April 20, 2017

The Richland Creek Steel Bridge

I last looked at this bridge in May 2015. Not much had changed. The grass had been cut, the first half of the 'trail' had new gravel.

Most likely that gravel was put down by the farmer who owns the field on the left since the gravel stopped at the point where a left turn into the field appeared.

At first I thought this was pretty low for the normal water level. Yet when I looked back through the pictures taken almost two years ago, that water at that time was half way up the sides of the bank. So there was a little decrease to the level this week.

Close to 70 years ago, this bridge was a busy place as the road connected not only farmer's fields but the two main roads that ran parallel outside of town.

I did as many different Google searches as I could to find a history of this bridge but came up empty. I can only go on stories my dad told me since he knew this bridge as a kid growing up in this area.

The creek was a lot cleaner and a favorite swimming place in the 1940's. As you will see later, I found a path through the wooded area that lead to a beach looking area ... very doubtful that I will test the water this July when a cool swim will be welcomed.

Comparing pictures from two years ago, that rotting wood had hardly changed. You would have to look very very close to notice any changes. Of course that steel had not changed in anyway. It will most like last longer than I will.

Close to 20 years ago I remember seeing the water all the way up to the edge of the grass, covering the bank completely. There was small waterfall coming from that ditch in the lower right corner of the picture at the time. The water movement was loud enough to hear. Where did all the water go?

Although this is fairly close to a heavily traveled highway, you could stand on this bridge and not hear any sounds except for the occasional birds. There were no sign's of water movement but I assume it would be heading in the direction of this next picture.

It probably only took a group of young men, with a 6-pack of beer and a pickup truck to move that concrete barrier at an angle. I doubt that the original placement was like it is today. The telling sign is the small track for a ATV to drive around it and across the bridge. The same barrier on the other side of the bridge had been moved in the same way.

Those tracks went to to the other side, running parallel to a small field on the left side and out to one of the main country roads that runs in a north-south direction.

I wonder what kind of wiring was being run along the side of the bridge. Too small for telephone wires, besides those cables are airborne across the creek.

There was some grass that had been recently mashed down from someone or a group of people walking through the wooded area. I decided to see where it led and how far it would go.

It veered to that beach area I mentioned earlier. When I saw it I wondered if anyone actually does use this as their beach on a hot summer day and if they do, do they really get in that water? Surely not.

As I stepped on the beach to take a look at the bridge, I was reminded of all the days and hours I spent on the beach in Carlsbad California when I lived out there and just how different this view was. From the Pacific Ocean to this. Although it was nice not to have any kind of bugs or mosquitoes bothering me.

It would have been nice if someone would have thought of marking the water levels on the concrete years ago so we would have a reference to go by. It is interesting to see that after 70 some years, the bridge does not sag anywhere.

Hidden among the trees was a field so small it was hard to image a tractor plus equipment had been able to plant this field. I didn't have my camera ready soon enough but I scared a large bird type creature from the thick grass. I am not real good at naming different kind of animals so maybe someone can tell me what that is in center of the picture as it tried to escape.

I am sure this small field probably branched out into a large field but from my vantage point I couldn't tell. I am always curious what kind of profit can be made by a field this small.

I didn't stand on this but I did put one foot on the wood and added a little weight just to see how strong it might be. It wasn't bad but I know I would not be driving an ATV over this bridge.

With my great balance I was able to walk across using that single board perpendicular to all the other boards. I could feel a little give with each step which made the thought of people riding ATV's over this bridge even more adventurous.

Some more of that great U.S. Steel.

That ATV path I was talking about earlier continues. This is to the entrance to the bridge. You can see my Mini Countryman up ahead.

Through my searching on Google I did run onto a website that talks of different tours through the countryside heading east. There are 3 or 4 of these places have names with 2-3 buildings to make it a community. I think I'll grab the camera and do a little more exploring this spring and summer.

I will post again today about the normal activity of the three hounds. As a warning, they have had one of their slowest days with little to no activity. The temps don't feel hot, yet they are all in July/August sleep mode. Maybe that is what happens when they become 8 and 9 years old this summer.

Thanks for visiting one of the big tour points of the area. Good parking, no admission fees, yet no food stands or restrooms. Yet it was quiet, interesting, with a slight breeze moving through the trees.

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