The Honeycutt Bridge

I posted website updates today, including a new main page photo, new sidebar links, an updated list of forthcoming essays, and an updated Current Projects page. ENJOY!

The Honeycutt swinging footbridge was built in 1947 and is the oldest in the state. It’s just off 226 where Bad Creek tumbles down into Rock Creek, and despite it’s traffic-heavy location, it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. Yesterday, Shane and I looped around Fork Mountain toward Red Hill and just when I was beginning to wonder if we’d missed it, we spotted the metal tresses in the distance.

It’s a humble bridge and one of the shortest we’ll be crossing, but just knowing it’s place in history gives it a magestic quality. We were short on time, otherwise we might have explored the other side of the bridge after crossing, despite that it leads onto private property. I have hunch we’ll be back, though.

This bridge is one of the few designed to be four feet wide (wider than normal) and that was specifically to accomodate carrying coffins from one side of Rock Creek to the other. In 1947, this bridge was the only way people could get from the state highway to the small community of Honeycutt. Today, it leads to a barn and an old road–and my hunch is that the old road leads to the cemetary.

The light couldn’t have been better for Shane and he jumped out of his car, camera and tripod slung over his shoulder, a grin from ear to ear. “Sweet!” he said, walking toward the bridge. A sign warned us: WEIGHT LIMIT, 4 PERSONS, but I crossed first and bounced my way all the way across, swinging to and fro, using the metal cables for handholds along the sides. “Be careful little lady!” Shane shouted, but I was already halfway across. Thirty feet below, fat trout scattered downstream as my crossing moved the shadow of the footbridge and startled them. I couldn’t help be smile from the rocking motion, the glorious fall light, the quiet waters below.

Shane shot a few images from the 226 side of the bridge, then crossed the bridge, two steady hands on his camera. I darted up the old road on the other side, looking for the cemetary and a place to pee. My eyes traced the cables to their source, a series of knots and braces, and then thick lines of metal shooting into the ground where, certainly, cement holdings held them in place.

“Next week,” Shane said, “we’ll have a whole day to explore.”

“Let’s pack a lunch,” I said.

“Yeah, and eat it in the middle of one of the bridges.”


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