My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sundial Bridge

One of the fairly nearby attractions that I had planned to visit was the Sundial Bridge in Redding, CA. And even though I tried to schedule adventures at least two days of every week, I didn't get time to see everything. So I decided to see the bridge during one of the two trips I had to make to Malheur to haul all my junk.

And of course, I wanted the lighting good for pictures.  I first came past it in the dark, then in the early afternoon and finally made it to the bridge just before dawn.

The lighting makes for a gorgeous view at night

The floor is made of glass to let light pass to the river below to help spawning salmon

The bridge is part of a wonderful, thirty-five mile long, trail system that goes along the Sacramento River on both sides and takes one to the Shasta Dam.  Since it was too dark for pictures and since I had a ten hour drive still ahead of me, I decided to get in a little walk. I walked out for about one and a quarter miles. By this time it was light enough to read and I was reading the various trail signs. I got to one with a picture of eagles and a telescope next to it.  It told of an eagle's nest right there in urban Redding, CA.  I scanned the trees in front of me with the scope and found an eagle sitting on a nest, with a slough and an apartment complex in the background.

Almost sunrise over the Sacramento River.

It was rapidly getting light, so I worked my way back, only getting distracted by pictures a few times. Then I took pictures of the bridge from both sides of the river.  

Canada geese at sunrise on the Sacramento River

Early morning shot looking upstream to the Sundial Bridge

Just before lights out on the bridge

A closer view of the sundial

Beautiful geometry

View from the bridge of Mt. Shasta Bally and gulls

The bridge was built by Santiago Calatrava. He is both an architect and a sculptor.  The pictures of his work are breathtaking. So, if you are into beautiful architecture, check out his works.

But the bridge is not a stand-alone attraction.  It is part of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, which also has a museum and the McConnell Arboretum and Botantical Gardens. I couldn't wait until the museum opened but saw a man opening the gates to the garden.  I asked him if I could visit the gardens and he said yes.  So I got to see it in beautiful morning light, rather than after 9:00 A.M. This is a very young garden and it was also mostly dormant but looks like it has great possibilities to show people how to have a beautiful, but sustainable garden without using too much water or herbicides and fertilizers.

And this is a very birdy place and should be particular wonderful during spring migration. Besides the nesting eagle,  robins were moving all over the ground and giving their fussy calls.  They were joined by spotted towees.  Yellow-rumped warblers were singing. Canada geese and ducks - buffleheads, common mergansers, ruddy ducks - were swimming in the river. Gulls were there in great numbers. I could hear the Chi-CA-go calls of a flock of California quail and the hunting call of a red-tail hawk.  An Allen's hummingbird was sitting at the entrance to the garden and then started feeding on red, tubular flowers while I watched. When I noted the location, I found that I was walking into a bird sanctuary.

This is definitely a wonderful place to visit. Bring your hiking shoes, bike and binoculars,  and take a ride to the Shasta Dam and enjoy the birds.Visit the museum and the gardens. Bring your lunch or eat in the museum cafe.