The other day I went for a hike on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area. Last time I was out I followed trails on the east side overlooking the Arkansas River. This time I took the west side trails.
I checked out the new trail segment that I helped build in early April along with a bunch of other people.
I got down close to the YMCA and turned back. I got along a segment paralleling 61st street thinking that that was the place to see deer. I looked up and there were two of them. I hardly ever see them in broad daylight.
We stayed there looking at each other for a couple minutes and they had enough and went on. Seeing deer on Turkey Mountain is a rare thing since the area became popular after a dipweed shopping center developer proposed an outlet mall on the mountain. (They dropped the project after overwhelming community opposition.)
One of the huge sports events in Tulsa is Tulsa Tough. A series of bicycle rides and races over three days that includes everything from a “Townie Ride” of a few miles to long distance rides and everybody’s favorite the Criterium Races which are short races on a closed loop of multiple laps. The criterium races attract professional riders from all over the world. Most of the riders though are talented amateurs.
Last Year’s Tulsa Tough was cancelled as were all sorts of other events all over the world. This year it was back bigger than ever.
I participated in the the shortest distant event two years ago at about 30 miles and got my butt thoroughly kicked. I didn’t even finish. We were going by where my car was parked and I was like, I am cutting this agony short. I hope you are not too shocked by my cowardly craven decision. If you are, that is kind of your problem (just kidding folks.)
So Sunday it was hot and I went out to the Criterium Course, officially something like the RiverParks Criterium but everybody calls it CryBaby Hill. It is a short course that starts on the Riverside Drive and then climbs up a steep hill and then comes down the hill and turns back on to Riverside a turn well sharper than 90 degrees. Do this about 14 times and you have the race. Sunday it was done in 90 degree temperatures.
These guys and gals are very tough and very fit. I walked one loop Sunday and I was done. I left well before noon before it got hot.
So you got a race going on but you also have a big party that has approached legendary proportions. I’ve always left over the years before the legendary part.
I’ve never spent too much time on Crybaby Hill. For one thing it is in residential neighborhood with no sidewalks so it is kind of crowded. Plus I don’t do well when I’m hot. I’m told the party really gets crazy after 3 pm.. Well Sunday I was gone before noon. So sorry, I missed it.
I think everybody is really glad to get back to normal. I just hope that we are not doing it too soon. I don’t feel too threatened since I am vaccinated and try to stick with outdoor events. Our world has forever changed though. But for these last three days Tulsa celebrated a return to normalcy.
Early Saturday morning I headed out to the northwest side of Turkey Mountain in Tulsa for two things. First to check out the grand opening of the reconstructed YMCA, formerly known as the “West Side Y” and now known as the Herman and Kate Kaiser YMCA and to run in the first ever “Backyard Blaze 5K Trail Race” sponsored by the Y.
The old Y was like an old school summer camp. It had the basics but you could tell they were on a shoe string budget. They did a lot with what they had. The new Y is amazing. They have a Lodge (above) with lounges, meeting rooms, a ball room, and administrative offices.
They have some brand new playgrounds.
I noticed that the playgrounds had QR codes so that dumb kids who didn’t know how to on them could figure it out with their smart phones.
They had a full day of activities scheduled for the grand opening. I thought about doing the yoga in addition to the race but I didn’t bring my mat and I didn’t want to get their brand new mats dirty with my sweat and trail dust. Besides I was hungry.
And of course all this takes money. Here’s the donor wall. Tulsa is fortunate to have a bunch of well heeled oil and gas people who are willing to put up the bucks when it comes time for community investments. And this is just a few years after the Gathering Place sucked up 465 million dollars from the local community for its construction.
My former employer had a sign all their own. I am proud that they have always been willing to contribute heavily to community investments.
Lake Logan is unchanged except for a new fishing dock.
In all my years of hiking and running Turkey Mountain I have never seen wild turkeys. Saturday was my chance. They were clear across the lake moving. I hope that you can see them in the video. All I had was my cell phone so I couldn’t magnify it much. Now I’ll have to quit calling people liars who say they have seen them. I’m not apologizing though. These turkeys look like new residents to me. How can I tell you ask? It is rude of you to ask is what I say. I’m training to be a politician.
Enough for all that. Mitch Drummond called everybody to order gave us the instructions which for trail races is pretty simple. Don’t get lost and if you do, good luck to you. And off we went. Or rather, off they went. I’m slow.
I haven’t been running for quite some time but still I trotted the smooth downhills from time to time and walked the rocks and the uphills. I hate falling!!
Most of the trail was on the pipeline trail. You can see why. You can also see that with all the rain, the vegetation was thick. I had forgot to spray myself with deet so I was hoping the ticks and triggers would leave me alone.
At times we were running through a little narrow channel in the woods.
And then we ran back to the Y via the pipeline trail. And no, I am not leading the race. Everybody else, most everybody anyway, had pulled away from me.
One last shot showing Lake Logan and the finish line across the way.
I finished vertically and so I was happy with my first in person race since the pandemic started. (I did a couple virtual runs which are not nearly so fun but crucial fund raisers for some outfits.) It made me realize how much I had missed running through the woods, races, and trail races especially.
Here’s a video of the route. It had some major squiggles on trails but it was all easy to follow on the ground. Part of the race when down a trail that I helped build a couple months ago and that was cool.
I give an A+ to the new Y and to the organizers of the race. The course, the timing folks, the course markings, the shirt and the wooden medal giveaway were all top rate. There was no beer but really, this is a YMCA sponsored event so nobody was expecting any. I’ll be back for their next event.
We are having a very wet and cool Spring here in Tulsa. We get soaked with rain for a day or two and then the sun comes out and all the mosquitoes celebrate!
I like the cloudy skies because they make for more interesting photographs. I like the sunny days because they are fun for walking or riding my bike.
I go outside with the dogs every morning to keep them from barking and bothering the neighbors. Sometimes though when I let them out and their are rabbits and squirrels in the yard the dogs are going to bark, and bark a lot!! And then if there are other dogs in the neighborhood barking, then our dogs are going to do what I call “Update their Barkbook Status”
Sometimes one can get pretty decent skywatch photos from your own home. I got this last week when I was out retrieving the paper. I think papers are a thing of the past. Used to be almost everybody had a paper on our street, now I think we are the only one.
Son and I went walking around Tulsa’s Lafortune Park and I noticed that some kids were playing baseball at Lafortune Stadium. I think it was what used to be called Pony League. I think they have a different name for them now. I love baseball, at any level, from peewee t-ball up to the major leagues. Tulsa has a AA Los Angeles affiliated team, the Tulsa Drillers. They didn’t play last year, I’m hoping to catch a few games this year if it seems safe to do so.
This is another Route 66 site. The Rhett Mansion in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. The former home of an oilfield gazillionaire back in 1911. It is now a wedding venue and from what I can tell on their web page and it has been very nicely restored and furnished. I love when historical buildings are repurposed into profitable enterprises. Not every building is suitable to be a museum.
The thing about Route 66 is that is more like a threaded stream of roads. The original road was called the Osage Trail. They didn’t build the Trail from scratch, they pieced together a bunch of existing roads and called them that. And since the start the various states would replace sections of Route 66 with new, wider, more modern roads and the old “alignments” as they are called reverted to being just local county roads. On one of these forgotten alignments sits the Teepee Drive in Theater on the outskirts of Sapulpa. It closed in 1990 and has sat there ever since. Apparently somebody wants to reopen it. So we’ll see what happens.
I know that I am on a little bit of Route 66 thing right now. Two things, first there are a lot of geocaches on it now in the Tulsa area especially the new Adventure Lab geocaches and I turned 66 last month so I am on a “66 on 66” type thing right now.
I wish everybody a great week! I am linking with Skywatch Friday, come check it out.
The YMCA has shut down to totally renovate their facility and are opening up this summer. It’s going to be great and one of the things they wanted was more defined and easier to hike trails to connect their property with the rest of Turkey Mountain. The existing trails are badly eroded and unmarked and many of their day campers who go off hiking get lost.
So the Riverparks staff and a few of the officers from the Wilderness Coalition mapped out a new trail that should make everybody happy. Y daycampers, and the many hikers and mountain bikers that use the trail. It features some switchbacks which should reduce erosion problems.
Everybody grabbed shovels, picks, saws, loppers and got to work and we got the new trail pretty much done in a few hours. People started using the new trail while we were in the middle of building it.
It’ll take some finishing touches but they started putting up my trail markers right away.
And we spent some time closing off the old badly eroded trail with fallen branches. It needs to heal.
We celebrated our work with a few adult beverages in the parking lot afterward. Everybody was very proud of the work done. It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning.
And up pops a map on a facebook page showing the old and closed routes. I am stealing this map also. I am leading quite the life of crime lately. Anyway you can see the new route is longer, not near as steep, and with switchbacks. Hopefully erosion will be more easily controlled on the new route.
I was in the Tulsa suburb of Owasso last week. They have revamped their downtown area in the last several years and I was checking it out.
So this is my first ever shadow view, as far as I can remember (the only thing I can remember these days is that I have a bad memory.) It’s next to their history museum.
They have a big outdoor event space as well with some interesting shadows.
I like how the shadows interacted with the brick in this shot.
And a run of the mill bench shadow but you know I am easily amused.
I am a fan of back alleys so I tucked down one and found this set of electric meters. The engineer in me loves stuff like this that is designed and is so cool, functional, and geometric. Just wait a few years and somebody will mess it up, happens every time. Entropy. I kind of like the rust colored paint job as well. It’s almost red.
And a waterogue app rendition of our back patio when it was raining earlier this month. I love the blue cushions. I may have posted this photo previously. Maybe not.
Photos by friend Cheri Lou whose family operates a ranch in western Oklahoma. She goes and snaps photos and sends them to me. I love them. I edited them a little bit.
In case you are wondering, this one’s name is Red. I wonder why?
Here’s a calf getting breakfast. They are always so earnest.
Here’s a family photo. Getting them to line up is like herding cats. In the back you can see some guard donkeys. They protect the herd from coyotes and other predators. They are pretty comical in their own right.
Friday I ventured down the turnpikes from Tulsa to Chickasha to pick the kid up at college. He is done for the semester, can you believe it? Seven week semester break until school starts up again. What’s up with that? Anyway, I went through Oklahoma City on the way down and had some time so I stopped at the Skybridge spanning I-40 near downtown. The light was too bright for a decent photo. At least a photo with my humble skills.
LoveLocks have hit Oklahoma. Dozens of them. This one had a couple rings with it. I tried, I couldn’t remove them.
So what’s up with this? Three locks only two of which are interlocked although they are on the same theme. Is the a protocol to these things? How do I translate.
And then this? Hmmm, is it scandalous or just a family with three people. I’ll let you decide.
If you have followed me for any length of time, you know that I am an active geocacher. (Check what geocaching is here and here.) It is a scavenger hunt using a GPS device (or the gps function of your smart phone) to find objects hidden in the world by other people. To me it is an interesting combination of the physical world with the online realm with a significant social component. I have hidden over twenty caches and have found close to 1800 in the years I have been doing it.
Often geocachers use the game to bring attention to significant spaces such as works of art, special outdoor areas, and historical items. I noticed that somebody had placed a cache close to Tulsa with a reference to Blue Duck’s grave site. That immediately got my attention. The Blue Duck I was thinking about was the character in Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove” series of books. So I went to find the cache and see the grave site.
I didn’t find the cache but I found the grave of Bluford Duck. Born in 1858 into the Cherokee tribe he was already an outlaw in the 1870’s in Oklahoma Territory, cattle rustling, bank robbing, and horse stealing was his trade. In 1884 he and two of his compadres killed a farmer named Samuel Wyrich for no reason. Duck was apprehended and sentenced to die by hanging by the Hanging Judge, Isaac Parker, of Forth Smith, Arkansas. His sentence was later commuted to Life in prison. He got tuberculosis in prison and was released and died soon thereafter in 1895 and buried in this humble cemetery in the Tulsa suburb of Catoosa.
Besides being a “notorious outlaw” (are not all old west outlaws, “notorious”), Duck’s claim to fame was being romantically involved with Belle Starr, another “notorious outlaw.”
And here are the love birds. (Note the manacles on Duck’s wrists.) You can tell he is an outlaw because he is wearing a black hat. He is an attractive looking guy though. Starr though looks a little rough in my opinion. (I’d of never told her that to her face you understand. Notorious outlaws are a little twitchy about stuff like that.)
Larry McMurty’s character, Blue Duck, has no relation to the Cherokee Blue Duck besides being “notorious outlaws.” McMurty’s Blue Duck is combined Mexican and Comanche descent and killed a lot more than one person. From what I read, there is no evidence that McMurtry even knew about the Oklahoma Blue Duck. But hey, he might have. Blue Duck is a great name for an outlaw especially the notorious kind.
I love finding stuff like this that helps make history more real. My favorite is from a German POW’s grave at Fort Reno, Oklahoma that I just randomly googled and found out he, Johannes Kunze, was murdered by his fellow POWs for being a snitch. The Germans were prosecuted for the crime during the war by Leon Jaworski, who later led the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Read the post here.
Have you ever found the grave of somebody who is “almost famous.”
Friday afternoon Heather and I took off way past Sand Springs to the Keystone Trail which is on US Corps of Engineers Dam near Keystone Dam and Lake.
It’s a six mile plus or minus loop that is popular with the mountain bikers in the area. When we got there there was only one other person in the parking lot. We took the loop in a clcokwise direction and he took his bike counterclockwise and met him on the trail. We saw nobody else the whole time and ours was the only car in the parking lot when we left.
We didn’t see any deer, we saw lots of squirrels and this guy.
And these two, not friendly at all. I think we were interrupting something.
And rocks, we saw lots of rocks, big beautiful rocks. We didn’t see hardly any litter though. We walked through some spider webs which means that the trail was not very busy.
The trails were well designed and maintained. Not much erosion going on.
We even saw a little fall color. I think coming back in a month the forest would be beautiful with color.
Here’s a 38 second video of our hike. We went every which way. We covered about five miles in all and loved it.