Sunday morning, the TOTs had another field trip/ road trip/ trail trip-- whatever ya wanna call it. We went north to Bartlesville, and then westward toward Pawhuska to the Osage Hills Sate Park to run the awesome trails in this secret getaway. About 22 trail runners made their trip, and as is usually the case, we split into groups based on pace. Stormy led the speedsters, I had the Supermediate group, and Catherine led the walkers. The folks at the park office were nice and friendly, as was this bear guarding the door.
We parked by the office, and found that the bathroom near there was closed for the season, but at a nearby campground, there was a bathroom open. Rather than driving over, we ambled over that way. We goofed around, took a few pics including this group shot. Brian gets credit for this picture since the ones taken by him with my camera made me look fat. Brian's new camera is amazing. He takes the pix in "raw" format. I'm not sure what that actually means, but he is more able to edit them, enhance them, and add special effects. Maybe, if I even need another camera, I'll look into that.
Russel ponders--should I stay with the walker group, or run with TZ's Supermediate group?
Here's a bunch of speedy trail runners. Shannon, Brenna, Tim, Amelia--they all run circles around me.
Ford came over from Bartlesville to run with us. This was his first trail run, and he hung well with the fast crowd. (And yes, he drives a Ford.)
Stormy and I go over the proposed route. Of course we could go any way, but I thought it best to find a route that took in all of the park trails and also hit all the scenic spots--there are several.
The speedy group took off with the Supermediates not far behind. But because of their blazing speed, the fasties ran right by one of the best destinations in the park--the Tower. This rock structure sits on the highest hill in the park, and affords a great view to the east. But, Stormy and crew made a second smaller loop after the 5 miler and visited the tower. In true gang fashion, they posed for this bad-a$$ pic.
And then our group arrived at the tower. Rob and Kate pose for a father/daughter shot.
Russel and Kathy, on the other hand, act out a sacrifice to appease the sun god. It didn't work, as it stayed cloudy and cool all day.
Osage Hills has a mix of all kinds of trails. You can run on smooth pine needle covered track, rocky craggy trails, big rocks, little rocks, sand, and just grass. This section featured scrub oak and hickory leaves lining the trails.
It WAS Sunday, and we stopped and had a short church service at the amphitheater.
Next, we stopped by the Osage Hills Autoplex. Kathy is in the market for a new vehicle and took this coup for a test ride.
The northern end of our loop brought us right over Lookout Lake. This lake gets it's name from the trail above where if you are not "looking out," you'll trip on one of the millions of rocks and fall down.
A little further around on our loop, we stopped at a rock formation that looked like it might have a cave. It did not, but we regrouped and took a few more pictures. Rob heads around the corner to make a....err....a phone call.
Kathy recently got new glasses, but they did not help here here. She blindly blew right by the Wrong Way sign.
Bridges. They don't build them like they used to. Bridges in Tulsa last maybe 10-15 years. Often, they have to be re-decked, or dismantled and rebuilt from scratch. This bridge has been here since the 30s, and is as strong as the day it was built.
Yes, there are some easy trails here. Here, you could actually take your eyes off the ground 10 feet ahead without worrying about tripping.
Quite possibly the best part of the trip was visiting Sand Creek Falls. This creek--really a river--cascades over a rock shelf and several huge boulders. When the water is a little lower, it is breath-takingly beautiful. The water is not always this muddy, but with the recent snow melt-off and the couple of days of rain, quite a bit of water was roaring through.
Brian disguises a pee break by acting like he's taking pictures.
The sound of running water does a number on me--I needed a pee break! I think Brian knew that (this is his from his camera) and I did not give him the chance to snap that pic.
A swim, anyone? I could have plowed the crowd and took them ALL in, but I restrained myself.
A last look at the falls, and then we moved on.
This is a little further west. Here, the river is some 30 feet below, and we're atop some huge bluffs. Might be a good diving place, but no one was willing to test that out.
We're nearing the end of our run. There is a long out-and-back with a lollypop loop that is a well maintained grassy wide trail. Looks like maybe they just mowed a swatch, and it became a trail, but I like it a lot. You can make up some time here as it's flat and rockless.
My usual tree against the sky shot. You've seen this one a lot. No sunset pics today.
Our group met the speedy group, and we swapped stories and lied about our distances--I think it's a given that they ran a LOT further than we did. I like it that way. We had more fun goofing around along the way.
We met at Murphy's in Bartlesville for what was supposed to be breakfast. I had called to make sure they were open on Sundays and IF they served breakfast. I was told they served breakfast all day, but when we saw the menu, there was hardly a breakfast menu at all. They did have eggs, and ham, and could make some toast. Hmmm.... But they do have one thing they are famous for--the Hot Hamburger.This is an open-faced burger on toast, topped with a generous helping of hand cut fries, and smothered with brown gravy. YUM!!!!
Brenna has a castrophe. For whatever reason, her ketchup bottle exploded. Ameliam was quick withh the camera, and took several pictures. Good blogging material.
Then, she turned and snapped the snapper. It was a war of the papparazzi.
We had an awesome trip--maybe the best field triup so far, in my opinion. Our next planned trip is to Greenleaf in 4 weeks.
Just a note--I have had a busy weekend. Look for a post that coveres the adventures Stormy and I had after breakfast. We made a return trip to the trails and found some wild stuff.
Also, on Wednesday, I'll post my Post Oak Trail Run report. I did not run, but worked an aid station. (Oh, I did run actuially quite a bit, jumping in and unofficially pacing a couple of friends. Check back tomorrow and Wednesday for these write-ups.