Sunday, November 26, 2017

Ghost Towns, Old Bridges, and Unexplored Trailz

I'm still carrying around extra Thanksgiving gluttonous fat (but the pecan pie was SO GOOD, and it WAS reduced at whipped cream) and I ran Thursday, Friday, and Saturday--not long, but my legs said enough was enough. So I decided to find a ghost town or two, maybe find some old barns, old steel bridges, and if that led to a little walking/shuffling/slow jogging, that might be ok too. 

My plans were to go to Neloganey, Osage County between Barnsdall and Pawhuska, but passing over Bird Creek on the way made me want to stop to take a pic of the muddy stream not far from where I was raised. Funny, I have never been there exploring, and have only fished there as aid. (I have given thought to taking up fishing again--sometime-like I have time for another hobby!!!) I parked on the shoulder of the road I was on and checked out this gravel rod to see if it might lead to a fishing spot where I could snap a picture or two. There were no "POSTED" signs, no "NO TRESPASSING", No "KEEP OUT" signs. and the left side of the gate was wide open--you could ride a bike through. Sounded like an invite to me.

It was a great day for a little hike, and I must have planned it because I had brought my Suunto and pushed the button to record my trip. Almost no breeze, temps in the low 60s, and enough clouds to paint the sky. 
I had gone no more than a quarter mile when I saw the first of several abandoned earth-moving machines. And by abandoned--it was clear they had been there for years. They were rusted, the decks rusted through, the seats deteriorated--they had died and were left to rot.

I didn't count, but I bet there were over 10 excavators, bulldozers, backhoes and crawler loaders in the 2.6 miles I covered. I guess when they stopped working, they just left them and bought another to replace it?? The more I thought about it, I wonder if they were ruined in a flood since Bird Creek is notorious for getting way out of its banks during heavy rains.

Surveying this gate, there were no signs, and it was not locked--just a chain hooked. Now please do not think I am encouraging everyone to plow right through any gated off areas. I do not necessarily endorse my behavior. I had a watchful eye for any truckload of gun-toting self-proclaimed patrol-lords. 

And as is my occasional practice, I do try to pick up any litter I see in nature, and I did pick up this bud light can.

I ran down this road for about 3/4 of a mile and turned around. It appeared to lead to a house which was another half mile or so away. I figured their dogs would hear me if I got much closer.

I made a short detour down a steep embankment to see Bird Creek. There's nothing stunning about this muddy creek. It does not make me wanna come camp and fish here. But it is pretty in its own way.

 Same spot--looking up the other way.

The steep embankment had to go back up. Suunto said it was 25 feet. I say 50.

The same road heading back. I'm not sure what all the whitebark trees were. It reminded me of aspens but I'm sure they were not.

 Different excavator. There were 4-5 of these.

Somehow this picture turned out black and white. I also had a colored one that was ok, but I liked this one better.

I eventually came to a gate that had pretty specific signage. The beware of dog one carried weight with me. But if the dog was as old as the sign, maybe I didn't have anything to worry about.

Just to be safe, I left blotted out the street names, but anyone who tries hard enough could figure out where I was. I may or may not have laced a wee bit of incorrect information in the above post so as to throw off any resourceful bounty hunters.

Well, on to the bridges. There are many in the area north and east of Sperry, which is about as far north as I made it this fine Sunday afternoon. While I prefer rusty steel truss bridges, ones that have had preventative maintenance done are acceptable, especially since when they flunk a periodical inspection, they get torn down and replaced.

I like seeing wood decks, but concrete or asphalt decks probably require less repair, or at least is cheaper on the front end.

This one had a unique railing. The diamond cross hatch design served as a pedestrian railing, and in my case, gave a bit of flair to the photograph.

On second thought, maybe the railing was not as safe as I thought. I bet someone crapped their pants when the nose of their car broke through. Or maybe they were drunk and didn't remember it.

 Skies were clearing to the north.

I visited three of the 4 bridges in the area. The 4th was in the process of being replaced. :-( The bridge above had neither a wood or paved deck. It had a steel grate--virtually indestructible. And hey--you could drop your iPhone right through it. I held on tight. The steel had teeth as well, which probably made for good traction during the winter icy season, but also probably would shred bicycle tires. And running barefoot on this bridge--no.

Bird Creek was wide here. I was disappointed that the skies cleared. Taking pictures of old dilapidated buildings works better on a cloudy dismal day. But I have my tricks.

This house in Sperry looked abandoned. Maybe it wasn't--I'm not sure. I am thinking it was converted into a duplex.

 An old gas station? 

 Now, this was a gas station at one time.

 An old house that looks like it was flooded one time too many.

 I remember seeing water right up to this house as a kid.

Downtown Sperry. There were a drug store and a cafe in this block of buildings, but they have been mostly empty for 40 years or more.

Well, next time I do the ghost town hunt, I will make it further north. I'll start earlier, and who knows--I probably will find some good trailz to run too.

1 comment:

  1. What an adventure you had. All those trackhoes and things are a little mysterious. I'm wondering if the landowner was an equipment hoarder, buying worn out stuff cheap with the idea of fixing them up when he gets around to it.