Friday, March 18, 2011

The Bridges of Sabino Canyon

This series - in 9 parts - will help you remember which bridge you are on. After living in Tucson for almost 4 years, I finally have them straight, thanks in large part to a clever mnemonic from Walt Tornow (which I 'borrowed' and adapted. Thanks, Walt)!
First, a little history. The road beyond Rattlesnake Canyon was 'blasted out' in the fall of 1934 by workers from the Emergency Relief Administration (ERA). The first four bridges were built by the next year, also by the ERA. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) took over after that and finished bridges 5-9 by 1936. (See David Lazaroff's book "Sabino Canyon: The Life of a Southwestern Oasis", pp. 97-98). NB: The crossing of Rattlesnake - which is a bit past the mile 'stone', near the 2 newish restrooms -  is NOT a bridge.

Bridge 1, photo by Carol Tornow
Heading into the canyon on the road, you'll take a gentle turn to the right (after about 1.5 miles) and bridge one will look like the above (if you go on a cloudy day in late February). Stand in the middle and look over the side on the right. When built, all the bridges were (more or less; we won't quibble too much with inches) as deep (or better: as high over the water) on both sides.What happens with water runoff from Mt Lemmon (or anywhere) though? That's right, silt. The side upstream has silted in much more than the downstream side.
How will you know you are on bridge one? Well, it's the first. And, you can say: "Bridge one is fun!", if you like.  

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