Monday, October 18, 2010

A Sand Crick Is……..

On my last post I was asked about a sand crick.  Being from another part of the world that has lots of moisture I can understand.  Sand Creeks and Arroyos are unique to the western US.  Most of the time they are dry streams loaded with sand, hence the name sand creek.  Most of them do carry water but one has to dig into the sand to find it or be able to read where the pot holes of water are.


This is the sand creek that I live next to, it is lined with trees but no water.  A broad avenue of sand going off to the horizon.  The cottonwoods that line the creek consume lots of water.  I believe as much as 200 gallons of water per day.  being next to the crick they have a ready supply of water.  Most of the sand cricks do not have an abundance of trees for they carry little water plus the tillage and wells for water today have changed the water flow off the plains.


There are places along the crick where there are springs and small ponds have been carved out.  Follow this stream a few yards down the hill and it is dry.  The moisture has sunk into the sand and has the appearance of being dry.

Pools like this were keys to the early explorers crossing the great desert of the plains.  The Indians knew where these pot holes were and would lead the explorers to them.  Later they would be stops on the trails and stage coach routes.  The life blood of the prairie.

No longer do the cricks roar after a rain like they used to.  Water would roll off the grasslands in sheets, pouring into the gully's, filling up the cricks and dumping into rivers further downstream.  Walls of water would fly downhill ripping up vegetation and trees, churning up mud and carving out banks.


This site is much further down stream and has had no major flooding in years.  The crick bed is now covered with grass and trees grow in it.  This is one of those sore spots in american history.  Here Indians were massacred in an ambush, mostly women and children.


this shows how to spot the water holes,  In the center is a darker brown and green area.  That is the reeds from the water pool there.  It was this area where about 700 Indians were living when they were slaughtered.  The high crick banks provide protection, there is water and game is plentiful.

Buffalo roamed the area, the primary meat source.  There are wild berries and roots that grow here.

Today the buffalo is gone, there are still antelope roaming around and the woods along the crick are good habitat for deer and turkeys.

A sand crick is a lifeline across a semi-arid land but they are not benign.  Massive amounts of water can roll down the crick after a heavy rain.  the bank overlooking the crick is about 20 feet high and about 1/2 mile across, it has been full of water, bank to bank and overflowing.


There will be a test tomorrow after yesterday.

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