Friday morning I talked son Logan into going on a hike with me to Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center.
In the parking lot we spotted a swallowtail butterfly. Swallowtails move around a lot so I just kept taking photos hoping one would be okay.
Later on in our hike we found a doe and her fawn in the woods. They were kind of skittish and the woods were thick so it was hard to get a good photo.
And later came upon this armadillo rooting around for something to eat. It pretty ignored us. I don’t think they see or hear very well. Years ago when I lived in south Texas they got hit a lot on the roads.
And as we were leaving we saw this doe and her two offspring. I think one might be a yearling and the other a pretty new fawn. They ignored as well.
Here’s my hiking companion, son Logan who has started a couple classes in the local community college’s Paralegal Program.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
We’ve had days of over 100F heat for quite a while now. When the weather gets you down you have to learn how adjust if you don’t want to end up spending all summer on the dreadmill at the gym or mall walking. Me, I am getting up earlier and getting out before it is too hot.
Back in March of this year the City of Tulsa Parks Department announced that they had a grant to build some trails at Bales Park. Bales Park is right across a four lane highway from Turkey Mountain and there has been some talk of connecting the two trail systems.
I saw on Strava that a friend of mine checked out the trails so I thought I would. I think they are having a soft opening while they do finishing touches.
Downtwon Tulsa from the trail at Bales Park looking north. The highway department is redoing the intersection shown in the foreground. Rumor has it that they are making it so that Bales Park and Turkey Mountain can interconnect.
Turn 90 degrees to your right and look east. That is Turkey Mountain right across the road. Oh well time to move on.
The trails that city is building using Rogue Trails as a contractor look a lot like the recent trails built on Turkey Mountain. An emphasis on shedding water to avoid erosion and making the trails “flowy” back and forth and up and down, side to side.
Sure the flowy parts are for the mountain bikes but they are good trails to hike on as well and they will last longer and require less maintenance.
The trails go deep into Bales Park in areas where I doubt many people have been Lots of big oak and hickory trees there.
It’ll provide a great alternative to Turkey Mountain which on weekend afternoons can get crowded in the parking lots. Although, you get a quarter mile down any of the trails you are basically by yourself on the busiest of days.
Today, it was just me. And an equipment operator from Rogue building trail.
I gave him a wide berth. Supposedly there will be about 3 plus miles of trail. I made it to just over two miles today.
I didn’t see any critters besides a few squirrels and birds. Despite being early in the day it was still kind of hot.
I’m very happy about this latest addition to the Tulas Trail scene. The Gilcrease museum up in north Tulsa is raising funds to build an extensive trail system on property they have adjacent to the museum and connect their trail to the Katy Rails to Trail system which connects to the Tulsa River Parks system (as does Turkey Mountain’s trails). I love interconnected trails.
I think the city is having a grand opening set for sometime in August or so for their new trails. I am not into crowds so I’ll just be happy with the mini grand opening I treated myself to today. I do think that the people of Tulsa will be happy with the new trails at Bales Park.
I went hiking earlier this week on Turkey Mountain here in Tulsa. I came across this tiny frog traversing the trail.
I also went for a bike ride and took my camera with me again. As I was going down the trail I spotted a bald eagle flying high over me but headed down to the river. So I pulled out and spotted this guy fishing. That’s two weeks in a row I’ve seen a bald eagle in approximately the same location. Sorry for the fuzzy photo. I was at the far end of the range of my Canon Superzoom.
I also found this egret, or white heron or something several miles north of the Eagle out in the river looking for lunch.
And white pelicans on a sandbar.
And a log with two pairs of turtles. I didn’t know that momma turtles gave baby turtles piggy back (turtle back?) rides.
And a great blue heron. Again at pretty good range. They are skittish!!
The archive consists of over 100,000 items. Everything from clothes, to piano frames, to manuscripts, art works, music recordings, diaries, all sorts of records. Dylan was some sort of pack rat it appears and now his collection is in a place where it can be cataloged, preserved, and put on display.
The center starts with Bobby Zimmerman from Hibbing, Minnesota and goes on from there through all his various personal permutations and tribulations.
One of the supercool features of the center are these Ipods that are activated at dozens of touchpoints throughout the facility. You can hear interviews, music footage, reviews and all sorts of stuff. I thought these were very nice and worked lots better than similar things I have used at other museums. And it is covered under your admission price.
I’ll have to admit that I was never much of a Dylan fan. He was about half a generation ahead of me and so he and I never synched up except for a few songs.
What I learned about Dylan though was that he was all about the music and not so much about sales. He morphed several times in his career, folk music to rock, to country, to gospel. Sometimes his fans didn’t really want to go with him, he didn’t care, he did what he had to do.
The center picked out several songs and displays in detail the painstaking process that Dylan went through writing and rewriting the songs, sometimes it would take years. The guy put everything he had into his music.
He kept his scribblings as he worked things over and over and changed the songs over time.
They also have many of the costumes he wore over the years in his concerts.
There is a gigantic virtual juke box machine curated by Elvis Costello containing almost every song he ever did, or wrote, or collaborated with somebody else on. Turns out he wrote lots of songs for other performers.
I was there for a couple hours and went over everything twice and listened on the ipod to at list a little bit of dozens of songs and interviews. It was overwhelming. I told me wife about it. She is all about music and now she is all excited about going, so I get to go again!!
He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016 for his body of work. Reading his thoughts about it, it took him a while to understand that. He just couldn’t figure out why a songwriter was deserving of the honor. He accepted it though.
I strongly recommend the center. I loved it. And right down the block is the Woody Guthrie Center. Go check it out. I did a few years ago.
Here is a musical interlude. I told you that I wasn’t much of a fan but I loved Hurricane from 1975’s Blood on the Tracks album.
Last Monday I braved the heat for a bike ride on Tulsa’s RiverParks trails bordering the Arkansas River as it flows through town. I took my Canon SuperZoom camera along in a backpack hoping to take some photos.
I found what I think are great egrets. (I’m not a very good birder so if you have better ID I would appreciate it very much.) This one was looking for lunch in the shallow water.
This nearby group seemed more into grooming than eating.
Further down the river I spotted this great blue heron. They are very skittish and so by the time I stopped my bike, and retrieved the camera from the backpack and focused, this guy was ready to leave.
Nearby, this group of pelicans were hanging out together.
I saw something black with a white spot almost clear to the other riverbank. It turns out that it is a bald eagle. The first image of one I have captured in the wild. Sorry about the poor quality but it was at the far range of the camera.
I was pretty happy with my photos. Again, if I have misidentified any of them please let me know.
I’ll explain myself in a little bit. Just hang with me.
From Tulsa’s fabulous Gathering Place looking across the Arkansas River to the west bank. The power plant is Tulsa Power Station. Way back when I worked for the natural gas pipeline company that supplied power to that plant. If you want to check out Pirtek USA Cost, you can click here! Believe or not I took great pride in doing a small part in providing energy to Tulsa. I know that burning hydrocarbons contributes to global climate change and fully support efforts to convert to carbon neutral sources of energy.
A scene at the YMCA on Turkey Mountain.
Me playing around with my drone and my trail camera in our backyard. Sorry for the intense expression. I still have lots to learn about drone piloting.
The same day, a view of our backyard from 50 meters up. I posted a similar photo a couple years ago and a very conservative, very distant relative got very upset with me about violating my neighbor’s privacy online. I actually had to take her step by step through unfriending and blocking me on facebook. So she did me, and I did her. I hope she is happy, cuz I am very happy to be rid of her. Tell me, am I violating anybody’s privacy? Careful what you say or I might block you as well.
Looking northwest at 50 meters above my back yard.
And this is my front yard.
I walked down to where my brother’s apartment is. That is his window. Whenever I drive by I honk.
Walking back from my brother’s apartment I passed this pond in an adjoining neighborhood. They used to have swans but I didn’t see any. I hope they are okay. Something about swans in our Tulsa neighborhoods that drives people to hop fences and attack the swans. What up folks?? Why do people do that? I am actually glad if you cannot imagine why somebody would attack a swan.
We have had lots of rain this spring. Lots and lots even though not far away in western Oklahoma they have had a severe drought. The past few days the temps and humidity have gone way up here. I have this feeling that things are going to dry up here as well.
One day when it was so hot I went to a park nearby that has some huge trees. I loved getting underneath the trees and looking up. Lots of shade in those old trees. I went on a spurt of hiking and trail running the a couple weeks ago and I am paying for it now. My right knee is killing me and only just today did it start to calm down after lots of ibuprofen and rest. So I have been spending lots of time inside and its killing me. I’m an outside kind of guy regardless of the weather.
So we have gone from nice cloudy skies to colorful clear skies. They are colorful because of smoke from way distant forest fires in the west and southwest.
The strawberry moon is Tuesday night. I went out to take a photo of it and came back in all in a panic and told Heather to call NASA because the moon is missing. I got on my skyguide app and oops, the moon is underneath the horizon just yet. So this is a photo of the moon from a couple days before so it is only 94% full. I told Heather to tell NASA to stand down and stand by. We found the moon. Tell the truth, I don’t think Heather ever actually called them but that is okay.
This is not my photo. It is a jigsaw puzzle I finally finished after a few weeks. I’m really slow at them but I love online jigsaw puzzles. Everybody had their own way of doing them. I look at boundaries so I focus on the boundary betwen the street and the sidewalks, and the roofs and the sky and I focused on the fence a lot. I love solving them on my ipad.
Last Sunday morning I went hiking at Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center. I ventured first to their North Woods area where there is almost always no one but me.
And I lucked out I took off and saw no one. Suits me. Can’t do any better social distancing than that!
Didnt see any deer which was a disappointment but lots of birds and squirrels.
And lots of sky. All the trees have been stripped of their leaves so I lots of blue sky.
When I finished I drove to the main part of Oxley Nature Center and asked where the otters might be found. They told me where to go and said that it is best to get there around 5 am to 6 am. So I don’t know if I’ll ever see the otters or not.
They said head to the big beaver lodge in the lake and they hang out from there to the waterway. So I did, you never know, maybe the otters would be feeling bored on a Sunday morning. I didn’t see any otters but I saw lots of ducks and geese.
And some deer. I didn’t have a long lens so this very cropped shot is the best I could do with what I had. It was cool though. I was on a trail walking in parallel with their path so we stayed together for a couple hundred yards or so.
And I found this cool bridge.
The otters will have to wait for later. I’ve never seen an otter in the wild and I would love to see these guys.
How about you? You ever have a wild otter sighting?