Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Checking out the crumbling bluffs before armoring begins

Barring some bureaucratic delay , work should begin soon on the Mad River bluff project. With this in mind, I decided to get some photos this evening to document the bluffs before construction begins. I grabbed my camera and left my secret compound, located near School Road and U.S. Highway 101, on foot.


I crossed the Hammond Bridge. My Dad once told me that if you want to build something solid, use triangles. It's a pretty simple concept that keeps this big, honking piece of steel suspended over the Mad. There's something else interesting about this photo – the steel plate in the middle is not symmetrical. Maybe the bridge was handmade in more ways than one.


Yep. Lots of triangles. Count them. There will be a quiz later.


This blue heron is completely uncooperative when it comes to photos. I say "this" because I think I see the same one all the time. The little bastard is always facing the wrong direction and flies away every time I get close.


I stumbled over the dunes and tried to get to the east bank of the Mad. Damn. The spit was a lot wider and longer than I imagined. On the left are giant dunes, with the Pacific on the other side. To the right is a willow forest, with the Mad on the other side.


After cutting through a forest that looked like something from the Blair Witch Project, I came to my destination. Here's the crumbling river bank that our tax dollars will armor. That power pole on the right is at the foot of School Road. You can click on any of these images to see a larger version.


As you can see, someone already tried to armor the bluff. This was done without permits. But that's OK. Sometimes you have to ignore the law and do what needs to be done, right? The cement chunks didn't hurt anything, but they probably didn't help anything. In a big storm these chunks would wash away in a second. The Mad is bigger, smarter and more powerful than us silly humans. It was here before us and it will be here long after we're gone.


I took a lot more shots, but those are for the files. Then I hiked west, climbed a massive dune and took this shot. The house to the far left is near the foot of Ocean Drive.


This is called Mad River Beach. At some point north if becomes Clam Beach. I'm not sure where the name changes. One could argue that Clam Beach is north of the Mad River's mouth, but the location of the mouth changes all the time. Right now it's just south of the foot of Murray Road.


Check out the size of this stump at the beach. A so goes another day in paradise.

So how many triangles did you count?


Blogger Kym said...

40 triangles and my guess is there is only one heron in Humboldt and the bastard hates photographers.

7:13 AM  
Blogger reverend dick said...

GD herons...

8:19 AM  
Blogger gb05 said...

The bridge has some serious rust. I doubt that it's a DOT bridge, but I wonder who's responsible for its manintenance. Not that it makes any difference...

10:19 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

40 is what I counted.

The bridge is owned by the County of Humboldt and the MCSD. The MCSD has a sewer line over the bridge, but that line has since been abandoned. Years ago the MCSD declared that it would not participate in the bridge's maintenance.

So it's now up to the county, which doesn't have the money to do much of anything.

But I don't think that bridge is going anywhere in our lifetime.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Rose said...

I still say the logical solution was to plant a few sticks of dynamite and blast a straightaway through the dunes to the ocean, diverting the river away from the bluffs altogether.

Woulda saved Ken Miller's house for a whole lot less dough. He coulda gone out in the middle of the night with a coupla friends and done the dirty deed.

The river'll probably move it's way out that way next year - or the next on its own anyway.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Monica... That One Girl said...

Shoot. I counted 50 and then 49... not sure what I did differently. Lots... that's it!

Great photos, Jack. I really dig your take on McKinleyville and beyond. I used to spend more time out there when I had a significant other who lived in that direction, but I haven't done much more than the occasional Denny's run in the last couple of years.

I certainly hope that even after you find a worthy buyer for the paper, you'll keep this blog.


8:20 PM  
Blogger Jack said...


It pleases me greatly to have a fellow media whore... um, I mean media professional... visit my blog.

After you decide to give up that radio stuff, buy my paper and realize your life-long fantasy of owning your own newspaper and starting a media empire, I'll have even more time to devote to this blog.

By the way, there's no question that the chicken fried steak, eggs and hashbrowns at Denny's are totally fucking delicious (I order the biscuit), but for really good cuisine you should check out the specials at the Six Rivers Brewery, or the the Silver Lining.

I don't know how far you can travel on that Vespa, but if you make it north of the Mad, hit me up and I'll show you around.

We could probably spend at least an hour admiring the totem pole. Then there are the goats at the sewer plant. Amazing stuff.

As for the triangles, me thinks it's a trick question.

I should have established some rules before making people count.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Gordon Inkeles said...


Since you live in the neighborhood, could you please sandblast and paint that bridge for us?


5:47 PM  

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