Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Down in the ditch

This morning I ran South along Riverside to the outdoor gym around 53rd street. On a whim, I scrambled down the steep bank to a ditch that runs parallel to the river. It runs between the bank and a large scrub covered dune, collecting water from concrete pipes that drain the neighborhoods just East of Riverside. The place is quite beautiful if you ignore all the trash that has been deposited from the heavy rains. Riverside is just a few hundred feet away, but this place feels remote.

Here is an example of one of the flood control outlets.

The bank has slowly eroded around this structure so they've had to reinforce it with some pilings. The pilings themselves are decaying, so this may be gone in the next flood.

If you follow the ditch South, a nice view of Turkey opens up. I'd like to come back here with my DSLR sometime.

Monday, November 24, 2014

In black and white

I ran the new trails on the South side if 61st on Sunday. Like the Hi-chi, these trails are pristine single track, a real pleasure to run. I've been told that is belongs to a private land owner who's cool with bikers and runners using his land. If you look carefully, there are all kind of cool artifacts strewn about the property.

All pics taken with my iphone.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Old trees and a mystery

I had a few events to work at this weekend, so I left work early on Friday and drove out to Turkey for a short afternoon run. It was around 70 degrees and overcast, only a few days after our "polar vortex."

I took the Hi Chi trail Northbound, my favorite on the river side of the mountain. The trail is actual singletrack. It's used far less and is designed much better than the other trails that hug the Eastern side of Turkey Mountain.

There are some ancient trees on Turkey, particularly in the areas where it has been too steep for early settlers to harvest. This is an example of one of them. If I had to guess, I'd say this old sentinel was around before Tulsa was settled by the Creek tribe. Old trees around here are not necessarily the tallest. Rather, they are distinguished by their twisted and knotty trunks. Their battle scars bear witness to the endurance of life in an environment of extremes.

all pics taken on my iphone

There is still some color to be found on the trails.

A strange billed creature emerges from the oak. A platypus, perhaps?

I returned on the far Western end of the wilderness area. This is a crossing of a creek bed that remains dry for most of the year. I dream of wading through a knee-deep torrent rushing over these rocks. Someday, I will live that dream.

And then I found this. Woodchips on the pipeline trail. It looks like they did some tree clearing here, but for what purpose? I guess this is on the Simon property, but I can't image why they would clear trees here, so far away from the road and so far below the ground that was cleared last year.

The Pipeline trail up to 61st was flattened and widened by obvious tractor traffic. The actual site of the proposed outlet Mall is up the hill on the right and the wood-chipped area is behind me. Hmmm...

They don't have permission to build yet, so what is going on? Just routine property maintenance? A mystery to be pondered.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A change in the light

We are approaching the end of the year, and in most places the running season is winding down (or finished). Many runners take the Holidays off to rest and recover, but for me, it's a completely different story. Late Fall is the time when I invariably recover my love of running. After burning out in the heat of our Midwestern summers, the cooler air easier is to breathe, the woods are more inviting, and the Holidays come with more free time.

But I think the single greatest reason for my annual recovery is the light. With the autumnal equinox, the sunlight changes from an oppressive overlord to gentle companion. The angled light in the winter leaves room for darkness and subtlety, and the beauty of all things becomes more apparent.

This summer, while mild by Oklahoma standards, was the worst mentally for my running. At some point in August, the issue was no longer simply training in the heat. I wasn't able envision myself at the starting line of the Fall races that I had considered earlier in the year. So I stopped preparing, and ran only when I felt like it. In August and September, that was not often.

In October I was running a bit more, and went on a backpacking trip down in the Ouachita Mountains, so I felt conditioned enough to run the Turkey and Taturs 10k on Nov. 2nd. I did better than expected, finishing just under an hour. It was a fun race; I finished third and had to work hard to keep the fourth finisher at bay.

All this to say my mojo is back, and I hope to post here more often with tales adventures in the wild

The Ouachita Mountains in October. Taken with my Canon S100.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Autumn color on Turkey Mountain

With the warm and dry Fall we've had, the native Oaks, Maples and Cottonwoods have shed their green later than usual. I don't think it's quite "peak" yet, but the colors are beautiful. This morning the woods were lit with a golden light, filtered down through the yellow, orange and red leaves. You don't need any self motivation to keep moving on these kinds of days.

All pics taken on my iphone.