Humpback Bridge

The best kind of road trip is one where the journey is the destination. Often times you locate things along the way that you didn’t even know existed.

Last weekend’s road trip destination was the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia but I built in time going to and from that would allow for some tangents.

The first was on the way down when a highway sign pointed me to a secondary road to go chasing a covered bridge.

This isn’t just any covered bridge. It is a humpback bridge which is designed with a slight arch in the middle.

I pause from this story to tell you another story.

The county where I live has four surviving covered bridges. It used to be five but the fifth was destroyed by arson a few years ago. That bridge was a humpback bridge and thought to be one of the rarest in the nation.

It was a common target for vandals but a spectacular sight to behold on the country road where it was located.

So when a sign pointed me toward another humpback bridge, I had no choice but to go find it.

Built in 1857, this bridge spans Dunlap Creek in Allegheny County, Virginia. It was closed to traffic in 1929, replaced by a modern bridge and left to be used by a farmer for hay storage for some time.

Luckily, it has been repaired to accommodate foot traffic. At a hundred feet long, it’s an impressive bridge and picturesque.

There’s a tidy little park here with room to picnic. If you’re so inclined you can scurry down the bank to skip stones through the stream.

If you go, the Humpback Bridge can be reached from Interstate 64 by taking exit 10 to Route 60. Just follow the signs from there.

Perspective From A Brave Place

a5.JPGThere’s this pedestrian bridge that connects downtown Marietta with Old Town.

I hate this bridge.

It seems kind of rickety. The boards are soft and it’s been patched in a few places.

I have stepped up on it a few times but never had the nerve to walk across the darn thing. It crosses the Muskingum River and seems awfully long given that I’m afraid of heights, can’t swim and am terrified of falling through a weak board to my watery grave.

But I’ve been feeling braver than normal lately, or maybe just wreckless, so I took the bridge during my adventures Saturday.

Here are some things I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t braved the bridge.

A family. See the eggs in the nest?

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This plaque honoring an important man.

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Athletes hard at work.

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Lots of locks. Incidentally, I feel like we don’t need to be adding weight to this structure but maybe I’m just a stick in the mud.

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Here’s a better view of the scary bridge.   Pedestrians and bicycles use the wooden walkway. The iron bridge is a historic but abandoned railroad bridge. Isn’t it fabulous?

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Here’s a view of the other side. You can drive here too.

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Just so you know, lots of people use this walkway every day. You always encounter locals with their dogs, bicycles and baby strollers. It probably isn’t as scary to the rest of the world as it is to me so, by all means, go and enjoy the view.

I’m just pleased that I braved it once and got a different perspective than I would’ve had from the shore.