As it turns out, some days I am able to pull off this morning person thing, especially if I have partners in crime. Leaving the house at 4:45 a.m. to be at the trailhead by 6:00, 8 of us (including 5 and 7 year old kids plus one labrador retriever) embarked on a 10 mile hike to the Bridge to Nowhere. This being August, it was a good idea to leave at that time. It was already in the high 70's by 6 a.m., so you know where it goes from there! Our only salvation from the heat was knowing we would be crossing the San Gabriel river at least 8 times each way (maybe more, it was just too much trouble to count.) At the first crossing, we attempted to keep our feet dry:
By 11:00, on our way back, our river crossings looked more like this:
In between, we were treated to a really great hiking experience. It was long, that's for sure, but the elevation gain was minimal and so was the cardio factor. Still, my HR monitor managed to show 2,245 calories burned - even though it took almost 7 hours to do it! One foot in front of the other, that's all it takes. At least I get credit for working out that day. Well, in TamiLand, I do :)
Along the way, the typical ruggedness of trails in Azusa Canyon treated us to all kinds of visual specialties. Yes, it was hot and dry - and the occasional cigarette butt on the trail left by the occasional idiot made my blood boil. Hellooooo? Can you say fire season? (yes, that is a real season here in SoCal).
The trail got dicey just a couple of times:
Apparently, there's gold in them thar hills! We saw more than a few prospectors with pans and sluice boxes:
We startled a big horn sheep and it hurried down a hill, across the trail, into a ravine and up the other side in seconds (sorry for the rear view, but it was scurrying up the hill far away from me by the time I saw it.)
Finally, our destination ~ The Bridge to Nowhere ~
|Sorry, Sarah Palin, this Bridge to Nowhere was before your time!|
Aptly named, this beautiful span of concrete built in 1936 ends at the side of the mountain, and goes nowhere:
According to Wikipedia, the story goes that the bridge was built in anticipation of a road through the mountains that would connect Azusa to Wrightwood. The bridge was completed in 1936, but in March of 1938 what had been constructed of the road was washed out in "the great flood," and the project was abandoned. With no cars ever driven across its span, the concrete looks new. It's a bit spooky to see a bridge some 70+ years old that looks like they finished it last year. On weekends Bungee America provides the only professionally run bungee jumping operation in California from the bridge. Although I'd like to go back & witness the fun, you won't see me taking a flying leap off the Bridge to Nowhere anytime soon. My midlife crisis just isn't that spectacular.
|PB & Banana - yum!|
Just as we arrived and sat down to eat our lunches, the sun peeked over the mountain and warmed things up pretty quickly. The blue-green pools below us looked so inviting, but we were hard-pressed to make it back to the cars by noon so some of us could go to work, drive to San Diego, etc.
|Yeah, it's BRIGHT!|
|Of course, the kids had no problem with 10 miles...|
PS: anyone interested in more info, here's a great review of the hike by a REAL hiker: Modern Hiker/Bridge to Nowhere