June 7, 2001: Side Trip to Whatley Creek


I left Oaks Crossing early enough that evening that I had time to explore the side roads just a ways from the river. Just on the south edge of Mineral Wells, Southwest 5th Steet heads west from Highway 281, and goes over Whatley Creek. I glanced over as I crossed the bridge, and just about broke my fool neck on the double-take!

Whatley Creek, just south of Mineral Wells. The Southwest 5th Street bridge is in the background.

You've got to understand that most creeks in this part of Texas tend to be rather steep-banked "washes" with small sand bars and mud flats here and there, but rather infrequently interrupting the water. What caught my eye was a creekbed that looked to be all sand with just a tiny bit of water poking up here and there. Could there be any deep, gooshy spots?

Looking away from the bridge, roughly north, we can see that there's plenty of sand, and unfortunately, a fair amount of trash as well. Still, I took a stroll...pretty much the same thing for a good quarter-mile. The squishy places tend to be at either side of the creek bed, yet there were plenty of soft spots in the middle.

Whatley Creek, ironically, turned out to have more, and deeper, quicksand than the river area I had just left! It wasn't real deep, however...the deepest spot I found was just around eight inches. However, I figured that I needed to come back here a time or two, and see how conditions changed throughout the season and with differing amounts of water flowing through the creek. On the downside: quite a bit of garbage. Lots of paper cups and shreds of black trash bags litter the grass on either side of the bank...another reminder of how close I was to Mineral Wells. Still, the damned creek had a good quarter mile of quicksand bed to it, and was pretty gooshy just about everywhere. I'm still pondering what makes conditions here so different from other parts of the same creek just a half mile away, that didn't have all this sand.

Map of this expedition

On to the next expedition