Mon. 10/11/21 – I learned many years ago that I often overestimate the magnitude of the obstacles I might encounter when planning activities or projects. I suspect that this characteristic is not unique to me. This can be a serious handicap it you let it delay or prevent you from doing something you’d like to do.
When I was planning my latest covered bridge trip there were some uncertainties about a few bridges which I suspected might be problematic, but I wanted to see these bridges, so I left extra time in my schedule to deal with whatever problems I might encounter.
Whenever I plan a bridge-hunting trip I make a spreadsheet which has the list of bridges I want to see in the order I plan to visit them. (Sometimes it is necessary to revise the order I visit them in order to make the trip more efficient.) I use Google maps to estimate my travel time and distance, and I know how much time I usually spend at each bridge, so I can plan each day’s travel pretty accurately.
The first bridge I planned to see was the Frontenac or North Country covered bridge in Jefferson Co. NY. It is a 42 ft. long Town truss bridge built in 1982 across a pond on private property. I was uncertain of the exact position of this bridge. My sources indicated two conflicting locations, and I couldn’t confirm either one, so I was concerned that I might be unable to find it. (Usually the bridges are visible in satellite images on Google Maps, but this one was not. It was clearly not at one location, but trees obscured by view of the second.)
When we arrived at the location where I hoped to find it, the bridge was clearly visible from the road
I was relieved to find it so easily and glad that I didn’t pass it up.
The second bridge I expected to be problematic is one that I tried to visit last October but was unsuccessful because I hadn’t adequately researched it, and I didn’t realize how difficult it was to get to. It was also somewhat cold and raining when I was there and I decided to pass it up.
Subsequently I decided that I really wanted to visit it, because it is a unique bridge. It is the Sulphite Railroad Bridge. A 180 ft. long Pratt truss bridge across the Winnipesaukee River in Merrimack Co. NH, built in 1896. Pratt trusses are unusual in wooden covered bridges, but what makes this bridge unique is that it is what is called a deck truss bridge. That means that the roadway, or in this case the railroad track, is on top of the bridge. It is the last of its kind, and I wanted to see and photograph it. But although I knew exactly where it was, I didn’t know exactly how to get to it. It was in a wooded area without a visible road or trail. At best I would need to walk about a quarter mile through the woods to get to it. At worst – who knows.
Well when we arrived in the area it didn’t take long to find the old railroad right of way, which was overgrown with brush and was generally impassible, but there was a trail that paralleled the track and led straight to the bridge. After hiking about a quarter mile I got to see it. It was well worth the trip and the access was not bad at all.
Unfortunately there isn’t much to see from above.
This is the best photo I could get without getting in the river, which was not an option. You might be able to make out that the bridge has been been burned by arsonists. That is how many wooden bridges come to an end.
This photo shows the kinks in the rails caused by the heat of the fire.
The last bridge on my agenda was another one that I tried and failed to see on a previous trip. It is the Gold Mine or Perry covered bridge. A 60 ft. long Town truss bridge built in 2015 across a pond in New London Co. CT on private property. I knew exactly where this bridge was, and I knew how to get to it, but I wanted to get the owner’s permission before trespassing on the property. I was unable to do that when I was there last October.
After arriving I parked my car in the driveway and rang the doorbell of the house on the property. I got no response, so I decided to take a chance and walk across the field to visit the bridge, because it looked very cool.
It was well worth the effort. The bridge was a fine example of a traditional Town truss covered bridge.
As I walked back up the hill to my car I wondered if my visit would go unnoticed or what might happen if I were discovered. After getting back to my car I spent some time plotting where we would go next when I woman came out of the house and walked toward me. I immediately got out of the car and explained what I was doing there and apologized for trespassing on her property. She was very gracious and also quite proud of her bridge which we chatted about for a few minutes. Another accomplishment which was not as difficult as I feared. Don’t let imaginary obstacles prevent you from pursuing your dreams
Rush was right!