Tag Archives: Turkey Mountain

Skywatch Friday – Outside Time!

I got it all on this week’s post, Gardening, Hiking, Bicycling, A Plea for Help, and a Musical Finale! Are you ready? Lets get started!!

Earlier this week I went to Turkey Mountain. We’ve had a lot of rain and they want people to stay off the trails when its muddy. Kind of like your Great Aunt Grace telling you to stay on the plastic runners. Or at least that’s what my Great Aunt Grace would tell me. Anyway I first checked the Monarch Waystation. Lots of green stuff there and few blooms.

I’m no butterfly but if I were I guess I would be digging into whatever these flowers had to offer. My botanical ID skills are woeful. I do know that these are yellow blooms. Enough Gardening, and now Hiking!!

And then I got back in my car and drove up to the upper parking lot. Ordinarily the I would have gone up the trail but I was rationing my energy because the temperature was over 90F and the head index was almost 110F. Anyway, I started down the Snake Trail to go explore the NW side and see if there were any new trails out that way.

The Snake Trail is pretty decent. When I take first time visitors to Turkey Mountain, before the new trails were started, I took them on Snake because it was relatively flat and not very technical (in other words breaking your ankle was unlikely). Turkey is going to have a mixture of old and new trails. The terrible erosion prone, non sustainable trails will be blocked off to allow the ground to heal.

I got up close to the YMCA and headed east and soon came to some new trail that I had not seen yet. So I jumped on it and went a couple hundred yards or so and saw that it was not yet open. I thought it looked a little rough. Anyway I got off it and got on a parallel old trail.

I emerged on what is called the Powerline Trail and went back to the parking lot. Powerline is difficult. It gets kind of technical and really steep and has several false ridges. I guess you could call it Heartbreaker as well. It is in full sun which makes it extra fun on a hot sunny day. But hey I made it. I guess you already figured that out because I wrote this post.

And now the Bicycling Segment!!

Thursday morning, I got up, skipped yoga and took my bike out on the other side of the Arkansas River to ride the paved trails. That hill you see on the other side of the river is Turkey Mountain. Don’t be giggling or laughing at the Mountain. We don’t have too many in Tulsa.

On the south end of the RiverParks trails is a Native American Tribal owned casino. The trail squeezes in betweenn casino and the river. Somebody, maybe the tribe has been doing some “Riparian Mitigation” on the riverbank and it is bearing fruit. I never noticed these trees before. I love it.

On the north end I stopped at the south end of the Gathering Place. With better weather people are taking their toddlers there and they let the kids migrate into the bike lanes. I don’t blame them, they are new to the trails and don’t understand. Anyway, when the new people I just cut my ride short and go back. Better than risking hitting somebody. But I stopped and smelled the roses

Do I look like I need help? Well I do!! Come volunteer at the Tulsa Ironman race on May 22nd.

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Last year I volunteered on the running segement on Sunday afternoon. It was fun and easy. I just handed out water and gatorade to the racers for several hours. These men and women are amazing athletes. The Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition gets paid for the volunteer hours they provide to the event. Check here to get more info if you are interested.

And the musical section of this mess of a post. Featuring a hot mess herself, Miranda Lambert. I got her new album Palomino and am loving it. She is a good singer and has quite the sense of humor.

That’s about it folks. I guess I had some sky photos in here somewhere. I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!

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.

Work Day on Turkey Mountain

Sunday morning I got up and headed out to Turkey Mountain to meet up with a couple dozen other people for a Work Day sponsored by the RiverParks Authority and the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition. We were going to work on the recently completed new trails to kind of finish them off a little bit.

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So I grabbed my loppers, trash bag, and a bottle of water and went with one crew down a new trail. We were using the loppers to cut out staubs that stuck up out the trail causing people to trip and possible tire problems with the mountain bikers. Cutting them things out is difficult! At least to me at was.

Others in the group were planting grass seed on the backside of the switchback berms and using axes to tackle the bigger stubs or staubs. I think the hardest job might have been pushing the wheelbarrow containing the equipment and seed.

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It was hard work but scenic. We worked on about 2 miles of trail before going back to the parking lot for refreshments and a break. A bunch of people were going out again to finish the job but I was spent so I said goodbye. These trail maintenance volunteers are a hardy lot.

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I went home a collapsed!! I guess that I’m not worthy but it was a morning well spent. I’m always in awe of these folks who show up with their own tools and spend their time helping out the community.

Check out the TUWC website for more information. Get involved.

Going on a History Tour of Turkey Mountain

This weekend I went on a History Tour of Turkey Mountain hosted by the RiverParks Authority who oversee Turkey Mountain.

Our official tour guide was Ryan Howell who has given the tour a bunch of times and still makes it fresh for everybody.

Old Oilfield Cable

It took about two and half hours and we covered about that many miles but we saw a bunch of Turkey Mountain and he gave us a ton of information. I thought I knew a lot about the Mountain but turns out I didn’t know squat.

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He covered everything about how Turkey Mountain came to be and what its official name is (hint, It’s not Turkey Mountain). Some history of the outlet mall that got moved elsewhere (to never be built) and the Master Plan and all the trails that are getting built. He talked about the difference between the old trails that all eroded and rocky vs the new professionally designed and constructed trails that are designed to shed water and reduce erosion and increase sustainability.

The most instagrammed wagon wheel in Tulsa.

He had tales of hidden Spanish Gold and Viking Runes and magical caves. (Hint, if Ryan knew where the gold was he wouldn’t be giving tours.) He went over the flora and fauna of the mountain and explained about the beavers, bobcats, wild turkeys, deer and Eagles nests and where, in general they can be found.

Oilfield pump apparatus

He talked about invasive species and prescribed burns with “cold fires.” He told us about a still unreleased movie filmed partly on the mountain and showed us the very rock where the lead actress took a power nap during filming. All this and more. I don’t need much excuse to go hiking on Turkey Mountain but this was one of the more memorable outings for me. He also showed us several reminders of Turkey Mountain’s past as a significant oilfield form the 1920’s to the 1960’s.

Ryan has a lot of passion for Turkey Mountain and for educating the public on the resource. The tour costs a nominal amount and 100% of the proceeds go the Mountain. They have the tour several times a year, follow their facebook page to keep abreast of tours and other information

Shadow Shot Sunday – The Old Wagon Wheel

I went on an historical tour of Turkey Mountain yesterday and we came upon this old wagon wheel. I have seen it many times and photographed it a bunch. It was found submerged in an adjacent pond and was discovered when some people who were staging an adventure race on Turkey Mountain years ago did some practice swims in the pond and their legs hit the wheel. They got a tow truck out there and pulled this up.

They say it is part of a wagon used in the early day oilfield on Turkey Mountain. Way back when they actually put oil in barrels and hauled to the nearby refineries on wagons.

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from 2017

The tour guide said it was the most instagrammed wagon wheel in Tulsa. Looking in my archives I see that I have twenty six photos of it. It is very photogenic don’t you think?

I’m linking with Shadow Shot Sunday. Check it out!!

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 – Meandering on the Mountain

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Went on another hike on Turkey Mountain this week. Another cold, and to some, unpleasant day. To me, it wasn’t raining and I had the right clothes on so it was a great day.

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Turkey Mountain has all sorts of relics from its past life. Near I guess what used to be a farm there is this grizzled old tree wrapped a bunch of times with barbed wire. Ouch!

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The wire is holding up this old fence of some sort of chicken wire, hog wire, whatever wire.

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And an abandoned cistern nearby.

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Moving on to the west I came upon a cleared part of Turkey Mountain. It was cleared by the land owners at the time who were trying to sell the parcel.

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They ended up in a contract with an outlet mall developer but that led to a huge fight in the city and the developer left in a huff and cut a deal with a suburb and started building the mall there but then changed their mind and there is now a few slabs, and some structural steel that is rusting away. Turkey Mountain missed a bullet is what I say. Money was donated to by the property from the owners and it is protected now.

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Moving on, I was in a tree mood today. I love trees in all seasons. In the winter we get to see their bones.

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Headed north to the revamped Y and came across an abandoned oil gathering line. Turkey Mountain used to be a prolific oil field but it played out but there is lots of remnants today. Old pipelines and pumpjack foundations scattered across the landscape, and a few old wellheads.

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Getting closer to the Y, their abandoned disc golf course.

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And their ropes course. You ever ropes? I think that ropes and other team building exercises are a huge scam. I participated in a bunch of them and I hated all of them.

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And then the little lake at the Y where they have kayaks and canoes, fishing, and swimming. Now stuff like that is fun.

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And then headed back to the parking lot, another mystery on Turkey Mountain. A deep hole, a homemade ladder and a camouflaged drier vent hose. Meth lab, the hangout of the last Democrat in Oklahoma? Who knows?

And here is my route of about three miles. I started at the very lower right corner, the upper parking lot and went in a clockwise direction and then returned.

And now a bonus sky, one morning’s sunrise with a reflection off my car.

And a drone photo from above my house looking south one evening.

And that is it for this week’s Skywatch post. I am linking with Skywatch Friday come join in!!

Our World – Scavenger Hunt

Not to toot my own horn, but I guess I will. I helped to plan and implement a scavenger hunt on Turkey Mountain this past weekend. It was originally supposed to be New Year’s but it got postponed because of weather.

The RiverParks Authority gave me thirty items to give away. Small stuff like stickers (people go nuts over stickers these days) and key chains. I conceived the idea of using repurposed cd jewelboxes and designed new covers and “liner notes” for containers for the giveaway items.

So late last Friday I loaded up my jewel boxes and headed to Turkey Mountain. My friend Laurie from the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition helped me place them on different parts of the mountain. It turned out to be a good workout with about 5 miles of hiking involved.

We didn’t really hide them because we wanted people to find them. The RiverParks Authority also had people out and about placing bigger items like water bottles and tshirts on the mountain. They also had people adding new stuff during the day.

We hid one in the famous washing machine at a crossroads on Turkey Mountain. (It’s actually a drier but I get dirty looks when I bring up that fact. Ever notice that anybody who says “actually” gets dirty looks.?

I was busy but I always take time for photos.

Especially when the sun is setting.

Here’s a screen shot of the facebook invite for the event.

Channel Six here in Tulsa showed up and did a story on the event.

A good time was had by all. I was proud to be a part of it.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday. Come join the party!!

More on Turkey Mountain’s New Trail

Sunday evening I attended a stakeholder meeting on Turkey Mountain with the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition and others to get a tour of the new trail they are building and get our feedback. Previously I had paralleled the trail this time we actually got to walk on it.

It’s going to be a bi-directional multi-use trail for bikers, runners and walkers. It is nice and wide and after seeing it I think it will work well.

For bicyclists they have a “Choose your adventure” options where you can take jumps if you want to or bypass them.

A huge difference from the existing trails is the extensive work they are doing to cut down on water erosion. They are following the land contours and the trail is side sloped one to two degrees to encourage water running perpendicular to the trail than down it. They are also taking the rocks they find and putting them downhill from the trail to help contain the dirt.

They have some great banked turns.

Here is an action shot of me (on the right) stolen from a friend’s facebook post. Hopefully he won’t sue me.


We came to end of the construction. They only have about a half mile or less to finish this segment. This is the first mile out of 13 or 14 miles in phase one of five phases.

They hope to open this in the next few weeks. I think it will be epic. They asked each one of us what we liked and what our concerns are. Everybody loves the trail, the main concern is minimizing conflicts between bicyclists and walker/runners. This trail will be the fastest bicycling trail on the mountain when it is completed and will be popular with the jumps and steep banks. The Riverparks Authority is planning on a lot of mitigation measures such as making sure that the turns have clear sight lines and education measures so everybody understands who has the right of way (people on foot do) and encourage mutual courtesy.

So we are pretty excited about our new trails. There are other changes coming as well. They might be having the first prescribed burn. That will help a lot getting rid of non-native species and clearing out the understory.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday. Come join in!!