. (Another re-edit.) It was a dark, cold day and I had the place to myself. You cannot really tell from the photo but the hill in the background is the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area. Between Bales Park and Turkey Mountain is a four lane limited access highway, US 75.

Turkey Mountain - mysteries

Speaking of Turkey Mountain this is re-edited photo of some sort of bicycle obstacle built there by volunteers. Back in the day, Turkey Mountain was pretty wild. The powers that be lightly administered it. They certainly didn’t build and maintain sustainable trails like they do now. So people, especially the bicyclists, would haul in lumber and build their own features. All over the place. Most of it was pretty rickety. It was wonder nobody died. At least I don’t think anybody died. If they did, I think the other bikers might have just dug a shallow hole, dragged the pour soul into it, covered them up, toasted him or her with a beer and kept on keeping on. Snitches get stitches is their motto.

I’m linking to My Corner of the World and Skywatch Friday. Check them out!!

Oklahoma’s Thomas Smith Cemetery

I have a hobby called geocaching which involves finding objects hidden in various places by other people. Sometimes searching for the geocaches takes me to very interesting places and that happened recently when I was looking for a geocache in rural Oklahoma just east of the town of Broken Arrow. It was a cemetery.

It was a small place called the Thomas Smith Cemetery. The sign also said that it was started in 1902 by Mr. Smith from his allotment of 160 acres and that he was a Creek Freedman and also a Muskogee Creek Nation Citizen. The sign also said Muskogee Creek Indian Freedman Band. So I had a lot of questions like what is a Creek Freedman? What does it mean to be a Muskogee Creek Nation Citizen and who is the Muskogee Creek Indian Freedman Band.

So I turned to my friend, the internet and found out that a Creek Freedman was a black person, who was probably also a slave owned by a Creek Nation Citizen. These slaves were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation and according to a treaty with the United States soon thereafter, the Creek Nation agreed that the freedmen were to be members of the nation.

Later when the United States took away communal tribal land in Oklahoma, they allocated it to tribal members via the Dawes Commission. Things were rocked along until 1979 when the Muskogee Nation adopted a new constitution that among other things ejected the Freedman from the Muscogee Nation. Thus the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band was formed in order to advance the interests of the Creek Freedmen and regain citizenship with the Creek Nation. I got all this information from their excellent website. I hope I didn’t make too much of a hash of the information. Further I read that in September 2023 a Creek Nation Judge ruled that Freedman must be admitted as citizens of the Nation. I find the whole matter fascinating. The Nation is appealing the ruling.

I also found a 2021 press release from the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band announcing their acquisition of the Thomas Smith Cemetery. It provides a lot of historical information and discusses some of the people interred there.

The one I was most intrigued with was William Lacy, a one time slave who fought for the Union during the Civil War with the USCI which I found out was the “United States Colored Infantry.” There were also grave stones for people who fought in both world wars and the Vietnam War. Also interred there are people who who were affected by the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Who’d of thought that a very small country cemetery out in the middle of nowhere would have so much history packed into it including issues that are ongoing today?

Linking with My Corner of the World

2024 New Year’s Day Family Hike

After our recent post Christmas trip to Colorado Springs to see family, we felt the need to get outside and walk a little bit so we ventured up to the North Woods segment of the Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center to get a couple miles of fresh air and sunshine.

It was a great day. Cool, sunny, and very little wind. The North Woods loop is very pedestrian friendly, flat, no rocks, and no bicycles allowed. We did encounter a couple of friendly bikers. I wasn’t even irritated. The ground was solid so they were not messing up the trail and they were good natured and there were only two of them.

I brought my “good” camera with the 300 mm lens hoping I would see some birds or other critters. I saw flashes of birds and birds way up high, and birds in very thick underbrush. I saw a group of four or five deer running parallel to us about a 100 yards away, but no, no photos on the trail. I got some grainy duck photos of waterfowl on a pond. I will post them tomorrow on my Saturday’s Critters post.

Very rarely do we I see anybody on this particular trail but we saw four or five groups on our outing. That was okay. Lots of room for everybody still.

Captured some fungi images! They are easy, they don’t hide.

A good time was had by all!!

I am linking up with Skywatch Friday and My Corner of the World.

A Walk in the Woods

Last week it rained for a whole day or two then it got cold. Turkey Mountain was closed to bikers but open for hikers. So off I went.

As usual I traversed a combination of legacy trails and new trails.

The new trails, thanks to their water shedding design were not muddy at all. By now the trails are very hard packed almost like pavement. The old trails were okay but a bit muddy at times.

It is amazing. There are no guards at the trails or rangers or anything and yet the bikers stayed away. I think most of the users are invested in the trails now and comply with the requests to stay off after rains. Bikers especially turn out huge for the trail work days and really buy into keeping the sustainable trails in good shape.

So on my hike I only saw a few other people, all of them hikers. No bikers nor signs of bikers at all.

I love trees in the wintertime. We get to see their bones and the results of them stretching up to the sky to get some sun.

I also love seeing the dead wood in the woods. You couldn’t buy a sculpture like this at any price. Turkey Mountain is an old growth forest. They don’t cut down old snags and they don’t clear the woods of them either. Sure they have done a little bit of controlled burns and mulching and their clear trails of fallen limbs and trees but they just push the wood off to the side of the trail. Dead trees make great habitat for all sorts of little critters.

I love the rocks on Turkey Mountain. Above is from a large outcropping called Rock City.

Muddy Boots

My boots got a little muddy.

And I had a great time. All by myself.

Kind of reminds me of a line from Mary Oliver’s “How I Go to the Woods”

“…If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.”

Three plus miles at my own pace.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday and My Corner of the World

Where Is It?

I’m a geocacher and have been at it for years. Geocaching is a combination real life/online hobby where one goes and finds caches out in the world hidden by others. Check out my Geocaching 101 post and Geocaching.com for more information.

I got a notification from geocaching.com about a new cache nearby so I went to check it out. It was in a patch of dense woods with no trails or anything. I had anticipated that so I did not wear my “good” clothes to go find it. Too many thorns and sticks that can rip clothes otherwise.

So I got pretty far in and thinking, “this is ridiculous” so I did a 360 video to show how dense the woods are with the multitude of skinny closely packed trees.

I went in a little further and found this old rotten wreath. This could be considered a “geobeacon” or just a decoy. The cache is supposedly located within a few feet of it but it shows to be very tiny. So I couldn’t find it even though I spent about twenty minutes looking for it. And it was getting dark and a little cold as the sun went down so I “plugged and abandoned” as we say in the energy industry and left the premises.

However, as I emerged from the woods I was treated to a great sunset. Sometimes it’s all about the hunt is what I think. Some you find, some you don’t but it’s all fun.

I’m linking with My Corner of the World and Skywatch Friday

Mariachi Birthday

My mother-in-law had a birthday recently. She went on a trip years ago to Mexico and fell in love with Mariachi Music and has said she wants such a band at her funeral. Her housekeeper, who is from Mexico, said that my MIL should have a Mariachi band while alive so the housekeeper arranged a surprise visit by a band she knew recently.

A few friends and family were visiting and then the doorbell rang and in came the band singing.

They sang for an hour. It was marvelous. My MIL was very happy. The group has been together for years and they only do private events all over northeast Oklahoma.

What a great birthday gift!! None of us there will ever forget it.

I’m linking with My Corner of the World