Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Bridge To Nowhere

The Bridge to Nowhere trail is a well known trail in the San Gabriel Mountains. I first heard about it in passing several years ago and I've been thinking about making the trek since becoming a photographer.

I have never been on a real long hike before so I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I started my drive up into the mountains. The most important points to remember are to bring water and to bring something to eat when you reach the bridge. In order to park at the trail head, you'll need an Adventure Pass which, i guess you can buy at Big 5 or on the way at Stop and Go Liquor store on the corner of Azusa and Sierra Madre. It's only 10 bucks or 30 bucks for a whole year, if you want to go again. If you don't get the pass you will get a fat ticket. I also read about getting some type of permit for crossing into a mountain sheep reserve and that you pick one up at the trailhead, but I never saw anything there and nobody else got one either.

The green area in the picture below is a cool little campgrounds right at the actual beginning of the trail head. In that same spot there is another trail for Heaton Flats, which starts by the last restroom before the trail starts.

Below is the last bathroom before either of the trails. I suggest you do whatever you need to do before you go. It took me at least six hours in total. Don't be alarmed, but the toilets here are indeed holes in the ground. Watch out for any flys flying up your butt and bring a roll of paper with you for a little extra comfort.

The story of this trail, I found to be very interesting. Back in the 1930's, an alternate road was being built to the high desert. This area tends to have rock slides quite frequently, especially with the long term closure of Highway 39. There was a flash rainstorm that washed out most of the road going to the bridge which led to it not being completed. Several places along the trail, you can still see pieces of the asphalt road. mostly on the east side of the river.

You have to cross the river/stream at least 6 times. People have tried helping by adding rocks to cross the water as dry as possible, but sometimes you have to just take the soaker and live with it. I found that out twice. Thank god I didn't slip and fall in it completely.

You never know what you will find on this trail. Who even knows how long that jacket has been there.

Just like with the stream crossings, it looked like people added rocks to the side of the trail so it would be very simple to find the trail. With the stream crossings, there was some difficulty finding where the trail was exactly.

I saw several of these along the trail and I could think of only two reasons for them, at one point there were electrical lines going across or they are for hawks and other birds to perch on. I'm going with the latter. 

o.0 almost there!

Would any of you jump? I'm to big of a chicken shit to even consider it.

Here is a view of the river below the bridge.

Hard for me to believe that this was built in the late 30's. This was one of the best views of the whole trail. Worth the two and a half hours to get there.

These were really fun to cross over. I had always seen it done in the movies and they are easier to cross that they look. Just don't slip!

I think this was one of the trail maintenance guys. He was digging rocks out of the river. He was very helpful in giving us directions to reach the bridge.

This little waterfall was apparently a runoff from a mine that was located further up into the hills. It had concrete on both sides of it and drained into the river below.

One last interesting tidbit that I forgot add above, you might have noticed in the first picture, there are several miners along the river. I had read about them when doing some research, but never imagined seeing them. I wonder what kinds of stuff they find or if they find any silver in the runoff. 

All in all, the hike is about 10 miles long. I wasn't tired when I got to the bridge, but I was starting to feel it after I had rested for a bit and then a short time into the hike back to the parking lot. If you don't like long walks or being challenged, this one aint for you. I'm a walking machine, so I thought it was a wonderful trip.

Some last bits of advice, get there early, 6AM-7AM in the summertime and late spring/early fall or around 8 in the wintertime. Don't start after 12 noon because you might not finish before the sun goes down. Take lots of water, some food to eat, a towel, some board shorts/swim gear in case you want to go down to the river when you get to the bridge and cool off. I also had a bandanna that I wet down and tied around my neck to cool me down and to prevent sunburn. Wear a hat and sunscreen as well. Hope you all can try this one. Have fun!

I only picked about 20+ pictures for this post, but you can see the rest of my trip here.