by Barbalee Blair
The pre-K through 12th years of school are about a lot of things, and down the road we all hold memories of our school days. The Felt students got a special dose of memories to be made right along with some studies in geology, history, and geography. On Monday, August 15, 2008, we were able to build some special memories with a school bus heading to see the river run!
Word has it that the Beaver River last ran twelve years ago, but that it was a trickle rather than a gusher. Some have said the last time it ran bank-to-bank as it did on Monday, August 15, was twenty some years ago. Whether those dates are accurate or not, only the oldest of Felt’s students have any memories of a reason for the bridge between Felt and Boise City. Now there is definitely reason and lots of people are back to working on water gap fencing.
When the school received word that the water was coming, we fired up a bus and got as many people as we could on it to go see history being made. Those who couldn’t go on the bus went in separate vehicles, but everyone at the Felt school got to see the river at its peak water flow.
The kids know that the tributaries of the Corrumpa, which flows from Sierra Grande in New Mexico, and the Seneca, which flows from Clayton Lake, came together in Oklahoma. Their combined flow added to the recent rains meant the watershed was full, and the Beaver River actually became a river right in Felt’s back yard. Understanding where the water came from and where it was going definitely gave reason for some map studies.
Cows standing in the stream bed or trying to cross were in for the surprise of their lives when their legs were washed out from under them. Some tired rattlesnakes could have bitten one of our juniors quite easily; fortunately, even snakes were too tired to take on the task after making their way out of the riverbed. Not all of the kids got to see the mouth of the waters coming, but those who did were very impressed by the flow. All, however, were surprised by the sounds of rushing water! It is a memory the students of Felt will not forget.
Teacher Pat Myers has been able to fill in the blanks for some of our knowledge. She told of a time when the Beaver River running caused horses and cows to live in fear of the river. It seems that when the very sandy soil of the river bed becomes saturated well under ground level, the water can cause the soil to shift rapidly, much like quicksand. Animals stepping on the wet soil can get “stuck” in the dirt and panic trying to get out, causing themselves to become trapped even deeper. The animals may live in fear of wet ground ever after, even if it’s just a puddle. Let that be a warning to everyone! Humans can get stuck just as easily, so even if the water appears to dry out, it will be a long time before the watershed is dry now. Bring on the rain!
In the words of Felt’s third and fourth graders:
We took a trip to Beaver river in Felt, Oklahoma and it lasted 2 or 3 days. Seneca and Crumpa creeks goin together to make Beaver river and it was wide and large. There was lots of sand and it looked like a chocolate river. There was cows flouting in the river & under the brige. But the cows made it and the river was 2 feet. The river was by Felt Feeders.
THE CHOCOLATE RIVER
In the words of Felt’s first and second graders (with help from Mrs. Hefley)
On Monday, August 18, 2008, the first and second graders went on a field trip. We rode the bus out to the Beaver River. The river was running bank-to-bank with water. Devin Fain felt like he was moving while the bus was parked on the bridge. Juan Mendoza felt like he was spinning in the bus. Michelle Aguilar thought she was going to fall out the window. Austin Smith thought it would be fun to raft the big bumps. Kayley Whisenhunt got bus sick on our ride to the river. Jesse Puebla said the river looked like a chocolate river. One student said it looked “like the river The Chocolate Factory.” Tommy Murdock honestly believes he saw a crocodile! Bryen Yoder saw lots of trash on the trees. Cash Murdock thought the bus was going to tip over with all the water running under it. Colton Landrum saw Jesse Bass’s cattle trying to get to dry land. It was quite an adventure!