Osage Hills State Park with the TOTs. Trail running, eating, and geocaching.
Posted Jan 23 2012 10:57pm
Sunday, Stormy and the TOTs and I meandered northwestward to Osage Hills State Park. Why?? To run trailz, of course!! I counted 19 of us. There was the person behind the camera, and her husband, who didn't feel like they were a part of the group (pish posh!) and volunteered to take the picture.
We had not made it a half mile before there was a scenic stop--the observation tower which is really a concrete platform with a rock wall around it atop the highest point in the park. Had the sun been in the right part of the sky, there could have been some impressive pics. Stormy took the opportunity to make this his stage for a lesson on proper trail running form. Seriously, he should write an article for Runners World Magazine as his advice is dead-on.
A coldish day with a warmer but windier forecast actually panned out great. It was a perfect day for shuffling trailz.
About every mile or so, the train of runners would stop to let the caboose (me) catch up. I was going slow because 1.I AM slow. 2.I am tapering for Rocky Raccoon in less than 2 weeks. 3.I stop often to take pictures 4.I am also nursing a knee problem.
Next we passed through the car graveyard. I found out later in the day that there was a geocache near here, although I left it unfound.
The trail runs right above Lookout Lake. This is my favorite part of the trail. Such a scenic place--would be a great place for a picnic, although one might pick up a tick or two in certain times of the year.
There are some interesting structures in the next half mile. One sign warned of blasting caps stored in these buildings.
Another sign warned of skinny stick people with canes. (Not me!! Although I felt like I needed a cane.)
I had lagged way behind the group--too many picture stops. So I picked it up a little and a mile later, I caught up. The clouds had all but vanished, the sky was a deep blue. Sometimes, I tweak pictures, but there was no need to. Besides, Osage State Park is beautiful.
There was not a lot of water running over the falls, so the group skimmed right on by what is usually one of the highlights of the loop.
These bluffs are cool. Many a daredevil has dived off these bluffs. Not me. I'm a skeerdy cat.
Stormy lead the group along the edge, thinking the trail led that way. I just hung back and took pictures, knowing they would have to double back.
The last mile or so of the loop is through some bottom lands. This trail started out as a brush-hogged road, but each year, it seems more like a trail. It's pancake flat, and not at all rocky or rooty. A good trail runner can really pick up the pace here. I found the only root sticking up, and took a rolling fall. It's not truly a good trail run unless you fall.
Our run was done. We had about 5.6 miles. Had we ran an out-and-back down to a flat called the ball fields (where there is always deer grazing), we would have had six.
It was time to eat. We debated a little as to our dining choice. Bartlesville has a couple of great choices--Murphy's Steakhouse (which is actually a family restaurant with burgers, fries, breakfast, and HOT HAMBURGERS) and Dink's (a world famous barbecue joint.)
We decided on Murphy's.. We arrived 5 minutes before they opened, and they seemed surprised at the wave of patrons as we invaded their parking lot. The Sunday lunch hour usually brings in the church crowd, but half the restaurant was filled with sweaty trail runners--but they did not seem to mind. And yes, I got the hot hamburger. It is an 8 oz burger on toast, covered with french fries, and smothered with brown gravy. It is a major chore to finish it. I did my best but came up short. This dish is what the diner is famous for--at least half of the customers order it. Thanks to Russell for the pic of me seconds before my feeding frenzy.
Russell and I went back after lunch to hunt for some geocaches. We quickly found our first one, an army ammo box hidden in a bluff. The second cache was called Bugle Bird. The coordinates took us right to a grove of trees, and after not finding it in the larger trees, I noticed this fowl in a small cedar. When it did not spook and fly away, I discovered it was a clue in finding the cache.
Next we hunted for Medusa's Head. This involved a water crossing, a steep uphill scramble, some bush whacking, and an unsuccessful search. This critter offered no clue to finding it either. I did find a small clump of what I think was Medusa's hair. I am thinking the cache has been consumed by a wild animal.
Russell and I found our next eight caches. He would find one, I would find one. He has an uncanny eye for finding things that are out-of-the-ordinary in the woods. Our next to the last cache took us across the dam at Lookout Lake. It's somewhere down in those rocks--are you kidding me?!?!? Atop the bluff looking down. A picture never illustrates the seriousness of the fall--if one were to slip and fall. It was a good 40 foot drop.
Eagle-eye Russell found this one, although I was closing in on it fast. These nifty glasses were in the ammo box--stuff to take, leave, or swap. We just took a picture.
We found one more cache for the day and ended up with nine. We also covered about nine miles for the day.
Our next TOT trip is in 4 weeks--we're going back to Pumpkin Holler to explore some new trailz!!! Join us!!!