Seven Bridges in Six Miles

Or something like that, because I think it was eight bridges, and at one point she said it was seven bridges in seven miles, so who the hell knows how far we hiked. Oh yeah, and it wasn’t a hike…it was a walk. I did this a week ago…there is a reason I didn’t write about it until now…read on.

The Canyoneers’ Seven-Bridge Walk is what this was based on, and reading the description at that link sounds pretty familiar. We started at the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden in Balboa Park (ie, that place with all the roses across Park from the fountain). I got there a little early and wandered through the roses…strangely, this section of pruned roses made me miss having roses…we had them at the old house, where the kids were born. I had to prune them a couple of times a year.

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I actually LIKE roses. I know. Strange. I like the complicated ones best though…the ones with colors that change over time…

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or the really old-time roses that wander all over the place…

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I didn’t do a very good job taking care of them, but seeing these pictures reminded me that I liked them. Not sure where I would put them here, and then I’d need to take care of them.

Our group was relatively large, which was interesting because it was taking place at the same time as the Chargers’ play-off game (I didn’t care). This is with the first bridge in the background, from the rose garden over to the Natural History Museum.

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Once we crossed that first bridge, we headed directly across Balboa Park.

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It was a Sunday morning AND football, so very few people were there…

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It was a gorgeous day as well…

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The second bridge we crossed was the Laurel Street Bridge, which goes over the 163. It was built in 1914 and is being retrofitted (again?) right now; hence all the construction equipment on the left of the photos.

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The bridge is much wider than in this photo; cars used to be able to drive in over this bridge. Presumably they will again, but not right now. I have actually walked over this bridge multiple times.

We then wandered through Bankers Hill to the First Avenue Bridge, built in 1931.

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It had a great view of the bay and beachy bits…

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and apparently is the only steel-arch bridge in San Diego.

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I don’t think I’ve ever been over that bridge. Then we walked north and east to the Quince Street Bridge, a wooden-trestle bridge built in 1905.

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I’ve been near this bridge but not on it before…the obligatory group photo (I’m hiding in the back like a good hermit)…

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Graffiti at the other end…I believe I am following that instruction for now…I’m even making a Not Love quilt. Whoops.

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At the 4th-street entrance, there was this small book lending library. If I’d known, I would have brought some to put in there…

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Here’s the side view of the trestles…it doesn’t look very sturdy, does it?

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The next bridge was my favorite and one I didn’t even know existed…it was the Spruce Street suspension bridge, built in 1912. The entrance is right there in the middle, but you wouldn’t even know it was there…

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This is a bouncy bridge…

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It is especially bouncy if some person in front of you who weighs about 100 pounds more than you is jumping up and down on it. That said, kids would love this bridge. Heck, I loved this bridge. I would just love it more without other people…

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And obviously the neighbors have some issues with the noise and behavior that the bridge (and the canyon below) seem to engender.

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From there, we hiked (um, walked) back to Balboa Park for a quick view of the house…crap…and this is why I take notes while I hike…the Marston House. I should remember, since I think Monique’s bridal shower or engagement party or something was here. Of course, I was still married then and her oldest is now in middle school, so I guess it’s OK I forgot the name…

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We did not go in. It was expensive for the tour. Besides, honestly, this walk was incredibly slow. By this point, we had lost one woman to an achy knee and another two or three who wanted to go watch the game, plus it just wasn’t very fast. Not the fault of the organizer…she did state it was going to be leisurely. Apparently I don’t like leisurely.

Here’s a squirrel who posed for me near the Marston House.

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There were lots of interesting houses around the hike…from the Marston House, we stopped in the park to have a snack, and then headed north or west or something like that.

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This used to be the City Deli for years, and now Harvey Milk has taken over. The frieze above of vegetables used to be in color…

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We then wandered through Hillcrest, where my brain took a nosedive into shitty town (not the fault of the organizer). This is an extra bridge, but apparently not a historic one…

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The bridge over the 163 for University Avenue. Yes, people sang Bridge over the River Kwai. That was not the most annoying thing on this hike. The most annoying thing was my brain and one of the other people…I did not have a great time. Not the fault of the organizer…I would hike with her again. I just won’t pick in-town walks (unless that’s what I want) or parts of town that make me want to claw my eyes out. Personal issues. The bridge part was cool.

This is the Vermont Street Bridge, built in 1995 to replace a 1916 wooden-trestle bridge.

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It has many quotes on the sides of it…

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Thanks, Eleanor…doing that all the time…and messages…

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This goes from the Hillcrest shopping area across Washington to a residential area, and is another bridge I drove under many times without ever having been over it…

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I guess exploring my city is not a bad reason to walk. There were definitions in the concrete of the bridge…all definitions of the word ‘bridge.’ There are many of them.

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There were more quotes down at the end as well…

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including this one by MLK. I’m not sure I qualify for either creative altruism or destructive selfishness…

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I am kinda tired of the latter. I guess I’m more on the CA end of the spectrum. Maybe most teachers are…

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There’s where the bridge goes into the residential area…and then we walked down to the Georgia Street Bridge, another one I had driven under about a million times and never really noticed…

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This is a concrete bridge built in 1914 to replace a redwood-truss bridge from 1907. It’s a landmark bridge, but very short…

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And not so pretty as some of the others. Here’s the view below of University Avenue. Sigh. Deep breaths. Don’t let memories fuck with your enjoyment of the bridge.

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From there, we wambled back to Balboa Park (wamble was the Word of the Day yesterday on Dictionary.com)…by this time, we had lost one group to the Hillcrest Farmers’ Market (tempting), another group to general tiredness or something, and I don’t even know where we lost the other two people.

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Coming through Balboa Park down Park, looking off to the southeast…

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and finally through the cactus garden, which has lots of interesting stuff hiding in it…

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with a view of the first bridge again, which I had to cross to get back to my car.

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The Canyoneers’ article claims it’s 5.5 miles, but I know our leader added blocks on because she was trying to get to some lucky number of bridges and miles…not a feng shui hike, per se, but some sort of magical combination of numbers that obviously allowed the Chargers to win the play-offs (I still don’t care).

Why did this take me a week to write? The walk itself was fine. I was lost a bit in my own depression and memories, and some of the people were either really slow or really annoying, so I didn’t really have a great experience. I would hike with the organizer again…but I would also realize that if I’m in the mood for some serious walking/hiking, I should choose something else. This was more of a social see-the-town kinda hike, and although I won’t avoid that completely, it’s really not what I want out of a hike. That said, it was totally worth it for the suspension bridge…

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