Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I-205 Bridge @ High Rocks, Clackamas River

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A few photos of the seemingly-unnamed bridge that carries I-205 over the Clackamas River, just upstream of notorious High Rocks Park (which is where I took these from).

I don't have much to say about the bridge itself. It's your basic utilitarian concrete bridge. If you drive over it on I-205, you barely notice you're on a bridge, and you don't get a clear view of the river. It's basically a smaller and more obscure cousin to the Abernethy, Boone, North Portland Harbor, and I-84 Sandy River bridges. Other than the North Portland Harbor bridge (which I haven't quite posted about yet), they offer no pedestrian facilities. I'm told it's technically legal to walk across on the shoulder, so I could technically include them in the ongoing bridge-walking project. But I have to say that's highly unlikely. My m.o. here is to take mundane stuff and try to make it sound exciting and dangerous, hopefully in a semi-entertaining way. When it comes to actual danger, well, I tend to avoid that. I'm not saying that as an ironclad rule, exactly; it's just that I think I'd need a better reason than this grey concrete bridge here.

It's a shame the bridge isn't very attractive, given the setting.

I-205 Bridge, High Rocks

If you've read any of the previous posts here mentioning the Clackamas River, you're probably sick and tired of me flogging the "drowning hazard" angle. So I'm not really inclined to revisit it in depth, but I will mention that High Rocks is #1 on the Mercury's list of dangerous swimmin' holes. And here are two examples of what they're talking about.

Willamette Week mentions the park in an article about fun summer activities, although it describes the river danger as 7 out of 10, and danger from fellow river rats as 9.5 out of 10. Elsewhere, Oregon150 has a nice, brief essay about "Rafting the Clackamas River".

I-205 Bridge, High Rocks

It will come as no surprise to you, o Gentle Reader(s), that while I was here I didn't avail myself of the opportunity to slam down a tallboy of Old English 800 and then dive off the eponymous High Rocks into the river. Besides the whole danger thing, I'm slightly too old to join in; plus it's not really my subculture, and I doubt the natives would accept me; plus -- regarding the whole "impressing girls" angle -- I kind of suspect my wife wouldn't be too keen on me diving drunkenly into a freezing river. Plus I don't really fancy Old E too much, and chugging a good beer shortly before drowning would be a waste of good beer. Also, when I took these photos I'd stopped by briefly in the morning before work, and I had to scurry off home to get to an Important Meeting, so all other factors aside, it simply wasn't practical.

I-205 Bridge, High Rocks

So you're probably starting to wonder, if you're still reading, exactly what it was that I did here. Well, I walked down the narrow path to the park, which squeezes between businesses on either side. Took a brief look around, noted that there weren't a lot of people there -- it being a weekday morning before school was out -- and none of them looked like the roving packs of shiftless, predatory youths that the local media always goes on about. So I took a few photos and headed out before any youths showed up, and trundled off to the office. I think it's fair to say that the stuff I didn't do is vastly more interesting, even if none of it actually happened.

If I sound a little sour, I should probably mention I'm at home with a cold right now, and I've got nothing better to do than go through my Drafts folder and try to polish off a few of my unfinished posts.

I-205 Bridge, High Rocks

In any case, The Narrative Image has a few nice photos of the area, much more intriguing than my efforts here. Although on the other hand, what you see here is the product of a brief ~5 minute visit. That probably ought to count for something...

And off on a tangent: Here's an entirely different High Rocks Park, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where the rocks are substantially higher than ours. No connection to the present story, but I ran across them while searching and thought they were worth passing along. So enjoy.

I-205 Bridge, High Rocks

As an added bonus, right behind the freeway bridge is a railroad bridge that now belongs to Union Pacific, although it apparently still has "Southern Pacific" written on it in large letters. It isn't really possible to take a better photo of the railroad bridge without a.) shooting from the freeway bridge (hopefully while someone else is driving) b.) trespassing on the grounds of someone's fancy riverfront home, or c.) riding an inner tube down the river with a camera and hoping it doesn't get wet. A site covering Clackamas River Bridges appears to have chosen option a., so you can check those out if you're curious. But as far as the bridge project goes, I'm going to consider the railroad bridge "done" without resorting to any of the above options, since it does already appear, a little, in the photos here.

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