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Scrubbing the Mountain

Posted Jan 12 2013 7:05pm
This morning, despite gray skies and spitting rain, 38° temps and north winds, over 80 people cam out to help clean up Turkey mountain. Hammerhead Bicycles, RiverParks, and TATUR joined forces to put on this clean-up day and everyone was eager to go to work. joined force
Some were interested in clearing fallen trees and overhanging branches, some were focused on repairing the trail where erosion is beginning to be a problem, and many (myself included) were picking up trash. WHY, in the urban paradise, would there be trash? Because Oklahoma has an abundance of stupid inconsiderate people who think it's ok to toss or dump their trash alongside the road, or back their pickup trucks a little ways into the woods and unload all the crap and filth from their garage or construction project. It is an embarrassment to me to live in the same world with such slobs!! But today, we made a difference!

Matt Carver from RiverParks put this event together, and is a great friend to the trailz, to me, and to TATUR.

He went over our objectives, and divided us into groups. My group was large (I just LOVE that!) and we went to the north end of the mountain where some trash had been dumped.

A pile of trail tools--I hear they went to good use on the lower yellow trail fixing an area where run-off water pooled.

Russell aka Iron Horse came with our group. Russ is in the thick of all trail running in Tulsa. When he's not racing, he's volunteering.

Lovely, isn't it? Someone did this with a clear conscience. WOW.

But our crew went right to work! I told them to be careful of what they picked up. Everyone wore gloves, and were cautious to not pick up the business end of a hypodermic needle, heaven forbid there was one there. None were found, although there were FOUR METH LABS found by some volunteers on other dump areas. I hesitate even reporting this because I do not want people to think this is not a safe place to come play. Sometimes meth heads have a shake and bake lab going on in their car and toss them out the window. These are often merely plastic bottles with the chemicals mixed. I do not begin to understand the pseudo-science in the making of meth, not understand why it seems so prevalent. As for me, I run at Turkey Mountain several times a week, and have stumbled onto the remains of a meth kit only twice in ten years.

RiverParks graciously loaned us a big truck to load the trash onto. We wasted no time in filling it.

Billy Bob's Mattress Outlet had dropped off a load of nice nasty mattresses. EW!!

And doggone! We woke up this guy who was sleeping off a hard night. Actually, it was my friend Alan aka Yogi, who has a great blog which you should check out after your reading assignment here. Alan pitched in and loaded many loads of trash, and also went with us on a mission described in detail further down this page.

There was a nice inventory of mattresses. A full size mattress and box spring, along with a queen and king size were dumped, loaded, and removed. They were gross.

Iron Horse always wanted to be on TV. And this set had such a good picture!! So lifelike!

On the north end of the big mountain, 50 yards off the beaten trail and almost hidden until the leaves fell, there was a dome tent with an off-and-on inhabitant. I don't know the story of this person, but I do know there are several places for homeless people to find shelter. Two things that bother me about someone squatting like this. Besides it being prohibited, is that every time there has been a camper on Turkey, they have trashed the heck out of the surrounding area. They carry beer cans, Walmart sacks, cigarette packages, and tons of filth and garbage, and it spills out and gets blown all around, and looks awful. Also, who knows what kind of person this is? My wife, as well as a lot of other women run the trailz--sometimes alone. I do not feel it is safe to have a vagrant living 50 yards from the trail like that.
I was sure no one was in the tent as we approached since the vents dome tent were not covered by a tarp. In the past weeks, it had been covered at times and and sometimes not. Evidently, their bed roll had been wet as it had been hanging over a branch for about a week.

We used an old tarp laying near the tent to roll up all the rubbish that was strewn around. And there was a LOT of trash.

We had brought TATUR's big yellow wagon to tote the trash out, but had way more than a load. The occupant had found a sheet of plywood to put at the base of his tent--sort of a moisture barrier. It was pretty waterlogged and Matt suggested we break it in half to use for side-rails in the wagon. I would have bet money that that was an impossibility--but I was wrong. With high walls on the wagon, we were able to load it to the hilt.

We were nearly ready to go when the camper showed up and pulled a gun on us!!

We took off like a flash dragging our wagon behind us!! Just kidding--that was really Bob Doucette who was with us to help. Bob has a great blog about a variety of topics often about trail running on Turkey Mountain. The gun was a toy cap gun, one of many odd things we found in the tent. There were scented candles, an electric tooth brush, a bottle of perfume, duct tape, unopened cans of beer, condoms what were not unopened--ICK!!!

We managed to get ~150 lbs of garbage out of the woods and loaded on the big truck. The gang we had left near the Pepsi Bridge had branched out, and cleaned the perimeter of Pepsi Pond and a lot of the Mooser Creek bed. WOW!

We posed for a parting picture, but there were still 4-5 friends still in the woods picking up bits of litter. Other than a pile right on the bridge which we did not have room for, we pretty well cleaned up the north end of the wilderness. The pile on the bridge will be easy to get to on a future trip.

Matt and I found a long section of cable, and bought hardware to gate off this entrance. There have been some obnoxious four-wheelers motoring around on the west side, and this is where they have been coming in. This cable and the remaining part of the steel gate might just keep them out. We'll see.

Meanwhile, back at the main parking lot, all the workers converged for hot chocolate, hot dogs, Frito pies, cold beer (which was not all that popular on this cold day), and just general hanging out.

The truck was heavily loaded. A lot of garbage is gone from the woods and roadsides. It's amazing that that was all out there spread out over 2 square miles of wilderness. Sad, but an awesome achievement to have this work done. Thank you to all who came out and helped. You are rock stars!!

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