Thursday, February 26, 2009


Living in an area where water is literally everywhere, be it lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks or small rivulets, there will also have to be many bridges for people to get across them. This post is about some of these bridges.

The first two images are of the same bridge - one of my most favorite - a very graceful stone bridge which spans Fall Creek as it empties into Bebe Lake. Bebe Lake is barely visible on the other side of the bridge in both photos. I shot them recently from opposite sides of Fall Creek early in the morning when the area was shrouded in fog.

Fortunately this lovely spot is very close to where I live, so I am able to come here quite often. I have posted several photos taken nearby already (look at the entry 'Snow' from 2008) and I am quite certain that there will be more in the future!

This is Fall Creek again, but now it is the bridge just below Ithaca Falls, right after the creek has plunged down several dramatic falls while bisecting Cornell Campus. Of course there are many more interesting bridges crossing it between this bridge and the lovely stone bridge above, most with awesome views either of the different falls and the gorge the creek has cut through the rocks, or of breathtaking birds eye views of Ithaca and Lake Cayuga. I will of course post photos of most of those bridges as I take them. In the photo above, the creek is about to pass through part of Ithaca before it will finally empty into Lake Cayuga.

Now here is a completely different kind of bridge which is a considerable distance from the last one showcased. This photo was taken where Rte 96 crosses Taughannock Creek. It is a modern, very minimal looking bridge, but I like the clean lines contrasting the lovely view below. Taughannock Creek here still has some remnants of ice left. It was taken on a nice warm day, nearly 50 degrees F, most certainly the first harbinger of Spring! Of course we are not out of the woods yet, last year we had another snow storm end of March, but usually it will warm up very quickly after that.

Another interesting bridge near where I live, this one is a wooden footbridge which sways with every step as you cross over Fall Creek to the hiking paths on the other side. This bridge is located above the stone bridge shown at the very beginning of this blog entry. Cornell Plantation and Botanical Gardens are just across the road which meanders alongside the creek, Forest Home begins just a few hundred feet further down the creek from here.

Forest Home is a small enchanted community first settled in 1797 and it really looks like it belongs in a book of fairytale illustrations. Just on the other side of the footbridge is a small waterfall and below that is an area called Flat Rock, named for the numerous flat rocks found on either side and even in the middle of the creek, which make for an ideal sunning spots for the many bathers who come to enjoy the cool waters on hot Summer days.
In this photo, which was taken several weeks earlier just after the last snow storm, you can look across the footbridge while someone is taking a photo of the still frozen Fall Creek below.

For the sake of being thorough I must also include a very different kind of bridge into this photo essay, one provided by nature itself - a log which fell quite conveniently to assist some brave soul to cross to the other side of this narrow gorge in Buttermilk Falls Park at the southern entrance of Ithaca! My guess is that squirrels and other small critters probably have taken advantage of nature's largess, I am not so courageous and therefore must pay for it by having to take the long way around - so be it!

While I am on the subject of different kinds of bridges, I would like to include my attempt to depict a metaphorical bridge. I created it from two photos I took, one of a bridge spanning Cascadilla Gorge and another of the view from my office window in Manhattan. I combined them to illustrate my feelings after moving from NYC to Ithaca nearly two years ago.

It juxtaposes the verdant vibrant natural landscape of Cascadilla Gorge with Manhattan's wintery concrete canyons. I was very happy to have a window near my desk, many workers here were not so fortunate as they work cooped up in their highrise office building cubicles!

On this particular day there was a fire in the smaller building just to the left of center. You might be able to see the flames reach out to the fire escape about 10 floors up if you look closely. The small fire was put out promptly of course - this being the jewelry district where torches and dangerous chemicals are in use daily and such small fires occur often!

Next comes a small footbridge which enables people to cross a rather swampy area in Sapsucker Woods Bird Sanctuary and Ornithological Lab of Cornell. I am delighted to have this in my greater backyard as well, only a mere 5 minute ride from my house! I have spent many happy hours enjoying the peace and quiet here, while eavesdropping on numerous herons, red tailed hawks, owls, cardinals, finches and even bullfrogs. There are many interesting birds that nest and feed here - if you just sit quietly you can easily observe them in their own habitat. Unfortunately my little old digital camera is not up to the task of recording what my eyes are witnessing - maybe some day!

This interesting preserve boasts about 4 miles of walkways, most of them looking much like the one above, bridging a wonderful wetland with richly varied vegetation, then meandering through a small stand of deciduous trees and finally circling a pond, all of which provide endless opportunities for the inveterate photographer and nature connoisseur!

One of the many graceful stone bridges which cross some of the creeks here, this one is also in Cascadilla Gorge. There is a hiker relaxing on its generous ledges in the bright sun after the climb up the gorge. Most of these stone bridges were built in the 30's and 40's and have been lovingly repaired and maintained as the climate is a bit rough on things here, especially during winter.

Two different views of another stone bridge follow, this one is located in Buttermilk Falls Park just on the outskirts of Ithaca. Buttermilk Falls Park is a great place to go for a hike, there are countless waterfalls on every twist and turn of the creek as it makes it's way down the highlands to the big falls. It is a favorite haunt of photographers since everywhere you turn you can find gorgeous views!

I hope you enjoyed my little excursion visiting some of the numerous bridges in Ithaca! There are so many different styles of bridges here, from the examples of wood and stone bridges you have seen here, to others made of steel, concrete, old fashioned or modern ones. You guessed it - there is more material for future additions and you will be able to enjoy them if you revisit this essay from time to time!

Promise kept today for the first time, March 9th 2009, with a few new bridge additions - more coming in the future!


Shane said...

Thanks for stopping by my site. You have some great bridges to choose from. I also love your descriptive commentary that helps tell a story for each picture.

Ursula said...

Thank you Shane - but the pleasure was mine! You have some great photos on your blog!

sher said...

Ursula... thank you for sharing your thoughts on life and your art.

Would you ever consider an art swap with me... an 8x10 signed print for an 8x10 signed print?

Your bridge in sapsucker woods is something I could look at everyday and feel happy and inspired by!

I don't know why!

Ursula said...

No problem Sheri! I have two versions of that bridge, take your pick! I would be very happy to have a copy of - oh oh! Which one of your prints - I'm in trouble!!! I'm going to have to make up my mind here....