Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bi-Polar weather, a trash run, and 1000 year old art.

We have bi-polar weather in Oklahoma. Yesterday, it was 75°, sunny, a warm southern breeze, and I was couped up in a building at the fair grounds at a home show!!!! (The good side to that is it will mean lotsa business which in turn finances my trail running addiction what with shoes, gear, race fees, travel, and such.) But Sunday morning, the thermometer tilted the other way. Our group run with the TOTs (Training On Trails) was a more normal 37 degrees, cloudy, with a cold north wind--just like January should be. Zero to -3° is the forecast lows for a couple of mornings this week, along with 10" of snow.But this morning, around 60 runners got up early, dressed warm, and came out to Turkey Mountain to play.Well, SOME of them dressed warm. Wearing shorts is not what I'd do when it's cold and windy.Stormy, the leader of the TOTs give some pre-run directions. As always, we had a fast group, a fun group, and a walking group.Trail Goat and Thing 2 were ready to lead the fun group. They are the designated spider-web-knocker-downers. They either do a great job, or all the spiders are hibernating. I think unless they grow a couple of feet in height, they'll need spider web sticks come this spring.Our group got the hard work out of the way early--UP Lipbuster into a fierce north wind. I'd like to say it was downhill the rest of the day and in fact it almost was.We ran a route that took us by the area where idiot slobs have been dumping gargage on our mountain. Ugly stuff, but I wanted it to be seen and for everyone to hate it as much as I do. A movement is underway to clean this up and get a permanent gate installed on the road that leads to the site.

After a 4 mile loop we ended back at the parking lot, and another trip was underway. The plan was to visit the petroglyph I had recently found. It was great opportunity for those who loved running track.A little bush-whacking was in order as well.I did not count how many came with me, but I suspect around 25 people made the trip.Railroad track, bush-whacking, and did I mention climbing??It was a ways up there--I would say about 75 feet of climb in 100 feet--over rocks, vines, and briars.The carving is faint, but if you're right in front of it, it is easy to see. I have read someplace where it was believed to be 800 years old, but another article said it was likely from the 1st century AD. I had debated whether the carving should remain a secret, but Brian thought it would be cool to take a tour there. I think because of the difficulty of getting there, the climb, the briars, and such, it will rest undisturbed.(A real mystery here--I have blogged for three years and frequently post links here, but try as I may, links pertaining to this petroglyph WILL NOT post on this blog. They dissappear everytime I try to post them!!!)Special thanks to Susan Westmoreland for the previous six pictures. My camera was left in my car, and the shots I took with my iPhone were so-so at best.A climb down some old ancient ladders and we were ready to close the chapter of this exploration. It was time for some breakfast.We had a large group at First Watch. Here, it's possible to eat a healthy breakfast, and I did just that--even leaving the syrup OFF of my waffle.I had the pleasure of meeting Laura, a high school friend of Stormy. She currently lives near Madison, Wisconsin but was visiting family in Tulsa and came out to run with us. She is a new runner, and hopefully we instilled enough poison to get her hooked on trails!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

trail sniffing trumps geocaching

I had about an hour of downtime between a stop near Drumright and a 5:00 appointment in Sand Springs. That is a geocachers window of opportunity, and I selected a supposedly easy one near Lake Heyburn.The entrance to a park area where I thought the cache would be turned out to be on the wrong side of the lake, and by checking Google Maps, I discovered I was less than a mile away by boat, but 12-15 miles away by road. So, I switched hats and put out my trail-radar, and it zeroed in on a trail head quicker than my GPS hones in on a cache!These are equestrian trails, but they were sweet smooth single track that wound around the fingers of the lake up and over ravines, and around the hillsides.My intent was to merely "see" what the trail was like, and I wish I had changed into my running clothes and trail shoes--they were in the car. Instead, I walked out around a half mile, and the trail just kept getting better. But not wanting to make myself late, and not wanting to get my spiffy street shoes muddy, I returned to my car.From there, I followed the road around in the direction I thought the trails were heading, and sure enough, I found a spot where the single track crossed the pavement. By my calculations, one could run at least 3 miles out and back on these trails--maybe much more.Usually, Heyburn is a muddy lake. It has never seemed to me like it had much use in the times I have cruised through in the past. Having trails here, I am pretty sure it will see some more trail runners.This junction pointed to a trail that might lead back to the original trailhead, but I could be wrong.Along this double track trail, there were about a dozen old crumbling picnic tables overgrown with weeds. Funny how this area is more like a ghost lake.This road would have taken me directly to the area where the geocache was, but I like what I found on this side better.One quirky thing about me--I never like to go back the same way I came. Today, trying a different route out was not a good idea.After the second stab at finding a different route, I gave up and took the safe way out. I did have an appointment to get to.

I hurried and made it in time to run with RunnersWorld tonight. Kathy has gotten in some new "arm panties"!! There are several different colors, and patterns, and I immediately found the pair I liked!!My friend Pat took my picture and promptly texted it to everyone on his phone list. This picture will be my motivation to start P90X. I need to beef my guns up to hold my panties up!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm fired up!!!!

This a trail on the west side of Turkey Mountain. Beautiful, isn't it? This fire road runs north and south for around a mile, and has some very nice ups and downs--a good place for some hill work, and it also serves as a great shortcut when you end up frazzled over on the west side and want to get back to the lower parking lot on the east side, as it is straight, and eliminates most of the winding single track.

But backing up a few feet, you'll see what some assholes are doing to our playground.A few weeks ago 30 or 40 runners, hikers, mountain bikers, and nature lovers cleaned up TONS of dumped garbage from this road/trail--a road that was once fenced and cabled. There is a major gas pipeline and this road serves as easement for the periodical maintenance they need, but stupid inconsiderate slobs use this road to dump their crap.Needless to say, this makes me sick, mad, and vengeful. I kicked around through some of the garbage and found a few pieces of mail. I am not saying this is WHO dumped the trash, but they may know who did. I believe these people should be questioned.I did a google search for Bradley Watson--nothing. Checking the online white pages--nothing again. But using the address cross reference, this entry came up.I am wondering--maybe these folks paid someone to clean out their garage and the dolts dumped the trash here. Maybe this was stolen mail? What should be done with these names and addresses---anything? I love my trails. Hundreds of trail runners and mountain bikers feel the same way--this is just like someone dumping right in our front yard. Our Turkey and TATURs race goes right through this area. We have lots of runners from out of state and I am greatly embarrassed that they had to see trash like this at last years race.

The Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness group is talking about getting with the owners of this property to have a gate put up. Funds will need to be raised to do this, and I bet we can get this done. I'd just like to see these trashy dumpy people punished.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Tuesday Diversion

Instead of running in the Botanical Gardens last night, I ran on the river with Bobby and Tom. I feel bad as my good friend Stormy went out to the Botanical Gardens and ran all by his lonesome. I thought he was on our Facebook message loop and had read where everyone had other plans and such. He had a good run anyway though.

Tom, Bobby, and I made a pact to take it easy tonight.I thought this was gonna be another of Tom's fibs where he warms up at a reasonable pace, and runs like an Olympic sprinter the last couple of miles--but he was true to his word and we ran the our entire way at an easy pace.Isn't she lovely? (the sunset AND the girl!!) Dana chose to run her own route afraid she could have not kept up with us, but she would have had no problem with the AARP express.For a change, we ran west to Newblock park, and up the big hill on Gilcrease Museum Road, and came back on the Katy trail nearing downtown. It was a good night for sunset pics, even if they were taken with the oil refineries in the background.My scary tree. This one seems to be sneering at us, warning us to GO BACK! But on we went. Coming back on the Katy Trail which runs alongside HW 64 is a nice run--until you get to the end of the trail where it crosses under a maze of overpasses. This is homeless central with many unfortunate folks taking residence under these bridges. I ran through there a few years ago, and thought a couple of the residents were gonna stop me--asking (or demanding) money. I was afraid, for better or worse, and ran like a scared sissy. (Speedwork.) But tonight, we ducked into a neighborhood before we got to the overpasses. These neighborhoods ale some of Tulsa's oldest houses. They have character, no two looking alike. They are almost all in disrepair and I, having some remodelling knowledge, know they are not worth fixing up, what with faulty wiring, asbestos, lead paint and pipes, clay sewage lines, leaky windows, no insulation, walls with loose plaster, and no doubt mold, and termite damage. Still,these are interesting houses--they don't build houses with this kind of character any more. Maybe in a future post, I'll make a trip there during the day and take some pictures.Folks in this neighborhood frequently have watch dogs who double as guard dog. Some patrol the perimeter of their owners abode with a vengeance. Bobby and Tom were a little ahead of me when this fierce dog made the run at us. Bobby and Tom decided to do a little speedwork of their own, and they dog turned his attention to me. I doubted I could outrun him, so I quickly drew my camera and started taking his picture. This startled the dog, and he kept his distance. But when I turned to walk/run, he made another lunge at me. I ended up with a lot of pictures of him--the one above was the best of the bunch.

Next Tuesday, I'll be back at the Botanical Gardens.

a busy weekend

A busy weekend it was indeed. I ran 32 miles over the two days--all at a leisurely pace. I really intended for that much alone on Saturday, but I'm happy with the 20 that I ended up with. The 12 on Sunday were all on trails and were steady and I never felt beat down. It's time to taper now.Two miles into my Saturday morning, and the sun peeked out of a tree.

Tulsa has hundreds of pelicans who have decided to winter here. I thought they were coastal birds, but the three miles around Zink Dam seems to be to their liking.

Love my running friends. Mitch and Arena are my every day running buds. I enjoyed running a few miles with Rosa, and with a little luck, we might be able to get her on the trails.

I saw Arnold midway through my morning run. It was his 48th birthday, and like most of my ultra friends, he was out to run his age in miles to celebrate. I would liked to have finished up with him, but breakfast seemed more enticing.

Basically, I ran home after eating. I intended on running 30 for the day, but my pace had slowed somewhat, and the wind I was running into had increased--it was cold. I decided to tuck into the woods when I reached the northern end of Turkey Mountain, search for a geocache (which I did not find) and snooped for ideas for this years Barkley Book Fair. While the leaves are off, it is possible to see a lot of rock formations from a distance that are otherwise hidden.Such was the case with this cave. I thought I knew every nook and cranny on TM, but this day, I made THREE discoveries!!! This crevice goes back 30-40 feet into the earth, and is a narrow hallway.It actually gets dark near the back, and the only way I could see what was there was by taking pictures. Good thing there was not a mountain lion waiting for me there. (or a bigfoot!!!)Taken from near the back of the cave.

The next cave was a twin to another cave on the mountain. It's not deep--no passages or anything, and really is more of an overhang. It would serve as a shelter from a storm, and has a great view of the river. Might be a good place for an aid stop for those unfortunate Barkley night runners.

I have read for years about the rune stone carvings on Turkey Mountain. I have found some old carvings that are decades old, but Gwen is supposed to be centuries old. I have been within five feet of this carving many times, but never "looked up." I am convinced this is indeed centuries old. I am also even more fascinated with the lore of Turkey Mountain.

I continued on, and was amazed to find a huge wall of patterns eroded by dripping water.There is a story in these rocks. When I have time, I will find it.I had to climb up the face of this, as going back down would have been far more treacherous.A short careful climb put me onto a trail where we run by every time we go to Turkey. I have been right by much of this hundreds of times and passed it by unknowingly. I suspect Eldridge knows some of the mysteries of this area--I need to find him.

Sunday morning, I ran with the TOTs again. This is the fast group led by Stormy. They looked wiped out, and had finished over six miles at this time, whereas we had finished four in that same time frame.
But tell me our group doesn't look fast! Deon is blazing down the hill--faster than the speed of stationary.I ended the day with 12 miles, and spent the remainder of the day relaxing. Life is good.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A teaser and a belated Tuesday report.

It's late Saturday night, and I took a bunch of great pics of some places never seen by most of my running friends--secret places that have remained hidden on Turkey Mountain.

But I hate to get things out of order. I also have some pix from our Secret Society run last Tuesday. So, if you'll indulge me a little, I'll post a few and I'll get to the Turkey Mountain discoveries tomorrow.Tuesday, we started in our usual hard-to-find location, and we ran a different direction. Holmes Peak was our destination, and since the days are getting longer, we were able to make it there and almost back to our car before total darkness. We had a full moon to light our way, and I was the only one in our group to have a headlamp. Would we need it?

From the top of Holmes Peak looking toward downtown Tulsa. I have never crested this peak withot taking a pictue of this Tulsa skyline. Arena will like this picture since she looks much taller than the Williams center.

From the top, we headed down the other side on a newly cut trail. Our friends with the Tulsa Running Club have been very busy working on the trails here in preparation for the Post Oak Lodge 50K/25K/10K/Marathon/Half Marathon on Saturday and Sunday February 26th and 27th.

We were running short on daylight, but at this point we had ran just a little over two miles, and we all wanted three.
It was a smaller group this night. Tuesday the weather was fairly warm, but a cold front was soon to be bearing down on us.
Looking westward across a beautiful manmade lake at the Botanical Gardens. We headed west on a nicely groomed trail that I knew made a 1.5 mile loop and came back near our cars. I turned on my trusty Princeton headlamp, and we all stayed fairly close through the woods and across a natural grassland area.

In a grove of trees a half mile out from our cars, an eerie bench beckons us to sit for a while. I am quite curious of the significance of the crucifix hanging on the tree.
A final phot of a beaming moon through winter's trees. It was a nice outing and an interesting route. We'll do it again I'm sure.