Starting from the previous part of this journey, Crutcho Creek wanders through the east side of Frolich Meadows, which is off the map at the bottom. I know from experience the creek is hidden behind high fences and impenetrable foliage back there. From there, it passes through Meridian Sooner Road Mobile Home Park, where I lived during the mid-1990s. However, it is now owned by Yes Communities and I won’t set foot on any of their properties except for direct ministry work. So the first image for today starts where the creek leaves the trailer park and runs along between the street and the edge of their property (above left).
Back when I lived in this park, the back edge of my space faced onto the creek. That space was subject to over-wash from flooding every few years and the trailer is gone now, but back in the mid-90s I noticed the back yard was washing into the creek. So I invested some time and culled some rubble from the creek bed and built a retaining wall. It’s easy: (1) tip all the rocks back against the bank — don’t lay them flat. (2) Insure the alignment of the rock facing leans back into the bank, as well, following a natural corrective slope. Never stack rocks vertically. (3) Work the pieces until they fit tightly, using smaller stones to fill gaps. After all of that was done, I back-filled the space with silt from the bank where it was dropped in a corner farther downstream. There was a narrow path and I lugged a 5-gallon bucket back and forth some 40 trips to restore the loss. I couldn’t see it today, but the last time I checked, the wall still stands these 20 years later.
From the dismal second image of the creek, where folks have dumped shopping carts stolen from the Walmart up near Sooner Road, it runs through some old housing up next to Tinker. On the base it looks much cleaner, as I saw back when I had access to the base. It also runs through their golf course and comes out on SE 29th near our local Sam’s Club wholesale store (third picture, above left). From there it runs across private undeveloped land (fourth image, above right) until it passes the old Holiness Camp where folks used to gather periodically in temperate weather for brush arbor meetings. You can just barely glimpse the concrete squares in the grass for the tents (above left). The next image of the creek shows a lot of regrowth from the days when the campground was kept much more clear.
On the other side of Sooner Road, the creek has seen dramatic development prior to a building boom. That bridge in the background isn’t actually rusted, but it has a coating that makes it look that way. The next image is taken from the metal bridge facing out over a huge flood basin next to the creek. The vast majority of the basin is hidden behind trees, but it runs west all the way to Vickie Drive.
There really isn’t much to see at Vickie Drive (image left). I recall this bridge is new, replaced a couple of years ago. The contractors took forever and I remember hearing from someone who knew about municipal affairs that there were some very embarrassing delays. Crutcho Creek continues on behind a very long-standing church and swings back north across SE 15th Street (image right). On the north side of the street is a large wedge of land along the creek between the street and Interstate 40. Del City built their library on that wedge conjoined to a fire station. They also built a park with the municipal pool out back and parked their original city hall building there (image left). Then they added the bike path and, in the past few years, a very extravagant veterans memorial (below right).
The bike path runs down along the creek under the interestate and comes out into Ray Trent Park on the other side. This was the area I previously mentioned as concealing more ancient native artifacts. However, the archaeologists can’t get funding yet to make a proper dig, so they have kept the site’s location a secret. All I can tell you is that the location is along the banks in Ray Trent Park. It’s a really huge park running quite a ways north to where the city has a bunch of youth soccer fields next to an old water tower (above left). The gates were closed up on the Reno Avenue entrance, but I just slid my bike under and headed back east to get his picture where the creek runs under (image above right).
From there, I headed north on an orphaned section of Vickie Drive that I’ve taken hundreds of times as the way to avoid traffic by connecting to NE 4th westbound. But just short of that corner, Crutcho Creek passed under Vickie one last time. I stopped for a bit because it was the most peaceful spot of the day (image above left). The water flows over a small drop and hisses beautifully in the quiet of the woods. It runs through some woods I’ve explored in the past chasing those old decommissioned railroad tracks. Indeed, the railroad bridge was dismantled over the creek, but I can’t get through the foliage in the summer time. So I rolled on north to NE 10th Street where there stands a massive petroleum tank farm. There’s a pipeline head there on the corner where gasoline and other consumer distillates are loaded out on tanker trucks. Down and around on Sooner Road I turned back south to catch the third and last time Crutcho Creek passes under Sooner Road (above right).
Today I did something I’ve long wanted to do: I rode down to where that huge unnamed tributary culvert runs between two housing developments (above left) and all the way to Crutcho Creek. It was a nice quiet ride, but at the far end the creek has just enough water level to back up into the culvert (image right). There are at this point two side feeders from a flood plain on either side of the tributary. I rode up onto the one on the right; it was well mowed and I could ride all the way to the bank of Crutcho Creek. You can see the water running in a deep cut (above left) even though the whole area is a broad flood plane. On the other side of the creek is a huge open sod farm, and they have an irrigation line running down to pull from the creek (image right). I can tell you from experience that the water is semi-toxic to humans way back south in the first few miles because it’s all agricultural or sprinkler run-off water. I had to throw away a pair of sandals after fishing out the rocks for that retaining wall because they smelled awful. However, the water is fine for irrigation.
Though we are only a mile or two from the North Canadian River, and this flat area is all part of a much bigger flood plain valley, Crutcho Creek meanders much farther, almost paralleling the river several miles farther before we’re done. But today I took this one last shot from the same housing development, just off the end of Glenmamor Drive. The water drops over some rubble and makes that lovely splashing gurgle.