Sep 12, 2009

A natural bridge in, of all places, Natural Bridge

On the way up to Memphis last Friday night, we passed an exit for Natural Bridge, Ala. It was a completely unremarkable highway exit sign, but Grayson started tap-tap-tapping on his Blackberry to see what is IN Natural Bridge, Ala.

Lo and behold, he found out that it is home to the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies. At 60 feet tall and 148 feet wide, it dates back 200 million years -- give or take. The population of the town in 2000 was 28 people. Not a booming metropolis, by any means.

I thought Grayson's fascination might lessen over the course of the weekend, BUT IT DID NOT. He had Wikipedia open and was Googling directions on Sunday. So Monday when we got in the van to drive home, it was with the understanding that we would, in fact, be stopping in Natural Bridge, Ala., before we hit Birmingham.

About an hour shy of home, we exited the highway and found our way to the entrance:

A beautiful, winding road took us deep into the property (privately owned property, by the way).

In the parking lot, we were treated to an explanatory sign.

We were kindly asked to respect the park.

So we took off over the footbridge that led to the Natural Bridge, a mere 100 yards from the parking lot.

It was a pleasant walk through a verdant landscape.

Just before we reached The Bridge, we came upon Indian Face, a second natural rock formation at the site.

I can sort of see it, but not really. I'm terrible at discerning shapes in landscapes. I can't see the Sleeping Indian in Jackson, Wyo., either. I know. I'm a dork.

Anyway, then we rounded a corner and suddenly were at the base of the Natural Bridge! I couldn't figure out an angle from which to get a photo that really captured the size and magnitude of it. It is MASSIVE.

Absolutely MASSIVE.

I stood under it with Jake while Grayson and the big boys explored it more thoroughly.

But Jake wanted to go, too, so he went in a little bit of the way with them.

I don't know if you can see him well or not, but that's Nathaniel in the middle of the picture below, in a green shirt. He was just walking around under the bridge. This place is HUGE!

I took this picture while Jake and I were hanging out directly under the bridge.

He wanted to get down and play, which was fine, but it was very damp in there. He found a mud puddle being formed by a spring.

I let him play in it for a while so I could get a few more pictures.

Finally I scooped him up and took him over to a park bench to clean him up a little. I may or may not have wanted to eat him up with a spoon.

He was content with me on the bench for about, oh, two seconds, and then he bolted for the nice muddy spot under the bridge again.

That kid made tracks.

He knows I move more slowly than he does. He beats me to muddy destinations most of the time.

When we caught up with the big boys and I asked them to pose for a picture, they gave me this:

Thanks, boys. That was EXACTLY what I was looking for.

As we walked back out, it appears that Nicholas might have peed on the side of the trail. I have no evidence other than this picture, but it sure looks like that's what he was doing.

No one really wanted to leave except for me. I was tired of driving and just wanted to get home and start 22 loads of laundry.

On our way back over the footbridge, everyone had to stop and throw a few pebbles in.

So for at least an hour on Labor Day, the population of Natural Bridge rose to 33. Perhaps we'll make it back there one day!

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Those kind of outings are the best. :)

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