Monday, 8 September 2014

A pretty cover-up

They're some of the prettiest cover-ups you're ever likely to come across.

I'd previously only seen covered, timber bridges on television and in movies like The Bridges of Madison County.

But here they are in Conway, New Hampshire, and Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood are nowhere to be seen.

Saco River Bridge, Conway
Built in 1890

Covered bridges were originally conceived as a way to protect bridges' wooden structures from the rain and snow, and extend their lifespan.

And this preservation attempt clearly did the trick - enabling me to make my way across the river today like many have done so during the past century or two.

While some of the covered bridges are still in use today, they have assumed a backseat role next to more modern, multi-laned, concrete bridges.

Swift River Bridge, Conway
Built in 1870

I'm not quite sure why, but covered bridges seem to stop me in my tracks (probably not a good thing when I'm driving across them).

Maybe it's because I have a vague recollection of watching a Disney cartoon as a child about the Headless Horseman, Sleepy Hollow and a covered bridge.

The bridges are both striking and a little bit sinister.   As I walk across them I feel as though I'm walking through a giant animal.   The timber beams, weathered over the decades, form a neat skeleton.  It's also noticeably darker and cooler inside - anything could be hiding in here and there's only two exits.

Honeymoon Bridge, Jackson
Built in 1876

But my covered bridge appetite has been whet, and I resolve to discover all the covered bridges I can while I'm in the White Mountains of New Hampshire for the weekend.  

The bridges straddle some impossibly beautiful landscapes.   Lush green forests, fast flowing rivers cascading down from mountains that are blanketed in snow during winter - these are not normal scenes I come across in the frequently drought-stricken Australia.

Wentworth Bridge, Jackson
Built in 1990

Bartlett Bridge, Bartlett
Built in 1851

Whittier Bridge / Bearcamp Crossing, West Ossipee
Built in 1870s

Albany Bridge, Albany
Built in 1858


  1. Great photos Matt - you really captured some of the gems of New Hampshire! You need to come back to see them in the winter! The Albany Bridge is one of my favourites - I crossed it many times this summer on one of my regular bike rides. ... Bob

  2. Thanks Bob! That's a hefty bike ride up along the Kancamagus Highway - well at least it's downhill on the way home? I can imagine the bridges in autumn and winter would be stunning.