Cycling: Deep Fork and North Coltrane

01KatyTrailOvercast and cool most of my ride today. I started with the Katy Trail and headed north. After several days of heavy spring rains, and before the mowers get around to it, this is the Katy Trail looking northward approaching NE 16th. If green is a favorite color, you are in luck today.

02RemingtonHorseHotelI left the Katy Trail at Remington Park. Cutting across their massive acreage of paved parking, I caught this view of the horse hotel across the north end of the race track. This all sits down on one of the few flat spots along the Deep Fork River. As noted before, the Deep Fork drains through some of the most rugged urban terrain I’ve seen in the US, and plenty of it is still near a wild state.03DeepForkMLKing Unfortunately, after more than a dozen tries at different times and locations, I’ve not been able to get a good shot of the steep ridges in this part of town. But here’s a shot of the river with a little extra flow viewed from the bridge on Martin Luther King Boulevard. It swings right and drops over a short rapids where you see that gravel bar across it.

04PigeonMuseumUp on NE 63rd and east a ways are a couple of houses with large pigeon coops, but there is also this American Pigeon Museum next to the American Racing Pigeon Union (I think their websites suck). Up on top of the ridge is a health complex that houses some university health sciences extension and part of the Oklahoma County Health Department. It’s got a lovely fitness track out back, but no bikes allowed. There’s a decent view back down to the valley floor but the trees hide it from the camera.

05-6520NBryantStaying on NE 63rd eastward, once I came out under Interstate 35, I turned left up Bryant Avenue for once. Right away I ran across this lively little house that is probably doomed given the development going on out there.06DeepForkV-NBryant Climbing up the ridge where a side road passes over the Interstate, I turned and saw this wide vista looking down onto the Deep Fork Valley. You can see evidence of construction in the foreground, and the camera fails to capture the rapid rise of the far ridge.07DeepForkWilshire Coming back down and turning right on Wilshire, I shot back upstream on the Deep Fork. This is looking south; please note that this is the higher end of the Deep Fork before it really starts to cut deep outside of NE OKC.

08PastureEWilshire With all the deep woodlands around these parts, I thought this view up an open pasture was refreshing. At the top of this long climb, Coltrane cuts north-south across my path and I turned right (south), having never seen any of it before.09-7700NColtrane The first thing I encountered was this unique little house. It reminds me of stuff built in northern climates with so few windows. Coltrane rises a ways, and then drops down into this lovely little valley.NColtrane-twdNE63rd Many of these houses have been out here since this was all dirt roads. Off up the next rise and to the left is a collapsed stone house down by a creek, but I couldn’t get the camera to pick it up through the thick greenery. Getting closer wasn’t an option because of the fresh sprouts of poison ivy on what used to be the driveway. It’s getting that time of year here.

The whole time I was checking for the presence of open trails, even though it was too wet to pursue any of them just yet. There’s at least one along the river in a couple of places between NE 63rd and Wilshire, but a lot of the land up here is fenced and private. Indeed, most of the houses were screened from view by long-standing forest growing up against the pavement. Another mile south on Coltrane brought me to NE 50th, where I turned left (east) and headed over the watershed to the North Canadian. Crossing Sooner Road I dropped down to a spot were the river comes within a short distance of the ratty old blacktop road. It was not at all picturesque, so I continued north back up the NE 63rd, east to Midwest Boulevard and back south to stop for lunch at the bridge.10CranesNCan-MWBlvd I’ve noted in the past the workmen are trying to fill in the space behind the rip-rap wall they constructed where the river bends under the bridge. However, there is a small stream that feed in from behind this spot and white cranes were fishing in the quiet pool formed back there against the sand bank.

You can probably see a bit of track running back up the bank behind them. That’s the end of the trail that runs along the south bank of the river. On my next journey, I’ll try to ride that trail starting way down by NE 10th and coming north to see if it’s actually open all the way.

11IndianPaintBrushesSo heading back home on Midwest Boulevard, I spotted this carpet of Indian Paint Brush flowers in the former grassy airstrip just south of NE 36th Street.

Today wasn’t nearly as long as rides I took on the Edgewood, but Jeanette just doesn’t like to hurry. This ride was unusually hilly because that’s how it is riding anywhere near the Deep Fork River. See you next ride.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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