Φωτογραφίες

Photographer's Note

In one of the narrow V-shaped ravines that stem from the Mogollon Rim, a series of underground springs with mineral-laden waters have built up large deposits of travertine (calcium carbonate) through which Pine Creek, a year-round stream flowing through the canyon, has eroded a passageway leaving the rocks above standing as a natural bridge. The formation has been protected as the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park since 1990. Depending on which dimension is used as a measurement, Tonto is the world’s largest travertine bridge - 180 feet (55m) high, 400 feet (122m) long and about 100 feet (30m) thick on top.

I took the Bridge Trail (a.k.a. Pine Creek Trail) down to the bridge. The first 400 feet are steep, but developed. Once you reach the creek, you’re on your own. Old arrows offer suggested routes down the creek’s slick boulders and at river crossings. Be prepared to scramble in spots. It’s worth the effort, when you come upon the upstream side of the massive natural bridge (shown in this photo). The thrills continue when you go under and through the cool, echoing, cave-like opening beneath the bridge. Swimming in the dark pool under the bridge is not allowed. The descent to the Observation Deck on the Gowan Trail requires negotiating Moki Steps (tiny footholds chipped into the smooth, glassy rock). The trip beneath the bridge is only possible during low water/dry season times. If there have been recent rains or rain is forecast in the area for that day it should not be attempted due to the possibility of flash floods.

The natural bridge was discovered by David Gowan, a Scotsman, in 1877 while hiding from Apache Indians, and so impressed was he by the unusual, secluded location that he persuaded his family to emigrate and live there. Although they left in 1948 their lodge remains - since being included in the National Register of historic places - and forms the centerpiece of the buildings in the state park, which is reached by a short, newly paved side road (FR 583) off AZ 87 11 miles north of Payson - this crosses a plateau with wildflowers and small trees, then drops steeply 800 feet to the canyon floor. The bridge is not immediately apparent, as beyond the park buildings stretches a flat meadow that seems to cover all the ground between the canyon walls. The creek actually runs a hundred feet lower in a narrow gorge, the edge of which is hidden by trees, flows under the bridge beneath the meadow and continues downstream through a rather wider canyon.

The image was cropped, brightened slightly, contrast increased, resized and then sharpened.

Nobody έχουν(ει) επιλέξει αυτή τη σημείωση ως χρήσιμη

Photo Information
Viewed: 1490
Points: 0
Discussions
  • None
Additional Photos by Mark Freitag (naga_laut) Silver Note Writer [C: 3 W: 2 N: 63] (408)
View More Pictures
explore TREKEARTH