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.)
Our skies have gone from looking like this every day.
To about as blue as you can get. I’ve taken a couple of bike rides and they have been grueling in the heat.
Even on Flag Day. Not too many people celebrate Flag Day any longer.
While going to the library the other day I checked out this installation nearby.
I love fun stuff like this.
I don’t know who made or who paid for it but I’ll take it.
And a shot from the past,
From the past!! This is (was) the the River West Amphitheater on the west bank of the Arkansas River in Tulsa. Back in the day there were all sorts of concerts, local and touring bands and orchestras, rock, country, anything. It is now all gone. I never saw an event there but the performers were on this stage out floating in the water and everybody else was on the bank. I took lots of photos of it on my after work runs.
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.
We’ve had lots of rain and cloudy skies lately. Kind of hard on the hiking but great for growing stuff and taking skywatch photos. I launched the drone from the backyard for the above photo. The controller was squawking at me about the high winds and dark skies but I sent it straight up over the back patio and straight back down. This is the view to the northwest of our backyard.
Wednesday I went back to Philbrook Museum for the first time since they shutdown last year. I really missed hanging out in their gardens. I took this photo with my cell phone. Everything looks scrunched up.
For contrast I took a similar photo with my Nikon. It’s more realistic looking with more depth in the photo. Cell phone cameras in my experience do a lot of flattening the perspective.
Crow Creek winds through the gardens of Philbrook on its way to the Arkansas River. I loved this tree reflection in the creek.
Out behind the Timpietto they had a poetry rock garden so I gathered up a few and made me some rock poetry. The Philbrook gardens is my happy place. I’ve spent hours there over the years and taken hundreds of photos and always find something new to see.
Meanwhile, back at the house. I think rainy overcast days are my favorite for breaking out the macro lens and taking photos of flowers. These are some of Heather’s zinnias that she planted last week.
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.
So Sunday afternoon was great, temp in the low 50’s, sunny, a little breezy, no football. So I decided to go running on the Tulsa’s Riverparks trails on the Arkansas River. I prefer trail running but with all the snow they are going to be a bloody mess for a week or so.
Almost all the snow is gone. Better hurry if you want to see some.
Turkey Mountain across the river. I’ll be there Sunday morning for a hike with some people I know.
My run went pretty well. It has been a while since I ran-ran, if you know what I mean. So this was a walk run. I’d trot a little bit and then walk a little. Did that for about three miles. I had forgotten how nice it was and I was thankful that the other aerobic stuff I had been doing on the stationary bikes and elliptical machines left me with some aerobic fitness.
I had a bike wreck back in the early Fall which made it hard to do anything but hike and the machines. Things seem all better now. I did about three miles the slow way but that is okay.
Son Logan is doing better also from his ankle sprain. We have been doing the “RICE” thing (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) with him. So he is king for a day or few. Heather is taking him to orthopedic doctor today. He has classes but they are online. So until about Wednesday or so we are waiting on him. Bringing him food, doing his laundry, all that stuff.
We finally got a decent snow in Tulsa the other day. I think they said it was the first appreciable amounts in seven years. We were supposed to get one to three inches but it came out five inches of very heavy wet snow.
I was glad to see it although it made for very tough shoveling. I shoveled our driveway and then I shoveled MIL’s. I could feel it so I took it easy but I still slept soundly after all that.
Here’s our house. I don’t do ladders any longer so the lights are low, very low in the case of the ones under the snow. They didn’t short out or anything, they just kept on burning.
And speaking of burning. I’ve mentioned that we are freshening up our house some. We had painters in and they removed the smoke detectors and they looked kind of dingy so I was checking to see what the replacements were and found out that our smoke detectors only have a ten year life and we have lived in the house for twenty years. Made me feel foolish and we now have new smoke detectors. Don’t be like me folks, if you have an ionization type detector check and see if they are still in date.
The whole situation with the snow and painters drove Lizzie to drink. She doesn’t like strangers in the house so these months of work have been hard on her.
Here’s a “go out to get the paper and snap a photo” skywatch shot. I’m lazy like that. You don’t have to travel far to get a nice shot sometimes. I post a lot of the shots on instagram. I am just glad that my neighbor finally got his car door damage repaired. I got as many comments about the car damage as I do the sky.
Tuesday, several days after the snow, I ventured out to Turkey Mountain to check out the snow. I love hiking in the snow. The RiverParks Authority would just as soon people stay off the trails because of the muddy conditions but I went anyway. Don’t tell them okay? I got all sorts of rationalizations.
I was plodding along and saw some movement and saw a herd of about eight deer off in the woods. Sorry about the quality of the photos. All I had was my point and shoot and my iphone.
I stood there for about twenty minutes. The first ten, they all stared at me except for the little ones. After that all but one or two relaxed a little grazed and then they got tired of me and left.
A little further along I came to a pond. I just love the reflections on it and the sky.
I started taking trails I don’t usually take just to avoid the muddy more heavily used trails. There is nothing prettier than a single track trail through the snowy woods.
I saw this way off the trail and checked it out. It is some sort of oilfield apparatus. I had never seen it before. I thought I knew all the old abandoned wells, pumpjack foundations, abandoned pipelines, and cables on the mountain, but I guess I didn’t. One of the people with the River Parks Authority commented on my instagram that he didn’t know about this. So I made a find!!
By this time I was getting a little cold and tired so I took another single track path back to the Snake Trail to get back to the car. I really enjoyed my outing.
Back when I worked, I used to go running on the Arkansas River Trails in Tulsa after work on Wednesday nights. Wednesday seemed to be when the free spirits showed to also enjoy the evening. Hula hoops, slack lines, juggling, hammocks, music, and marijuana prevailed. The atmosphere was chill. One time when the water was low some of the free spirits showed up and displayed their rock balancing skills. They were amazing. I took a bunch of pics, this is the one I like the best, some geese came by at sunset to check out the rock art. So this is right out of the phone, no filters, and not even any cropping or levelling.
Sunday afternoon Heather and I took off on a bike ride on the Tulsa RiverParks Trails. Not only was it a bike ride but we said goodbye to one community landmark and hello to a new one.
First up was the Pedestrian Bridge across the Arkansas River. It’s 103 years old, starting off life as a railroad bridge for the Midland Valley Railroad and then repurposed to a pedestrian bridge in 1976. I have walk, run and rode my bike over that bridge a bunch. In the summer you were shaded and there was always a nice breeze blowing up or down the river. Running on the wooden deck was a great respite from the asphalt. It’s been deemed unsafe to continue so we got a brand spanking new bridge coming in about three years. Here is the conceptual design. It’s all swoopy and swanky. The curmudgeons who never watch the news or read the newspaper are all coming out against it now, as the demolition crews start staging in. Hey Curmudgeons!! wake up, your asleep.
And then we rode a little further north where old Route 66 crosses the Arkansas River. Tulsa is putting in a Neon Sign Park using replica signs from actual Motels that are no longer around.
I think it is supercool. They have placards giving the history of each motel. The electricity isn’t connected but I’m told it is coming soon. It will be super cool at night when they get them lit.
So some lady came by and said she hasn’t been able to figure out how to get all three signs in the same picture. I couldn’t figure out what her problem is. I got all of them, and my beautiful wife in the image as a bonus.
Anyhow, fourteen miles and change on a hot humid afternoon. Sign me up.
After a dry June things have been rainy in July. Makes for green country side and interesting skies. Northeast Oklahoma is called Green Country for a reason.
Here’s a shot from directly over our house to son Logan’s first elementary school less than a block away. Remember when schools were open and had classes. Good times right! The state of Oklahoma is letting every district decide for themselves how to handle the coming school year and it is amazing the variety of programs the administrators of the various districts have come up with.
Went on a walk yesterday at Lafortune Park and got rained on a little bit. I don’t mind, as long as I can keep the phone dry.
Here is a beer truck Skywatch shot. Too bad it is crap beer.
Lafortune Park has the prettiest crepe myrtle I have ever seen. It has all sorts of room to itself and gets full sun all day long. I think the staff has been taking very good care of it as well.
Son and I took the drone to north Tulsa’s Reservoir Hill subdivision and took some shots of the Tulsa Arrow. The Tulsa Arrow was originally put up for Charles Lindbergh’s transcontinental flight to show the way to the airport. Apparently all sorts of cities put arrows for that purpose way back when. A few years ago the subdivision’s residents recreated the arrow. You can see the story here. I think it is pretty cool. I have a geocache nearby.