“When you’re lost in the wild and you’re scared as a child and Death looks you bang in the eye.”
-Some Canadian Guy
As you‘ve probably realized by now, we here at TOTs like our beer. On occasion, our weekly imbibement ritual is interrupted when we are asked to exercise not only our legs, but also our intricate knowledge of the trails, to search for a lost soul.
It seems that it’s common for folks to wander deep into Turkey Mountain, often underprepared for its disorienting network of paths and “paths”. While we don’t mind performing this civic duty (even when it interrupts our crush time), we thought it might be worth sharing a few tips on how to AVOID finding yourself in a similar situation.
After binge watching Bear Grylls and Naked and Afraid, our team of amateur search and rescue afficionados compiled a list of tips for any Turkey Mountain rookies. It should be noted that none of us are professional Survivormen, and this advice is merely the opinion of the author and does not represent the opinion of the publisher (Don’t sue us please) (We don’t have any money anyway.)
1. Get a Map
If you don’t have a map, a map will be provided to you at the parking lot. Granted, this map is mounted to steel and set in concrete, so you likely won’t be able to take it with you.
Careful examination of the map reveals the great wonders of Turkey Mountain. At the far reaches, one may catch a glimpse of the YMCA or the wastewater treatment facility. Reaching one of these landmarks informs you that you’re as far from the parking lot as possible. It is also worth noting the other boundaries of the park, which will indicate to you that you’re about to leave the park or have already. The boundaries used by the TOTS crew are as follows: to the North, if you hit I-44 or the Pepsi Plant, you’ve been out of the park for like half a mile. To the east, if you hit the Arkansas…you can try your hand at swimming, but we recommend turning back and heading west. To the South, you’ll make contact with 71st Street. If you’re dodging four lanes of rush hour traffic, you’ve gone too far. Finally, to the West, the melodic hum of tires on Highway 75 would indicate that it’s time to pick a new path.
If you don’t think you’ll remember what the map looks like, take a picture before you take a hike. If you never learned to read a map, perhaps consider buying a GPS or just going to a city park with a swing set and some slides.
2. Trail Markers
There are three primary trails named Red Trail, Blue Trail, and Yellow Trail. They were named after the color of markers nailed to trees in the area. If you should come across this mysterious signage, keep following that color until it leads you to the parking lot. If all you can see is green, you’re in the woods. While this can be unnerving, it’s perfectly normal keep walking until you see a trail sign.
You may be tempted to touch, alter, move or even steal the trail markers, thus dooming only yourself when you inevitably get turned around on your next loop. We recommend not being that person.
3. Power Lines
The natives of Turkey Mountain long ago erected massive lines of power, which run through the not-literal, but close enough, middle of the park. These primordial signal beacons guide wayward souls back to the parking lot. If you come across power lines, follow these glorious stanchions to freedom. If you’re walking toward the city skyline and are trying to find your way back to your car, please turn around and strongly consider never reproducing.
For the polydipsiacs in the audience, this will come as no surprise, but you have to drink water to live (as do your pets). According to NOAA and the EMHI, it’s hotter than two hamsters in a wool sock here in Oklahoma. Despite TOTs’ affinity for barley pops, we advocate carrying non-alcoholic water on the trail. You don’t want to be drinking from the wastewater facility you found on your great odyssey through the wilderness.
If you should stumble upon fungi growing serenely on the hillside that you cannot positively identify, don’t ingest it even if it is calling angelically (especially if it’s calling angelically?). Mind-altering substances and unfamiliar trails will lead you astray. As we all know, Sasquatch was just a normal guy until he got lost and didn’t shave for a few decades. Legend and recent sightings say he’s still out on Turkey Mountain to this day.
But if you’re like to actually find your way home again…we recommend calling out to the TOTS crew.