September 29, 2013
A week after the autumnal equinox, Wendy and I decided to take advantage of seasonal weather for our first out-of-town hike since we hiked in Colorado in mid-July. It rained three inches the day before, so I quested for a unfamiliar paved trail in the region and decided that a stretch of the old Katy Railroad south of Cleveland, Oklahoma would be suitable. We could drive west and south through the Osage Hills to visit Hominy and Cleveland and then loop by downtown Tulsa for dinner, completing a 135 mile loop.
We drove 50 miles to Hominy, best known to me for its old empty buildings adorned with aging murals by Cha’ Tullis, along with metal silhouettes up on the hillside. We stopped at the historic Drummond home for a guided tour with manager Beverly Whitcomb. She was charming and showed off the 1905 abode, which has many of the original furnishings.
We then drove another 11 miles south through Cleveland to park near the Cedar Creek Apartments along the abandoned Katy railroad right-of-way to hike the asphalt trail eastward toward the Arkansas River and the northwest end of Lake Keystone. It was odd to see power line towers atop concrete pillars in the pool near Cedar Creek. Birds were lined up on a concrete ridge jutting out of the water.
Up ahead we spied the white stone marking the official end of the trail, with a couple wandering about down there. They crossed the Arkansas on the old railroad bridge ahead of us, fishing poles in hand. Wendy did not want to traipse across the softening ties with their treacherous gaps, so I proceeded alone about 1000 feet across the long aging bridge to the far side.
I passed high above a couple of fishermen, laughing by the shore of the Arkansas. The crossing was made more interesting by a missing tie with spiderwebs spanning the gap. There was some fire damage along the bridge, and the eastern end lacked ties, so I had to finish atop a metal side beam.
I gazed back across the long bridge, Wendy lost to sight at the far end. I spied the couple who had crossed ahead of me down by the riverside, preparing to fish. I then recrossed the long bridge, glad to reach the western end where Wendy awaited me, proferring a water bottle. We returned to the car, sweaty but glad of our exercise.
We drove 33 miles southeast for a tasty dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Tulsa’s Brady District, afterward enjoying a free concert of Jamaican ska by The Skatalites at the adjacent Guthrie Green, a welcome conclusion to our day trip.