This was the fourth and final bridge for my first outing, and it may be the most unusual of the whole series. It’s a railroad bridge called the Sulphite Covered Bridge because of the sulfur hauled over these tracks for the paper mills. People refer to it as “the upside-down bridge”. It meets (or met) the criteria for a covered bridge. The structure of the bridge was built over the Winnipesaukee River and then covered with a wood structure. The catch is that the train did not pass under the covering. The covering sat directly on the superstructure of the bridge and the rails were laid on top of the covering. The one historical photograph that I could find is below but the image is tiny.
It was a tricky bridge to make the photo. I parked in the town center on a warm, humid morning and hiked up the path to the bridge. It was only a quarter mile but was steep and felt further. When I reached the bridge, it was surrounded by forest. I found a path down to the river’s edge. Despite the heat, having long pants was helpful because the brush was pretty thick. I made one exposure; then made way back up through the brush and back down to my car.
The bridge was built by the Bridge and Building Department of the Boston and Maine Railroad in 1896. It’s the only remaining deck-covered railroad bridge in the United States. Train traffic stopped in 1973 and a fire in 1980 destroyed the wooden portion of the bridge. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
From the Bump Covered Bridge, I opted to take the scenic state route rather than the highway to get to the Squam River Covered Bridge in Ashland, NH. It was a quiet meandering twenty-minute drive. The bridge sits below Squam Lake and Little Squam Lake. The area is a popular summer tourist destination and was featured in the 1980s film On Golden Pond. From this spot, the lake empties into the Squam River.
According to the state’s book on historical covered bridges, the building of this bridge was a community effort. It’s a fairly modern bridge having been constructed in 1990. The existing steel and concrete bridge needed to be replaced and the state proposed a modern two-lane bridge. The town’s citizens wanted a one lane covered bridge on this spot and voted $35,000 at the town meeting to build one. Unfortunately, this was about a sixth of the cost of the bridge.
A branch of the town’s historical society called the Squam River Covered Bridge Committee worked to raise the rest of the money through typical fundraisers, such as bake sales and dinners. Ultimately, most of the balance was raised through the private donations of more than 500 donors. It was dedicated July 1, 1990.
I left Blair Bridge and traveled less than ten minutes to Bump Bridge. While Blaire bridge was on a busy road, the road to the second bridge was much more rural. As I drove, I wondered how it got its name. Was there a rather large bump in it or near it?
Once at the bridge, I could see how it got its name; it’s on Bumps Intervale Road. As I left my car, I could hear either a pack of coyotes howling away or a kennel of dogs howling for their breakfast. All I knew was that it was loud and rather close. I was hoping it was the kennel and not the coyotes. Eventually it died down. Whether it was coyotes or a kennel, they got what they wanted.
This bridge was much shorter than the first one I visited. It was 68 feet long not including the ramps leading to it on either side. It’s a pretty bridge in a nice location. There’s been a covered bridge on this spot on the Beebe River since 1877. This one was last built in 1972 after the previous bridge rotted out. Unlike many rebuilt bridges, Bump Bridge uses wooden timbers for support rather than stone abutments. I prefer the top picture because with all of the trees high up in the background, it looks like it’s way up in the hills.
Occasionally, I’ll meet someone from another country who will say, “You Americans really like your flag. They’re everywhere.” I can’t argue with them. We love our flag. You see them on or outside of public buildings, but that’s to be expected. We also buy them and put them outside our homes and businesses. We wear them on clothes. We put them on our cars and trucks. We put them on just about everything.
My favorite flags are more the home-grown celebrations of our country. I think it’s great when people make their own flag or paint it where you don’t expect it. Some even to put elements of the flag on display in a show of patriotic pride. I think it shows the character of the people who put those things out there for the world to see.
Yes, we really like our flag; no argument here. Happy Independence Day.
Earlier in the week when I was chatting with my friend Anna, the topic of his bridge came up. She thought back to the movie Blair Witch Project and said it sounded spooky. I scoffed at this but perhaps there is something to it. The first covered bridge was built in 1829. It was torched by an arsonist who claimed that god had told him to do it. Then in 2011, a later version of the bridge was heavily damaged by Tropical Storm Irene. The bridge reopened in 2015 and I hoped that I could manage to get through my shoots today without any bad luck myself.
I counted and before beginning my official quest to photograph all 54 of New Hampshire’s historic covered bridges, I had only photographed twelve. And these twelve were the low hanging fruit. I’d taken their pictures when I was on travels for work or other things. Somehow, my boss never seemed to notice when I detoured a bit to shoot a photo of a covered bridge.
With forty-two bridges left, I decided to try to get four in a day. All four are within a half an hour’s drive of one another in the central part of the state between the Lakes Region and the White Mountains. Sunday, I got up and out the door by 4:30 AM to head off to the Blair Bridge in Campton, NH about an hour and a half away. I like the strategy of going to the furthest bridge first and then working backwards so that the drive home seems a bit shorter. Unfortunately, this meant the drive there felt long especially after not driving all that far for three months due to coronavirus.
I arrived there just after 6:00 AM. The bridge sits on a rather calm and shallow section of the Pemigewasset River. The bridge is 292 feet long and 20 feet wide. The odd thing about the bridge is that it’s on a road connecting the highway to a state road. Like most covered bridges, there is only one lane. If a car is coming through the bridge, you have to wait for it to come through before going ahead. It’s a busy road for a covered bridge but it must work for them to continue the tradition of having a covered bridge on this site.
I’ve recently been playing with taking photographs usingan antique magnifying glass and a lensball. It has not been as easy as it looks. I tried taking the shot above with a lensball with no great result. I rather liked this, though.
The shot above is a river in a forest taken through the lensball. I tried a number of shots here. One issue is catching your own reflection. It seems to be a problem if the area behind the ball is darker than where I am standing.
This was taken along some railroad tracks. I got morshiny e of the gravel of the railbed than anything else. One issue was that there are a lot of minerals in the rocks causing bright spots.
On Sunday, I stopped in Franklin, NH looking for a covered bridge and spotted this rather large brightly colored fellow in the center of town. He is wearing a mask so as not to contribute to the spread of COVID-19 and holding a test tube in his hand. (I presume it’s a coronavirus test.) I snapped a pic and then walked up behind him. Can you guess what he is made from?
Yes, he’s made of old kayaks. The city is on the Pemigewasset River and is a haven for river rafters and kayakers. It’s good to see such creativity at work.