Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sept. 20: Covered Bridges of Indiana

This morning I decided to make the 100 mile trip from my home to Parke County, Indiana. Parke County has over 30 covered bridges. During the second and third weeks in October, the county hosts an annual Covered Bridge Festival when thousands of tourists visit the county experiencing its covered bridges and the many yard sales/ flea markets which abound during the festival.
I have attended the festival previously (including attending an Elderhostel program during the festival last year), but this year I wanted to avoid the crowds. The question each year is "Will the festival correspond with the change in foliage so typical of the midwest in early fall?". This year I hit it almost right. Due to a great deal of construction along route 36, the trip took a little longer than the usual two hours. In the morning I visited bridges in the northwest corner of the county which included Turkey Run State Park.

The first bridge I visited was Melcher Bridge. In past years the vegetation
along the approach road to this bridge made this very good photographically.
This year was OK, but not great.

I drove and photographed throughout the northwest county in the morning.
Sugar Creek is a large creek (river?) which flows under many of the bridges in
this part of the county. Here I photographed Sugar Creek from inside the West
Union Bridge which the longest bridge in the county.

One of my favorite bridges to photograph in the county is Bowsher Ford
bridge. The approach road winds around the valley before entering the
bridge providing many photographic opportunities as you drive toward
the bridge.

Around Turkey Run State Park are three covered bridges. My favorite is
the Cox Ford bridge just west of the entrance to the state park.

While most of bridges are traditionally painted red with white trim,
Jackson Bridge is all white. In this photo I captured a family as they
passed through that bridge.

Following lunch at Rockville, Indiana the county seat of Parke County, I explored six or seven bridges in the southern part of the county.

My destination included the Bridgeton Bridge in Bridgeton, Indiana.
This bridge is the centerpiece of the county's collection of these historic
structures. A few years ago, this bridge was destroyed by an arsonist. The
people of Bridgeton and Parke County immediately began seeking the
money and resources to restore it soon as possible. Today it has
been completely rebuilt.

For the day I visited 20 of the bridges in the county and took over 150 photos. The weather was cool, sunny (not always the best photographically) and very pleasant. The crowds were gone so my photo journey was relaxed and very enjoyable.
I encourage any of you in the area to make plans to spend a day or two visiting the Covered Bridges of Parke County. It is a trip worth remembering.

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