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.
I went on a hike on Turkey Mountain on a cloudy day on MLK day. The parking lot was full but I didn’t see very many people. You don’t on the backcountry trails I like to take. The more popular trails are on the east side of the mountain and overlook the Arkansas River and south Tulsa, and those trails are better mapped. You have to kind of know where you are going on the back country.
I love getting in the woods on cloudy days in the winter. Everything just kind of pops out, especially the trees. We get to see their greedy fingers reaching for the sky competing with other trees for enough sunlight to live on.
I love a twisty turning trail disappearing into the distance. I also love that some of the shrubs are still green despite the season.
This is the area called Rock City or the Rock Garden.
Elsewhere on the mountain I found this bucket sitting on a rock. Turkey Mountain used to be the home to farms, ranches, liquor stills, and oilwells and the detritus from those previous uses still litter the landscape. With the advent of industrial scale meth production in Mexico, meth making on the mountain has disappeared. We used to find small meth labs and “shake and bake” containers during our periodic cleanups in the park. It was part of the briefing to the volunteers that if they saw something like that to leave it alone and let one of the leaders know so it could be removed safely.
I came upon a flotilla of mallards who paddled away from me. I was lucky they just didn’t fly off.
I got a glimpse of the new buildings going up at the Herman and Kate Kaiser YMCA (formerly the Westside YMCA). The Y occupies the very northwest corner of the park and have been in existence since 1956. They got a ton of money and are completely rebuilding the facilty and will open this summer. Check the link for details. It’s going to be great. One of the great things about Tulsa is the generosity of the corporations and wealthier citizens who really step when needed.
As part of it’s past Turkey Mountain has at least two active pipelines, two major powerlines. They were there long before the area was made a park. The owner of the above pipeline recently “cleaned up” right of way so it’s kind of a clearcut through the area. And we park users make it into a trail of course!!
So anyway, I had a good time and went about 3.5 miles. It took me a while. I got a couple phone calls in the middle of the hike. I am not a walker talker (on the phone) so I talk in place. I still had a great time.
Have you been on any walks lately?
I’m linking up withSkywatch Friday – lots of friendly, talented people from all over the world participate
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.
I went on a late afternoon hike on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain recently. Came across this lake. I don’t what it is but all the ponds on Turkey Mountain are called lakes. I don’t know what the official name of it is, doesn’t matter, does it?
I was out in the woods on Turkey Mountain the other day when it started getting dark. The sun was going down fast. I love the word “Gloaming.” An old English word with roots back to the Middle Ages. I love how people say “The Gloaming.”
Another word for the same time of day is Eventide. An even older English word from before the 12th century. It has a kind of churchy spiritual aura around it.
Whatever you call the time of day, I love being out in the woods when night comes.
So last Friday I ventured out for another run on Turkey Mountain. Sorry for being so repetitive but when the weather is hot I love heading to the shady dirt trails. This time I went on the east side, which some people call the back country. Not near as many people in the back country and easier to get lost.
It’s an Urban Wilderness so in addition to powerlines there are a couple of pipelines. This one is Enable Midstream Partner’s transmission line to PSO’s Tulsa Power Station. I used to work for Enable you see. I hope that I am not giving away any secrets. This is an old pipeline, not sure how old but pretty old. New pipelines have more modern technology where they would drill this little segment instead of putting it above ground.
Somebody used the pipe to mark the Pink Trail. Or maybe Enable is saying that gas can flow both ways.
Got up to a sign notifying that the trail ahead is closed because of renovations to the West Side YMCA. I had to go check it out.
Can’t go any further. They are really revamping the site. It’s going to be great. But anyway I head back.
And take the Snake Trail back to the parking lot.
I didn’t go very far but I went far enough.
And then, I am continuing to scan old photographs. Below is one my favorites.
It’s my late mother fishing for trout in Idaho’s Birch Creek way back in 1987. She had MS but she was tough. She would pick a nice spot and go fishing. If she caught any that’s great, if she didn’t, it didn’t bother her too much because that is why they call it fishing instead of catching.
New Year’s eve I had to go downtown and pay our real estate taxes. Yep, I hold on to the money until the very last minute. I actually like going to the courthouse and seeing how functionaries function. The assessor’s office is very efficient. All hands on deck there New Year’s eve to take care of people like me. Some sad faces close by though. They are on the same floor as the family court and there were tears there. I have a very blessed life is what I can say. My prayers go out to those having difficulties.
I’ll be going back though at the end of the month. Got a stern looking letter from the very same courthouse telling me to report for jury duty!! I haven’t done jury duty since about 1983 in Panorama Village, Texas north of Houston. We had a trial for a guy accused of speeding. Found him guilty, by gum. The town needed the cash!! Especially from non-residents.
I left downtown and ventured to East Tulsa. I came upon this new gateway sign going in on US 66. I think it is beautiful. They are almost done with construction. So that is looking roughly south of north west.
I turned to the south and took this photo. We had decent skies on New Year’s eve.
This is what I was looking for in that area of town. A geocache. In my quest to get 2000 caches by the end of 2019 I try and find ore two every day. I’m at about 1632 or so. I have a tracker on the right sidebar to this page. This cache was cool because it was in the owners front yard and wasn’t hidden at all. I love those that are easy to find.
As far as Skies are concerned, New Years Day was a bust. I went on a five mile or so hike on Turkey Mountain and it was gray and cold the whole time. I have to tell you that I loved it anyway. I’ve got the gear and clothes to stay warm and comfortable in most kinds of weather.
I have to tell you about my new toy for Christmas. I got a drone, one with a camera. An inexpensive one to learn on. A Zeraxa Pro. I finally took it out for a spin in a park hardly anybody ever visits and I loved it. It is very stable and responds well to the controls. So I am just learning the basics of flying and trying to smooth my movements out. Later on maybe I can get one with a lot better camera. As you can tell, Oklahoma is very brown right now.
I think it is kind of pretty. And don’t worry I wasn’t drinking and flying!!
I went on a bike ride on Tulsa’s River Parks trails and everything was going great in my slow plodding kind of way when I saw some chickens on the trail where it passes the base of Turkey Mountain. So I had to stop and check them out. There were only two of them and the lighting is kind of dim. I had read facebook posts the past few weeks where people had discussed seeing chickens and there was lots of speculation on where they come from and what is to become of them.
They remind me of the chickens that you see everywhere in the rural parts of Hawaii. I guess they can thrive there I don’t know about chickens on their own in Oklahoma. We have lots of coyotes and I wonder what they will do when the weather gets cold. I’ll be interested in how they do.