Northfield abandoned bridge

abandoned bridge, northfield

For most of one summer, Al and George and I rode our bicycles together. Every weekend we'd mount up and set off, arriving home sometimes the same day, sometimes the next. Together we traveled over almost every inch of paved road between the Holyoke Range and the Vermont border to the north and south, and out to the hill towns on the east and west of the river. We joked about never believing a Bridge Closed sign all that summer. We crawled over and under obstacles and dragged our bikes with us so we could see what was on the other side of all those enticing bridges. One bridge was well and truly out, under construction, and we had to wade across the stream.  It was that or go back. Which would be boring.

Our exertions brought us to some really beautiful places. I still remember those rides with pleasure. And where ever we see a Bridge Closed sign, Al and I scope it out, and generally agree we could make it across. The road on the other side always looks enticing.

tip of First Island

tip of first island, fall


One of my favorite places in the valley is in the middle of the river. I am not sure if that counts as only one place, because I suppose technically it is a long line. Except the easiest way to get to the middle of the river on a regular basis on foot is on a bridge. This is a view from the Sunderland bridge looking north, across the end of First Island. The next island north is Second Island, and the third is, you guessed it, Third Island. Further north, Sunderland stops and other people have the naming of the islands. 

They are ephemeral in geological time, migrating across the river, and increasing and decreasing as the river itself moves. I've watched First Island expand to twice the width it had in the 1980's, and the channel on the east side get deeper and faster.