For those of you who read my column religiously each and every week, you know I've encouraged you to get outside and enjoy the spring. For the handful of you who don't read my column 4-7 times weekly: get outside. It's spring.
I have a strict set of guidelines for those potential outdoor activities in and around Tulsa. First of all, it has to be something I want to do and won't put me in any great danger.
"Yes, I will go for a walk with you by the river, friend."
"I'm going to have to pass on the midday cow tipping on the property marked 'Trespassers will be shot.' Sorry."
My second and most important rule is that any and every activity that I take on outside must afford a view of the BOk Tower. I picked my house based on this.
"Yeah, it's a three bedroom, three bath with an 8-person Jacuzzi and a theater room and they're asking $175 a month, but the many shade trees block any view of downtown. If I'm gonna look out the west window at Burger Street, I must have some BOk action to balance that out. Really, the pool's lovely and the free internet helps, it does help, but I don't think it's for me."
I have subcategories under each of these main guideline headings, but I'll leave that to private conversations. After all, I don't wish to sound a little off. I'm not going for that.
Because of this I actually listened when someone suggested a jaunt about Turkey Mountain. Turkey is, after all, tied for my third favorite poultry. You're a delicious bird, turkey. You might consider that to be a non sequitur. If so, that's pretty judgmental of you, don't you think?
I love a good hike. Not one that is going to make me sweat tremendously, because that's too much, but one that lets me know I'm outside. A little fresh air, a slight increase in heart rate, and a break in sweat is acceptable, but no towels should be required. This is what I had in mind when I made my way to Turkey Mountain, only a short drive from downtown Tulsa with a public parking lot located at 69th and Elmood.
I packed a cooler of sandwiches-turkey, of course-and set off on what would be a new perspective of the BOk Tower. I was excited.
I had not been warned about the number of mountain bikers at Turkey Mountain, but upon my arrival it was quite clear that biking was being done. Mountain biking is something I've always been interested in, but my own clumsiness and knowledge of it have deterred me from getting involved. I'm accident prone. I do a good enough job of injuring myself without the added obstacles and speed. For those of you less accident prone or oblivious to your own clumsiness I understand Turkey Mountain has some of the better riding in the state.
I did see some wildlife. I got just enough exercise and sun. And, I had a glimpse of the sure elegance of the BOk. I failed to see any tortoises, but saw a fair number of birds, so I was pleased, but not overly pleased.
For hiking and biking there are several different trails and places to get lost. Don't go alone or without a cell phone. On my hike, I wasn't concerned about my safety. My girlfriend was with me. She can be tough when she needs to. I also had enough bars to place an emergency call if we ran into any snakes. And, the sandwiches were in hand just in case we took a wrong turn and needed a snack. I plan ahead.
Don't Lay that Trash
I did see some litter on the trail. I love Mountain Dew as much as the next guy, but, if full, it belongs in a vending machine, or in a recycle bin, if not. Seeing one lodged in the trunk of an oak hurts my tree-appreciating heart. Squirrels don't need all that caffeine. They're naturally active creatures.
Again, as I've said before, I studied the environment in my collegiate days. Upon arriving in Tulsa I thought it beneficial for me (in meeting people) and Mother Nature to get involved with recycling, as I enjoy it and had done without it for the two years previous. I found myself saying, "Okay, there aren't many sentences you want to end with: yeah, we don't do that as well as Tennessee." But, many of the cities in Tennessee are far better at recycling and "being green" than Tulsa. It's a shame.
Based on the EPA's figures, as a nation, our overall recycling rate in 2007 was 28.5 percent. Each Oklahoman produces 7.1 pounds of trash per day, but only 3.5 percent of that is recycled. That's right. Oklahoma's overall recycling rate is 25 percent lower than the national average. We can do better, people!
I know there are reasons for this, but if we wish to improve we can. Curbside recycling within Tulsa is only $2 per month and it only requires you to carry your recyclables to the curb twice each month. Plus you get a green bin.
Recycling isn't a terribly profitable business, but it does create local jobs, it benefits our delicate environment, and has you reading and me writing about it. Also, the services will only improve if more of us take advantage of them. (For more details: http://www.cityoftulsa.org/Environment/Recycling/).
I know the mayor would appreciate it and you'd feel better about yourself, too. It's a win-win situation.
Maybe this article will convince those Turkey Mountain turkeys or you that trees and aluminum don't mix, but recycle bins and aluminum do. Maybe I'm wr... Wait, no, I'm not wrong. I'm so right on this one. Recycling is cool, or at the very least better than littering and/or only using an item once.
If you're still not convinced, shoot me an email. We'll meet up at Turkey Mountain (during the day, of course), enjoy a hike, I'll convince you of the benefits of recycling, reducing, and reusing, and then we can gaze at the BOk Tower. I only hope there will be some tortoises around that day.
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