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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.
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.
The trail goes right through the town of Sperry. So what you say?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a sign shadow, with a lens flare.
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.
And an extra long shadow selfie on the trail. Below is a brief video of my ride.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Logan really liked the peacefulness of the site.
Check the link if you want to visit. They provide directions and all sorts of other information.
I went on a run at Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center this week. I have taken off the whole week between Christmas and New Years and the weather has been quite mild. Unlike other parks around town, Oxley has their trails extremely well marked some even with gates like this. I’m a Forest Service kid and I love this type of construction. And, who can resist checking out a trail called the “Meadowlark Prairie Trail.”
And I am donating a free shadow selfie at no extra cost.
as a PS I am ashamed to say that I have subscribed to Photoshop for over a year and just this week have been figuring out how it works. I had always discounted Lightroom before but I have learned it is an integral part of the whole process. You do the easy edits in Lightroom and then pass the photo easily on to Photoshop. And then you can pass it back. Easy Peasy. Plus I have some of the Topaz Filters and have learned that the they are easily integrated into Photoshop as well. In the photo above I used I used a free Nik Filter from Google. They made them free in March of 2016 and they are very powerful. Anyway, they are integrated into Photoshop also.
I feel kind of dumb but having a little time to study things shows me that I have been wasting a lot of time. Better late than never I guess.
Saturday I went for a walk at Oxley Nature Center‘s North Woods. I love it there because it is remote, off the beaten path, and I rarely see anybody.
I especially like it when it is windy because there is enough trees and brush to block the wind. It is near still at the ground and I love the sound of the wind in the tops of the trees.
The trails are well kept. This time of year there is a thick matt of dried leaves that announces your presence as you walk along and sends the big and small critters scurrying.
I started in late afternoon and the low sun made all the leaves radiant with color.
There is something about a bench on a trail overlooking a creek that is restful without even sitting on it.
The woods loom over parts of the trails. I call these tree tunnels.
I love the color of some of the oak leaves.
Another tree tunnel.
The sun is getting low. Heading across my favorite boardwalk. There is a geocache here that took me three years to find. And one day I saw it without looking for it.
Headed back to the car and saw these two critters. We watched each other for a while. I would move up twenty paces and wait twenty seconds, and then move up another twenty paces and so on. They got tired of my game and scampered off.
A little bit further I found this single deer. She played my game and let me get a little closer before she turned on her heel and left.
I didn’t set any speed records but I had a good time. Didn’t see anybody else. I wasn’t looking for anybody either.
I have been after a geocache named “That’s Just Rid(dle)iculous!!!” by a geocacher named M5. (Geocachers have names, I’m known as YogiABB.) Its puzzle cache which means one has to solve a puzzle to find the cache.
This puzzle involves arithmetic and some baffling wordage about the three kids and the sum of their ages, and the product of the their ages, and one’s a muggle and oh my. I don’t know what is going on.
Ithought I had it so I went out the area and bushwhacked to what i thought was ground zero and looked here and there and up there and down here and around and around. so I didn’t find it.
I didn’t find the cache but I had a pleasant hour in the woods, Plus One for ME! And found a new secret trail!! Score One More for Me.!! It is not very long but it is sweet.
No, this doesn’t mean that the Feds are coming in to take over the trails, the designation recognizes existing trails built and maintained by others. The National Park Service will provide special trail markers and add it to their web site. The main thing is that the designation provides additional credibility to those who are trying to get grants for Turkey Mountain.