Today I felt drawn to explore SE 134th where it runs west from the lake into the Cross Timbers off-road riding area. Since I didn’t have a permit to ride my bicycle in that area, I stashed it against a tree out of sight and locked it up. This was going to be a long hike. This is “winter” where the grass is brown and deciduous trees are bare, but today it was about 60°F (16C) and winds were light out of the NW, sunny skies with a few scattered high clouds. So our first shot is just the kind of scenery visible from this battered road I took. The second shot is the battered road.
Since this runs through the riding area, you can’t avoid seeing trail entrances and exits onto the road. The trails are all marked, color-coded and one-way with little signs warning when you are riding against traffic. Here’s what one of the gates looks like (image right). I noticed that just a little ways farther west of here was evidence that cattle still get to wander out here a bit, but probably not during riding hours.
It was just over a mile one way, over several high ridges, to the main branch of West Elm Creek. Back when this was still a road for autos, there was a trestle bridge across it. I took a lot of pictures but several just didn’t turn out. I was able to cross the creek on stones using the bike trail, and found a good view from the west bank where the edge of the road is held by a concrete retainer. First is the view upstream, showing a part of the trail descending steeply to the water. The second image is downstream. The bridge collapsed under high water and was pushed down stream.
The final shot is straight across at road level showing where the bridge remains partially attached to the east bank abutment. Thus, you can see more than a decade of nature reclaiming some of the soil, but viewed in winter when there are no insects to devour intrepid photographers.
I encountered a couple of riders who thought something was wrong when they saw my safety vest, but I told them it was just to make it easier to see me. They offered to give me a ride after I told them where I was headed, but I decided it was good for me to hike. I had ridden in on the Sooner Road corridor down the west side of the lake loop to SE 134th. After the long hike over hill and dale out and back, I was already pretty tired. After reclaiming my bike, I rode just far enough to find a picnic table and ate my lunch. Then I chugged my way against the headwinds back home up Sooner Road again. By the time I got home, I had the odd dizzy feeling from riding too long and hard with insufficient clothing. I was okay in shorts and t-shirt until I got really tired. But I made it home in time to fool with this laptop and get everything installed so I could process these pictures.
Thanks for riding along!