Feats of Engineering

We drive past a really neat foot bridge atop a dam spanning a large canyon. It was built in the early 1900’s to control the flooding of rainwater running down from the mountains. We’ve never taken the time to find the trail leading to the bridge, but finally, needing a walk the other day, I took the boys.

Eddie was  excited to explore the trails and see if we could find our way from the parking lot to the dam. With Xander strapped in the stoller (thankfully equipped with all-terrain tires and maneuverability), we headed down the steep dirt path. I was a little concerned. From what I could see from the road, we should be on a paved path. Am I the only one who does this? I think, we’ll be fine, and off we go down the steep incline, bumps and all, only to discover the paved trail winding around the next curve, flat and stroller-friendly. Oh well.

“We took a short cut!” I tell Eddie, as I heave the stroller up the incline on the other side, over the rocks and steps cut into the side of the ravine. Finally, on the right path, clearly headed the right direction, and easy to navigate with the stroller, we settle in for a nice walk.

Eddie is, for once, happy to be walking as he chatters along, on the lookout for the bridge. Then some unleashed dogs are a little too friendly and freak him out. I roll my eyes at the owner’s assurance, “They’re friendly!” Yes, they obviously are, and now my heavy 4-year-old wants to be pushed in the stroller along with the heavy 16-month-old because of your large, rambunctious canine! Sigh. Thankfully, with a little coaxing, we let the dogs go ahead and he was convinced it was safe to walk again. Within a few minutes we reached the first of two bridges, actually, and enjoyed a beautiful view of the mountains beyond and the large trees growing in the fertile valley below.

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We crossed the first bridge and took note of the wood planks, metal sides and curving span. Soon after we arrived at the second bridge, the one we’d come to see, made of concrete and running along the top of the dam. We followed a side path through a tunnel under the road and admired the architecture of the dam on the other side.

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Back on the main path crossing the bridge, we talked about how engineers design the huge concrete dam and bridge. He was sold. He asked if we could build a bridge at home. When I said, “Sure!”, he went on to list the materials we would need: wood, metal, and concrete. I suggested play dough and toothpicks. He was satisfied, and we headed home (avoiding the detour “shortcut”, just sticking to the paved road) to try out a little engineering.

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The things a simple walk can inspire!

 

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