Tag Archives: Trails

2022 Tess 5K Trail Run

Last Saturday I got up bright and early and headed out to Turkey Mountain to run the Tess 5K Trail Run sponsored by the Tristesse Grief Center here in Tulsa.

I decided to go ahead and do a video of the start. After I was done videoing I had to loop around the timer’s truck and across the starting line myself.

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A treat for me on this race is that most of it was done on the brand new sustainable trails constructed in the last year. Especially nice was the new trail from the lower parking lot up to the upper level of Turkey Mountain. Those old trails have gotten worse and worse over the years. It got so bad that I hadn’t used them in a long time.

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The new trails are like a super highway through the woods. Another benefit is the chances of getting ticks and chiggers from the grass is way less. Also it is easier to pass other people and there is lots of room for both bicyclists and hikers/runners on the trail.

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Pretty soon I had passed a small bunch of people and was way behind the pack. That’s alright, I was looking for a great hike through the woods. My running days are over. I do admit though on the smooth slightly downhill stretches I did trot a bit. Probably not over three or four hundred yards total.

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And here we split off from the superhighway headed to the left and headed right to one of the legacy trails.

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And up the rock garden after we turned south. I got an impromptu invite to a private geological tour of Turkey Mountain last week. I learned that the trail above is caused by alternating layers of shale and sandstone. As the shale layers dissolve and wash away the brittle sandstone breaks and falls down forming a kind of steps. Yep, the steps are ankle breakers!!

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I also learned the top of Turkey Mountain is 300 million years old and has been submerged and re-emerged under a huge inland sea five times by a combination of tectonic and weathering forces. The guy showed us rocks that used to be sand on a beach and lots of little fossilized shellfish embedded in the rocks. It was amazing.

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Enough geology for now. We made the loop and headed down the superhighway to the finish. All I can say is that I finished vertically. I didn’t place in my age group. Last year I finished first in my age group. Oh well I finished.

It was a great race, it was easy to register and they had lots of volunteers helping out. Timing was by Tatur, the best in the business in my opinion. They had lots of snacks and water for the participants and I think everybody left happy I know I did.

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They didn’t have beer this year so I had one at home later on. In fact I might have had more than one, I’m not sure. They had tshirts but they are mailing me mine as I registered a little too late to actually get a tshirt at the event.

Tess 5K Trail Run

I’ll be back next year, here is my post from the 2021 Tess Trail Run.

A big thank to the Tristesse Grief Center, their staff and volunteers who helped, Tatur Racing, and my fellow racers.

I am linking to My Corner of the World. Check it out!.

A Tour of Tulsa’s Lubell Park

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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday – go check it out!!

Skywatch Friday – Hiking and Baseball

Earlier this week I went out to Turkey Mountain to see if the Monarch Waystation needed watering. It didn’t so I decided to go for a walk on Turkey Mountain.

Instead of going to the upper parking lot for my walk I started from the lower parking lot. I haven’t done that much in the last several years because of the dismal state of the trails going up hill but I was told that that had changed and sure enough very soon I saw the old trail was closed and a new trail was open. And it was lovely, instead of going straight up the hill it goes up gently with a bunch of switchbacks. They don’t have it open all the way to the top yet but it is far enough where you avoid the really bad parts of the old trail.

So then I just took off when I got to the top.

Found these trees, I can’t tell if they are fighting or dancing. What do you think?

On our last big work day one of the things on the list was sowing grass seed on the back side of the switchbacks to keep them from eroding. The grass is doing great.

On the far northern end of the area I came across this ancient dump. Turkey Mountain spent many years as an oilfield and there are several dumps from that era. There are no plans on cleaning them up because they are an archeological resource, or so I am told.

And found an old power pole knocked down.

And here is a video of the route I took.

Unplugging is a movie that was shot in northeast Oklahoma and had at least one scene shot on Turkey Mountain. I love the visuals as northeast Oklahoma is beautiful, but I have to tell you this is not a great movie. Eva Longoria is in it and I was shown the very rock where she decided she needed to take a nap on right in the middle of shooting.

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And now we are switching gears. Wednesday son, Logan and I went downtown to see the Tulsa Drillers minor league team play the Corpus Christi Hooks. I love daytime baseball and I thought I would be seeing lots of such games upon retiring. Well this is the first game I’ve been to in three years. I enjoyed myself immensely. I even think Logan liked it and he is not a baseball fan.

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We were seated on the first base side and I saw this huge mural just outside the left field fence. It is a giant mural of Jacke Robinson. The player who broke the color barrier in professional baseball back in 1947. It’s a very fitting memorial. First, ONEOK Field is in the Greenwood area that was demolished by the Tulsa Race Massacre back in the 20’s. The worst race riot ever in America. Second, Robinson played for the Los Angeles Dodgers which is the parent organization of the Tulsa Drillers. The mural was installed last year right before the centennial of the massacre.

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When the game ended Logan and I headed over to get a better look. It is really big and really nice.

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Jigsaw Puzzle (Not my photo)

And finally, another jigsaw puzzle that I completed on my ipad. They are quite addicting.

Redbud Skies and More

Several days ago I was on Turkey Mountain checking out the Monarch Waystation. I water it when needed but it hasn’t needed a drink in weeks with all the rain and cool weather we have been having. I sowed some native prairie seeds a couple months ago and I was trying to see if any of them were coming up.

I don’t know a thing about wildflowers, and it looked like a bunch of weeds coming up to me. I guess that may be what some people call wildflowers. It may take a few more weeks and somebody who knows what they are looking to see if we are successful or not.

And then I ventured down the paved path and hung a right on the dirt road to the redbud grove. It is beautiful a whole hillside covered with redbuds. There are lots of the trees around town but I don’t know of any that are all together like this.

And then I ventured on the new Lo Chi trail. The old one was cool but kind of frustrating because it was an out and back along the base of the east side of the Mountain. I hate out and backs so I would do what other people did, climb up the side of the mountain to another trail. I’m too old for that foolishsness now.

And there is no need, the trail builders have made a loop out of with all sorts of cool switchbacks and other features to make it fun. You can enter and exit at different spots from the paved trail. Loops are fun, out and backs are boring.

So back on the paved trail I took a shot of the railroad tracks on the base of Turkey Mountain, next to the Arkansas River. They have only one customer now, a big Kimberly Clark Plant. So every once in a while, you can see a freight trail lumbering slowly along these rails. I am not a railroad expert at all but I would not think that these sketchy rails, ties, and roadbed could handle much of a load.

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And then fast forward to Tulsa’s Woodward Park. The flowering is disappointing this year for whatever reason but one could find nice groupings here and there.

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So it was worth going to but I wouldn’t travel far to see it.

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The tulips looked nice in the overcast late day. I think they are almost at the end.

Tuesday we had dramatic skies in Tulsa so I made this low key photo.

Monday I rode my back on the RiverParks trails. My north turnaround was the Route 66 Sign Park. I took photos and then used the circular app on my iphone to twist them on top of themselves. I love this kind of stuff.

I did another one and it looked like a hot air balloon.

And I have been doing more jigsaw puzzles on my ipad. I love it. So these are not my photos.

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I loved this one but it was booger bear. I worked from the inside out. I started at the steering wheel and moved outward. I put on the edge pieces as I found them but I didn’t stress about it.

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I loved this one. It was a lot easier with the brightly colored sail and the stratified colors. On this one I started with the sails and the bright green sea.l

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

Skywatch Friday – Turkey Mountain Reverie

Monday was shirtsleeves weather here in Tulsa and I went to Turkey Mountain for a hike and see the progress on the trails. In the above pic, if you squint really hard you can see a small tracked backhoe working on a new trail. I gave them room and went the other way.

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The new trails, are wide, and rock free, for the most part. They are built to be kind of “flowy” so there is gentle bends from side and side and up and down to enhance the experience for moutainbikers.

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The new trails are open to everybody except horseback riders. They are trying to get the trails packed down really hard. They have a bunch of signage to encourage people to share the road. The mountain bikers love the trails and can get going pretty fast. So far I have not had a problem with bikers not being polite.

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The new trails seem to be encouraging more people to go deeper into the mountain park than before especially families. The old trails were very rocky and technical and not family friendly at all. So people are getting away from the parking lot it seems.

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But even though there were a lot of people on a sunny afternoon, there was lots of room for everybody.

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There was some recently opened new trail on the cliffs overlooking the Arkansas River. It is nice having professionally designed switchbacks. Before this, the vertical trails just went straight up the hill and given all the rain we have the trails turned into gullies quickly.

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So it was a good day for chilling out.

The RiverParks staff likes to have fun with the visitors. They are also continuing to build more trail and I expect there will be networks and loops of professionally designed and constructed trail reaching deep into the park. I’m loving it so far!!

A brief video of my adventure Monday.

Wednesday night, Russia invaded the Ukraine is a puzzling power play. Lots of people have died already. Earlier this week I got a postcard from somebody in Berlin showing the Berlin Airlift back in 1948 or so. It’s so ironic that here we are over seventy years later dealing with Russian aggression in Europe.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!

Skywatch Friday – New Trail Progressing on Turkey Mountain

A new trail is being built on Turkey Mountain. Designed and constructected by the firm Progressive Trail Design out of Bentonville, Arkansas, it is the first professionally designed trail on Turkey Mountain. The rest were built by the users and followed old game trails, jeep tracks, oilfield roads, and the builders’ whims. This new trail is designed to last and be low maintenance and sustainable. They finally got started a couple weeks ago and have been making good progress. I went out there recently to check it out.

It looks very nice and “flowy.” People, especially mountain bikers like the smooth back and forth and up and downs. It’s apparent that it will primarily be a mountainbike trail and I’m just going to have faith that it will work out for non bikers as well.

It’s not open yet they have blazed a trail but the surface is still unfinished. They don’t want anybody on it until they are done and the surface is suitable for sustained use. (I stayed off the trail except at designated crossing points where it crosses existing trail.)

A banked turn. Lots of work before this is finished.

I paralleled the new trail on existing trails until I heard the sound of the trackhoe they were using to move the rocks and other heavy work involved. I went a little further until I saw the crew through the trees and that is as close as I got.

So I am very excited about all this.

About as excited as this tree I found while scouting out the trail.

Any you know it’s getting to be Christmas song. I love this new song my Carrie Underwood, “The Stretchy Pants Song.” My wife, who is also an exercise instructor, has been using it in some of her classes and her students love it.

I am linking this to Skywatch Friday. Come join us!!

Our World – Walking in Memphis

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I’m in Memphis this week, Sunday I went for a short walk. Memphis seems to have walking-biking-running-whatever trails everywhere. Nice ones with trees, and not very many hills.

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A beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon.

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Despite the signs warning not too, I kind of veered off the trails and bushwhacked for a short while.

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I was hunting a geocache and I found it. It was actually laying on the ground and I put it up where I thought it was supposed to be.

My thirty minute walk was nice. And I found a song for you. Memphis is a music city.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday – come join in!

Riding the Osage Prairie Trail and Checking out Movie Locations

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Earlier this week, I took my bicycle up to Skiatook, Oklahoma and rode about ten miles of the Osage Prairie Trail. It is on the roadbed of the now defunct Midland Valley Railroad. Being an old railroad, the grades are very easy and the route very straight. I love it though because you ride through old farm and ranch country away from the roads. Sometimes I see deer and other wildlife and always lots of birds. The other night there were lots of birds, no deer, but a couple of snakes crossing the roadway. Hmm, a thought just popped into my head. How come snakes always go across trails and never along trails? Let me know if you have the answer. Okay I’ll get back on track.

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The trail goes right through the town of Sperry. So what you say?

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This is what. This a former shooting location for the movie “The Outsiders” based on S.E. Hinton’s book of the same name. A coming of age novel set in Tulsa in the late 50’s-early 60’s. It was shot in Tulsa back in the early 1980’s. I don’t think it is used for anything these days. Check the image here.

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Right across the street is another shooting location for the film.

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So much for Hollywood. A little further along I come across this scene of a workover rig on an old well well. The rig has been up for quite a while and I am not actually sure they are working on it. Most activities in the oil field go on pretty much 24 hours a day. The way oil and gas wells are, if you lose a day’s production, you don’t make it up until the back end of the of well’s life which could be years away because you can’t double up to make up so producers end up being pretty demanding with their service providers. Speaking as a service provider.

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The trail has several grade crossings of local roads. Best to slow down before you get there so you don’t get run over. That would ruin my whole day. I don’t know about you.

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I passed a big group of people walking on the track. I love that kind of stuff. You know, getting out and actually talking to each other and exercising. Great stuff.

Relive ‘Biking the Osage Prairie Trail’

A video of my little almost 20 mile jaunt.  Be thinking about me Saturday. I am participating in my first biking event. A 24 mile race. I expect to finish dead last in my big heavy cruiser bike. My goal is finishing.

Shadow Shot Sunday – Evening Ride to Sand Springs

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I am really enjoying riding my bike. I couldn’t do it Monday or Tuesday because I had to pick the kid up from work and Wednesday Heather and I went to the Alison Krauss – Willie Nelson concert. (Heck of a show those two put on I tell you.) So Thursday was it. I have a go pro type cheap clone that I mount on the handlebars of my bike. I had it set to take a photo every 20 seconds so above is an action shot of my filling my water bottle. You can tell from the long shadow of the tree that it was already getting late in the day.

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The winds were supposed to pick up from the north so I opted for an east west route to Sand Springs and back on the MK&T trail. A converted railroad line. Straight as an arrow and easy grades. It doesn’t get much use and has several road crossings but they are easily crossed.

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Here is a sign shadow, with a lens flare.

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And here is an action shadow selfie of me pressing the crosswalk button like a nerd. A bicyclist who knows what he is doing just goes out there in traffic. I plan on living a few more years and I am hoping that being a nerd furthers that cause.

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And an extra long shadow selfie on the trail. Below is a brief video of my ride.

Relive ‘After work ride to Sand Springs’

So what have you been up to lately?

I am linking with Shadow Shot Sunday

J.T. Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve

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Sunday, son Logan and I ventured off into deep eastern Oklahoma to the JT Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve northeast of  the town of Tahlequah.

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It is a 17,000 acre former cattle ranch that the Nature Conservancy took over in 2000 and it is now the largest privately protected block of land in the Ozarks. It is almost a complete ecosystem of its own.

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The Conservancy has reintroduced fire and is replacing the former bermuda meadows with tallgrass prairie to try and reestablish what the landscape looked like long ago. From the six mile drive across the property it looks like they are succeeding. The open meadows are very lush. The burned landscape really opens up the woods.

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They reintroduced elk in the area in 2005. We got a glimpse of one through the trees but I did not get a decent photo of it. We also saw white tailed deer on our hike.

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The only thing I wish is that they had more trails. We hiked two out of the three available and it was 2.3 miles. They packed a lot into that short distance with a variety of sights from ridge tops to creek bottoms, woods to savannas.

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It was a good outing. We were the only ones there. The headquarters was closed but they had a great display on the area, the trails, where the trails were and how to get to them. The trails were spotless. No litter or vandalism or anything. Of course you really have to want to go there to get there. We drove across six miles of very bumpy and rocky road to get there.

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Logan really liked the peacefulness of the site.

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Check the link if you want to visit. They provide directions and all sorts of other information.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday