Saturday, March 28, 2015

Three runs in three counties in one day.

While a lot of my friends were in Kansas taking on one of the easiest 100 mile races out there, I was home. But not at home sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself. I was asked to lead a group hike on Turkey Mountain. The Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition sponsors group hikes and walks periodically, and this morning we had 8 in our group. We took a modified Yellow Trail for our route, and some of the group had their first taste of trailz, while some went much further into the deep woods than they had ventured before.

After that, I headed west to Lake McMurtry. Part of the north trailz for our upcoming race had been closed, making the 25K loop 1.1 miles short. Ignoring that would turn the 50K into a 46.5 K, which wold result in come convoluted PRs. But with the help of Theron Wolford, a new route has been established which pretty well fixes this issue. A bit of extra course marking, and a bonus aid station at a crucial turnaround will make the race even better.

After that, I went to check on a job SW of Mannford, which was right on my way home. I had actually been in this area a couple of times in recent days and had taken pictures of a small but very beautiful lake. I could JUST SMELL trailz here, and took a few minutes to check it out
Near the dam to the north, I saw these bluffs, and was itching to explore.

Zooming in, it looks like there was a small cave here--just big enough for a bobcat. 

Looking south, the small lake. It was a bit on the muddy side due to recent rains. I could hear what sounded like rushing water below the dam, so I hopped the guard rail and tromped down a brier covered embankment.

What a nice surprise awaited me at the bottom. The music of the double waterfall was amazing. I actually drank the sound in for a few minutes before climbing back out.

Then on the other side, my trail sniffer proved to be accurate. This trail app reared to lead around the perimeter of the lake, but sadly led only  50 yards to a littered fishing spot. There was another small cave just big enough for a sleeping bag, or a mama mountain lion and some cubs.

I got back in my truck and headed home, but only made it about a half mile where my trail radar went off the charts again?!?!?

This jeep road led south into the woods, and was blocked at the entrance by a couple of huge boulders. There was not a NO TRESPASSING sign to be seen (not that it would have mattered) so I parked and went for an adventure.

This severely twisted tree caught my attention. The majority of the route was decorated bu leafless and dead looking trees. It looked like a tenderbox just waiting for a wild fire.

ABout 1/4 mile in, the trail stated a sharp decent, and the magical sound of running water again filled the air. The road came to a rocky water crossing, with this pool running into a narrow channel and cascading into a larger one and on to another small waterfall.

WOW! I was amazed to find this place. I hopped around trying to get to the best angle for pictures, By now, the sun was far in the west so I had to get downstream to get the sun at my back.

Scrambling down a drop-off, I got below the falls and tried to get a panorama pic. It just does not do this area justice. We'll see if a video I took does any better.

Below the falls and pool, looking back east, This is about an eight foot waterfall, and puts out a playful roar. This water is probably plenty deep enough for a swim, but maybe not deep enough for diving. Somehow, I bet I will find out in the next few weeks.

Looking back west at the high bluffs and early evening sky. The creek meanders on eventually spilling into the lake I saw earlier. 

This is the jeep road heading on south. Looking at my map app, it appears this road goes another half mile and then turns east. But it also looks like a lesser road turns back west and crosses the creek again. Could be interesting. Another trip is in order.

Near the top of the climb out of the falls area. I came upon a couple of fallen trees, and I was running out of time, so I headed back.

Running into the sun. I will definitely come back here. I was met at the road by a dude in a pickup truck who asked if I was scouting for turkeys. He showed me some folded up piece of paper which I guess gave him authority to ask me that, but I told him I was just a trail runner and was taking pictures of the falls. He seemed fine with that, and drove on. When my time allows, I'll go back to check out what looks to be around 3-4 miles of trailz one way. Never stop exploring.

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