Monday, January 25, 2021

detour: lake bottom

Rattlesnake Bar bridge 1862-1954
It all started with a post by a local historic group: Did we know about the old Rattlesnake Bar bridge?
bridge collapse from too large truck!

Why, I did not! After reading the interesting post (the bridge collapsed before it could be inundated by the lake), someone commented that you could see the abutment remnants when the water was low. Challenge accepted!

It was an overcast, gray day, with threatening clouds. No one else seemed to think it was a good idea to be out, so I had the eerie lakeshore all to myself.

seeing both sides

The old bridge abutments were a short walk from the main parking area, though walking along the lake bottom is weird! The ground is very soft, though not muddy, and there are tiers where each receding lake level has left its sandy imprint.

The abutments are quite tall, easily 6 feet tall by 12 feet wide. I was tempted to climb up but was by myself, wrenching an ankle out here would not be fun (see, I have gotten smarter in my old age!). As the lake level drops (if it does, low rain year so far) I'll have to see if I can access below them.

I figured I was here, I'd walk around the lake bottom a bit, and it was so cool. Like being on the surface of another planet. Not too close to the water, as it gets very squishy there, and there is a need everywhere to watch your footing due to loose rocks, weird terraces and goose poo!

gnarled tree

what we did then (hydraulic mining)

and now…sigh…

It was absolutely still. I heard no birds or people, a lone gull flew over silently. Maybe some would think it ugly, but I found it all fascinating.

And disorienting! The lake was so still it was perfectly reflecting the rocky hills on the opposite shore. You could not tell where water ended and rocks started, it was mesmerizing.

perfect reflection

weird hole
There were the strange datura seeds (pokey! and the plant is poisonous but pretty) and sculptural trees and rocks, but mostly the silence was all encompassing.

spiky datura wrightii


last season's flowers
And needed. 

this is exactly where I swam this summer, in five feet of water!

a bright spot


  1. Very interesting history! Ididn’t know that either. Thank you for the tour in pictures, a different view for sure.

  2. Very interesting history. I didn’t know that either. Thank you for the tour in pictures, a different view indeed