A Great Northern Adventure, Part I

I left San Francisco early in the morning on 19 August, headed north.  My first stop other than gas and lunch was at I-5 exit 707, where i took little dirt Fenders Ferry Road through the woods to the bridge that i just barely photographed last winter since it was late afternoon then and almost dark down at the bottom of the canyon.  That road is nearly impassible in the wintertime, being so rutted and washed out, but it’s well graded in the summertime.  Here it is under the beautiful old I-5 bridge over Dog Creek shortly before it is subsumed by the Sacramento just south of my destination.

I-5 bridge over Puppy Creek


The Fender Ferry Bridge over the Sacramento is just a quarter mile beyond that highway bridge.  Here it is with a little sun on it, wildfires having put a pall of smoke over this entire area.

Fenders Ferry Road Bridge


And the other side.

Fenders Ferry Road Bridge


Back onto I-5 and up to Pollard Flat, exit 712, in high hopes of getting a photo of the North Salt Creek Road bridge over the Sacramento.  I had not been able to get close to it last winter because the unidentified road that i took to be Salt Creek Road was gated shut.  While there’s still no sign saying “Salt Creek Road”, at least the gate was open.

Salt Creek Road


Zoom in on that sign to the right and you’ll see that it reads “Area Closed to Motorized Vehicles.  Others Access at Own Risk.”  How utterly enticing.

So i parked the Prius there and rode the Segway down the road.  The paving ended just after the first bend, but the road was well maintained, and after about a mile through the woods i came to the bridge.

Salt Creek Road Bridge


A feature of the other side of that gate was a stout padlock, so all i could do was get a side shot of the bridge.

Salt Creek Road Bridge


Emboldened by my success in finding this bridge, i ventured off onto a side road in hopes of finding a second bridge nearby, and yep, after only a quarter mile on the side road i spotted this.

Bridge over the Sacramento near the Salt Creek Road bridge.


Got closer and found it also gated and padlocked.

Bridge over the Sacramento near the Salt Creek Road bridge.


But at least i could get a shot from the side.

Bridge over the Sacramento near the Salt Creek Road bridge.


Basking in an adrenaline rush over having bagged both of those bridges about which i could find absolutely nothing on the Internet, i got back up onto I-5 to Sweetbriar, exit 723, where i got this shot of the Falls Avenue Bridge.

Falls Avenue Bridge in Sweetbriar


That purple rose is not growing wild.  The guy in the house next door has extended his garden up to the bridge.  Here’s the other side.

Falls Avenue Bridge in Sweetbriar


Then up to exit 726 for the Soda Creek Road Bridge.

Soda Creek Road Bridge


Note: There are many exits on I-5 at which there is no commercial development, the exit serving only to provide access to the many half-to-well-hidden houses that dot the riverbanks and hillsides.

And then up to Dunsmuir, where the first seven bridges over the Sacramento are found.  The source of the Sacramento is the point a couple of miles west of Lake Siskiyou where the north and south forks of the Sacramento join, but there are no bridges over the Sacramento before it reaches Dunsmuir, the road over the top of the Lake Siskiyou dam not counting as a bridge.  The First Street Bridge, the southernmost bridge in Dunsmuir, was rather a disappointment, as i couldn’t even get a glimpse of it.


Stifling my disappointment, i drove north to the Bridge Street Bridge, where i was more successful.

Bridge Street Bridge in Dunsmuir


Not that a good view was available from either side.

Bridge Street Bridge in Dunsmuir


I had much better luck with the Bush Street Bridge.

Bush Street Bridge in Dunsmuir


And even better luck with the Sacramento Avenue Bridge.

Sacramento Avenue Bridge in Dunsmuir


Other side.

Sacramento Avenue Bridge in Dunsmuir


The next bridge north is the I-5 bridge.

I-5 Bridge in Dunsmuir


And about fifty yards upstream of that, the Dunsmuir Avenue Bridge.

Dunsmuir Avenue Bridge


Here it is in front of the I-5 Bridge.

Dunsmuir Avenue Bridge


And finally, the first bridge over the Sacramento River, the Cave Avenue bridge, another one hard to photograph.

Cave Avenue Bridge in Dunsmuir


Can’t see it any better from the other side.

Cave Avenue Bridge in Dunsmuir


And that’s it for the Sacramento River.  I now have photos of almost all of the bridges over it.  I’m missing that 1st Street Bridge in Dunsmuir and most of the railroad bridges, but i have everything else, and when i get around to it i’ll pull together a photo essay of The Bridges of the Sacramento from the various blog posts i made while gathering the photos over the last year.

I spent the night in Dunsmuir and had dinner at Cafe Maddalena, which i recommend because their grilled octopus appetizer was one of the very best octopus dishes i ever ate.  Not that it’s worth driving to Dunsmuir for, but if you happen to be there at dinnertime on a Thursday – Sunday…..

Tomorrow i drive up to Springfield, OR, but that’s another story.  Stay tuned.


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