Tag Archives: Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Snow Moon and More

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The latest full moon, yep, I amped it up too much so it is a little grainy. My bad. I like it though.

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I never get tired of Tulsa’s downtown skyline, as humble as it is.

I never get tired of seeing the flag wave in a stiff breeze. I think everybody should be proud of their country. Since I started tracking it, people from 152 countries have visited my humble blog. I wish them all well.

A local Pony League baseball field. Baseball is right around the corner!!

I am linking with Skywatch Friday.

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.

Skywatch Friday – Still Looking Up!

Things change fast around here in northeast Oklahoma. Just a few days ago it was freezing and we had snow on the ground.

And then it warmed up! Way past my sweet spot. My sweet spot in the winter is in the 40’s. It keeps the snakes brumating and the ticks and chiggers at bay.

So it has been pleasant the past few days.

On Valentines Day Heather and I spent the afternoon together. We toured Philbrook Museums galleries and gardens, lunched at the tony Utica Square shopping center and then shopped at Trader Joe’s.

Today, son Logan and I hiked two miles and change on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain. It was glorious.

I saw this strange double bent tree. My bet is that it is haunted. Turkey Mountain has a long history of outlaws, moonshiners, fourtune hunters, drug labbers, railroaders, ranchers, and worst of all oilfield workers (aka oilfield trash.) So yeah, there is a lot of haunting going on.

They are busy at even more things to play on the mountain. We chatted with the guy building this thing. He and his 87 year grandfather are working on it. It’s going to be for mountain bikers. It looks like a crappy way to die to me.

So that is it for this week. I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.

Skywatch Friday – The Big Warmup

We’ve had a warm spell lately and life is glorious now. I can fly my drone without it going all “Danger Will Robinson” on me.

We have had a contractor replacing our backyard fence in something besides a rainy/snowy/icy windstorm.

I was able to go hiking without risking hypothermia.

And I went on a long bike ride Monday along the Arkansas River. It was crowded, every old retired guy in town had the same idea and were out cruising the river in their cargo shorts.

So yep, this week has been good. How about yours!

I’m linking to Skywatch Friday

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.

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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.

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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!!

Skywatch Friday – Cold Snowy Spell

From the Front Porch

It has been a week! We have had some wicked cold weather and a little bit of snow.

Last Friday, my brother got sick and we spent hours in the emergency room. Turns out he had covid. So they bundled him up and sent back to his residence where he is being isolated for a while. I went home and tested negative but have been self isolating for five days. So stay at home, no gym nor anything else where people are. Low single digits inhibited me from doing anything outside so I’ve been a couch potato.

I had this bright idea of taking the drone out to various places around town and launching it. First though the batteries were all low and it took hours to charge them up. I went on a little test run in the back yard and I got just a little ways up in the air and the drone went crazy and one of the motors started barking. The screen on the controller said “Too Cold” so I nixed that but I got a few photos showing the snow in the neighborhood.

Normally with as sunny as it is our one inch would be gone but it is sticking around because it is so cold.

It took me about 20 minutes to push the snow off the driveway and walkways. If I didn’t it would turn to ice. Now that is really fun to deal with, especially when you are 68 years old!

So tomorrow I’ll self test and I’ll be free again!! (If I test negative) Plus it will be warmer outside. Probably going to be too muddy to go hiking ethically but I’ll find something else to do. Don’t you worry!! And my brother is doing okay as well. He is apartment is kind of small and he is going stir crazy. They will be testing him and if negative, he’ll be free as well! Being free is good in my book.

Sleepy Neighborhood

The other thing that happened last week is that I got notified by the internet company that hosts my blog that I had way too much traffic on it and it wasn’t coming from my friendly global blogging friends. It was coming under attack by evildoers! Traffic was up by a factor of 47,000!! They said fix it or we are going to shut you off. They were nice about it though. They sent a bunch of data on what was happening and gave me seven tasks I could do that would probably work.

Hey, couldn’t go anywhere, so the next day I went through the seven things with a sense of dread. Computerspeak is like a foreign language but with the links they provided I was able to tighten up security and upgrade things and it only took a few hours so I asked them to evaluate again and they said I fixed it and complemented me on how quickly I got-er done. Whew, big sigh of relief. My motto on the blog is if it is not broke don’t fix it. Turns out that is not too smart.

So that is about it for this week! I am linking with Skywatch Friday and My Corner of the World.

Road Trip Skywatch

On our recent trip to Colorado to see family after Christmas we took a southern route through the Oklahoma panhandle and New Mexico to avoid some snowy weather. Tell you what the panhandle has some big skies and great vistas. Heather took over the driving for a while so I took some pics with my phone.

Sorry for the internal reflections!!

We drove by this train in the late afternoon. I loved the late afternoon light on the boxcars. The line was at least a mile long.

And a little bit later we got a good sunset.

And a great reverse sunset looking east via the mirror.

I just love it when Heather drives. I get to take photos and I also regale here with fascinating (to me) information via Wikipedia on all the small towns we go through. I don’t know why but she always turns up the volume on the radio when I am trying to give her a good tidbit of information. She keeps saying stuff like “I don’t care.” Oh well. Not much she can do about it since she is driving, right?

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.

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