Tag Archives: Turkey Mountain

Tulsa Wildlife Update

I went hiking earlier this week on Turkey Mountain here in Tulsa. I came across this tiny frog traversing the trail.

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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.

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I also found this egret, or white heron or something several miles north of the Eagle out in the river looking for lunch.

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And white pelicans on a sandbar.

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And a log with two pairs of turtles. I didn’t know that momma turtles gave baby turtles piggy back (turtle back?) rides.

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And a great blue heron. Again at pretty good range. They are skittish!!

That’s it for this week. I am linking with Eileen’s Saturday’s Critters. Lots of really good posts there. Check it out.

Skywatch Friday

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We had a break the other day with unrelenting heat and cloudless skies so I launched my drone from the back yard. These were rainless clouds but hey they shaded us a little bit. This is looking northeast from about 50 meters high.

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And looking straight west. Not a drop of rain in them.

"Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church"

I went downtown for some reason and ended up going by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church across the freeway from downtown. I love the domes that are on the Orthodox churches.

Tulsa Fire Station 4

And just down the street is Tulsa Fire Station 4 which is located right on Route 66 as it goes through town. They had a spiffy new (to me) Route 66 sign that I thought was cool. I posted it on Instagram and on a facebook Route 66 sign. Somebody from out of state asked if that was the only Tulsa fire station on Route 66. So I checked and no, there is one other Tulsa Station Fire Station.

Tulsa Fire Station 66, way out in city limits but in the country on Route 66. They call themselves “The Keepers of the Mother Road.” I thought I knew all the Tulsa US 66 attractions and no I didn’t. Check out their facebook page. They like people to come by and visit if they are not doing anything and host all sorts of school and other groups.

One of the things I do is water the monarch waystation on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain. I went up there Wednesday morning and it had rained!! Not much of a rain but it soaked the parking lot. I didn’t feel much like watering after it rained plus the park had a contractor there laying down sod and I felt that they would probably be wanting to use the water tap and hose that I would be using so I just plugged and abandoned the project (oilfield lingo for giving up) and decided to go hiking. I’ll be back in a few days.

I went by one of the small lakes on Turkey Mountain on my hike. Something about skies and woods reflected on water really attracts me.

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Earlier this week I went on another bike ride on the RiverParks trails. I stopped and inspected the progress on the new pedestrian bridge and dam. Going pretty darn slow is what I think but I got a shot of the crane.

NASA’s Webb Sheds Light on Galaxy Evolution, Black Holes

And this is a photo from NASA from the new James Webb telescope that is taking some spectacular images of space. Click on the photo and you’ll get a description of what you are looking at. I’m still in the stage of just looking at the imagery, the text dulls the mind. (Sorry). They are letting everybody use the pics under a liberal creative commons license. Awesomeness is what I think.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Summertime Happenings

I went to see my brother Bob here in town the other day. He is staying at a nice place. Lots of things for them to do. I got comped a meal with him. It was excellent.

Desert was bread pudding!! It was right out of the oven.

On July 4th, while I was in bed sleeping. Bob got up and did a mile in the halls of his place in his wheelchair. Six laps, he got this medal to celebrate. Not only was I asleep, I had covid so I couldn’t go cheer him on and take photos.

Last weekend, the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition had a work day on Turkey Mountain. Lots of people showed up to do some really hard work repairing erosion damage and rebuilding jumps and all that heavy work. Kudos to them.

What did I do that day? I watered the butterfly garden.

And took videos of the cottonwood trees shimmering in the breeze.

I also gathered up my loppers, a trash bag, and my 32 oz water container and ventured out onto a lesser used trail picking up litter and lopping limbs that intrude on the trail too much. So I didn’t do the big heavy lifting that others were doing but I was doing what I could.

So for a musical interlude, “American Kids” by Kenny Chesney. A fun summertime song. Enjoy

Turkey Mountain’s Human Sundial!

I was on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain the other day and came across something I had forgot about. A Human Sundial.

Here is what it looks like

And here is the instructions and the guy who put it together as an Eagle Scout Project.

So, I stepped on the July step, and sure enough, it gave the correct time. Corrected for daylight savings time of course. I remember discovering this years ago and I completely forgot about it. Nice to find stuff like this again.

Kudos to the Eagle Scouts of the World and their multitude of projects.

I’m linking with Shadow Shot Sunday 2 hosted by the Magical Mystery Teacher

Skywatch Friday – Fun in the Sun

We had a huge hot spell for a while and then lately it has been lots cooler and drier. I have to advantage of that.

One day I went to Turkey Mountain and hiked about three miles. My knee that has been bothering me was not a problem. That made me happy.

I moseyed along on the new trails and some old trails. I love being retired. You got the woods to yourself most weekdays!

I found a good vantage point on the mountain to see the Arkansas River and south Tulsa on the other side. This truly is an Urban Wilderness.

One day Heather and I bicycled 15 miles on the RiverParks trails. Doesn’t sound like much but it was a nice time.

At the house, the crepe myrtles are loving the sun. I posted this image on instagram and while I was thinking crepe myrtles, I typed out azaleas. Nobody said a thing about it except my wife. You need wives like Heather keep you straight. In other news along that line, I had some books to return to the library and so I went there and tried to put them in the book return slot and they wouldn’t fit. You know why? Cuz I was at the post office, that’s why. Heather got a laugh out of that as well. And I’m saying the books would have eventually got back to the library.

And another sunny photo at my MIL’s swimming pool. The net is up because my skin is so white that it causes sun reflections that blind our nations surveillance satellites. Don’t buy that, how about this? The local ducks took to using the pool as their hangout spot. Turns out that ducks can foul pool water quickly.

So that’s about it for me. I hope that everybody (in the northern hemisphere) is enjoying their summer. You folks way down south, just hang in there it will be your turn to have summer in several months. You guys in the tropics. Just enjoy if you can.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!

Weekly Critter Summary

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We’ve had this hummingbird feeder up for weeks. We keep stuff in and clean and refill regularly. The first day we had a hummingbird and nothing since then. Nothing in terms of hummingbirds. We got all sorts of other critters who perch on it or get behind it like this smart aleck squirrel.

And some more bird action in the background.

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And here is a cardinal and a blue jay mocking me about my hummingbird failure.

I went hiking on Turkey Mountain and found this new (to me) bat nest.

I also found this black colored snake in the middle of the trail. He scooted off by the time I got my phone out and ready.

I also found this guy in the middle of another trail. I let him be.

I checked out the monarch waystation and there are more wildflowers popping up.

I saw this little moth looking creature on one of the blooms. Inaturalist says it is a “gorgone checkerspot.” I’ve never heard of that but I’m going with it for now.

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And this doesn’t have anything to do with critters. It’s another jigsaw puzzle. I’m getting to where I am not intimidated by large expanses of sky or water. I’m really enjoying working on online jigsaw puzzles. No pieces are ever lost plus I use the setting where all the pieces are in the right orientation. I know, I am cheating.

I’m linking this to Eileen’s Saturday’s Critters. Go check it out.

Tulsa Backyard Blaze 5K Trail Race

I don’t do too many races these days. For one thing I don’t run hardly at all and for a second, I got out of the habit during covid. I have a soft spot in my heart for trail races though. Big secret is that many people on trail races, and in fact in all races, walk the route. It is not frowned on at all. Last Saturday I ventured to the Herman & Kate Kaiser YMCA on the northwest side of Turkey Mountain for their Tulsa Backyard Blaze 5K.

The race started at the Y and then headed south with an outgoing veer to the east, at the far southern end it looped around and around and then headed pretty much straight back to the Y.

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Here is the race director Mitch giving us instructions. Trail races are pretty easy, just follow everybody else is my motto. I’ve actually gone off the course on a couple of trail races.

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We had a countdown and then we were off. I started way at the back and I thought I would be able to trot a hundred yards or so but my twingey knee said no way Jose! You are walking, so I walked the whole thing.

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About 3/4 of the course, which is all beautiful forestland as threatened a few years ago by Simon Malls wanting to put an outlet mall on the property. The community was outraged and Simon moved somewhere else in the Tulsa area, a totally more appropriate site, cleared off the land put in the first concrete pad and then stopped construction. Can you imagine the above being an abandoned parking lot? It almost happened!!

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I fell in behind this group of ladies. They were setting a good pace for me. They are a group of friends that race together and their camaraderie was fun to watch.

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All the trails were legacy trails, twisty and turney.

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For a post race treat, they had chocolate chip pancakes topped with peanut butter!! They were great!! I had to do a boarding house reach to get one. Sorry, but you do what you have to do at these things.

They had wooden medallions for all the finishers and little coasters for the age group winners. Being the only one in my age group I got one of these. They also had nice tshirts for everybody.

A nice well managed and run race. A good job by the Y for being a great host, Runners World Tulsa for managing the race including clearing and marking the trails and whoever did the timing did a great job as well.

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.