This pedestrian bridge at Watkins Glen has survived since 1870.  For some reason, a park sign identifies it as a suspension bridge, but a website run by historic bridge enthusiasts says it’s a cast- and wrought-iron truss bridge – – specifically, a “bowstring pony truss.”
I like that name, although it suggests some sort of uncomfortable rodeo event.  I’ve posted pictures in the past of the remnants of a similar bridge, over the Keuka Lake Outlet.  The company that made this example was located in Phoenixville, PA, and made all sorts of iron & steel, for almost two hundred years, including over a thousand rifled cannons for the Civil War.



Since we’re talking about bridges (well, I am, anyway), upstream from the little pedestrian bridge, is a 1949 railroad trestle bridge, kind of overgrown, but still in use.




A train crossing the trestle over the glen.



Looking down into the glen





The white line is the top of a stone wall, running alongside the trail. Which is closed during the winter, but always seems to have footprints on it, nonetheless.



Some of the reasons why the trail is closed in winter.  You can see some of the stone stairs in the bottom left.  These giant icicles hang over the path, and can detach any time.

















Finger Lakes, FLX, History, Nature, NY, Railroads, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You, Uncategorized, Upstate New York, Winter

Walks Around the Finger Lakes. February, Early Evening, Watkins Glen. Train-, Bridge-, and Icicle-Spotting


54 thoughts on “Walks Around the Finger Lakes. February, Early Evening, Watkins Glen. Train-, Bridge-, and Icicle-Spotting

  1. “Grandma, what great icicles you have.” “The better to pierce you, my child.”

    I see the pony on the front of the train, but where is the bowstring to truss it up?

    The original sense of truss is as a noun meaning ‘bundle.’ A trousseau is a kind of wedding bundle.

      • I wonder if it’s ‘bindle’ that’s echoing in your mind? See also: ‘bindlestiff.’ The bindle is “the bag, sack, or carrying device stereotypically used by the American sub-culture of hobos. A bindlestiff was another name for a hobo who carried a bindle. The bindle is colloquially known as the “blanket stick”, particularly within the Northeastern hobo community.”

        Now, for the hilarity. When I went looking to confirm my memory of ‘bindlestiff,’ I found the social media accounts of the Bindle Bros – creators of “Locally-Grown, Naturally-Fallen Artisanal Bindle Bags.” There’s more information about them here, including a not-to-be-missed video. You, of all people, will appreciate their humor.

        • Hahaha! Wow, I do love this, inspiring. All your Hopes & Dreams, and a healthy wallop of organic fertilizer, in one bandana load, tied to an artisanal shtick. Is this a great country for entrepreneurs, or what? 🙂 Thank you, Linda, this made my day.

  2. Those are gigantic icicles. They definitely represent a safety hazard. The footprints in the snow indicate that there are adventurous people who like to ignore the danger of being struck. Great photo essay, Robert!

    • Thank you, Peter. I have heard that ice detaching in coming down on the rocks, it makes a big racket, and I wouldn’t want to be under it. The local fire department has to haul people out of the gorge pretty much every winter, I don’t know how much the fines are but I imagine it’s a lot.

  3. melissabluefineart says:

    I am in awe~this rivals anything I ever saw out west. Those icicles are hauntingly beautiful, aren’t they? I can’t get over them. Your photos of the gorge are really lovely, too, and the bridges are works of art. I know I’m gushing but I can’t help it. Is the train a Ferrari?

  4. Beautiful pictures!!! I think “bowstring pony truss” is an appropriate name for the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver. I was terrified–it felt like I was being bucked from a “pony” while dangling precariously from a great height.

  5. Looking at those icicles, I hear my mother yelling, “Dont’ stand under those icicles!” We had a two-story house, and especially in February and March, as the melt/freeze cycle kicked in, they could get really long, and heavy. They could have done some damage, for sure.

    Do you know about the Bridgehunter site? I wondered if that’s the bridge enthusiast site you mentioned. I use it from time to time, since it’s got a lot of the small bridges included. It’s a good way to find bridges I don’t know about, too, since you can search by location. It’s a fun site.

    • Thanks, Linda, I did not know about that site, and I love bridges, I’ll look it up. We had some fun projects in school, building bridges out of popsicle sticks, etc. and then testing to see how much weight they’d carry. I liked that handmade stone arch, that Steve G. photographed recently.

  6. Darts and Letters says:

    Looking down into the glen here is just enough to give me sweaty palms! That’s really something else anyone would choose to walk at hazard of being impaled by icicles of that magnitude but such risk-taking is almost a cliche. Here locally we have people who ignore signs and routinely venture into a deadly ice cave at the foot of a towering mountain that is prone to collapse (the mountain, the ice and whatever else, maybe chipmunks). Whenever I read something “the Finger Lakes”, the name “Canandaigua” flickers through the reel in my mind because I made the acquaintance of someone a millions years ago who came from there and I just love saying it and hopefully there’s some recommendableness about it besides just being a pleasant conglomeration of sound. I’d be disappointed if I found out it was a grouchy lakeside village with a bad sheriff but the Finger Lakes seem to have a lot of good, hardy people around them so I know that’s not likely the case.

    • Canandaigua is indeed a Finger Lake, and a good-sized town, kind of a small city, with a community college, courthouse, etc.. An outlier for the region, gaining population, I think it’s almost as big as Ithaca now – they expanded a stretch of the Thruway, and the highway to Cndga, and it’s become an exurb of Rochester, pretty upscale, maybe a little snooty. But lots of cool mid-1800’s houses, and the gardens at an old robber baron estate (“Sonnenberg”) are pretty nice. Man I really could work for the Chamber of Commerce, couldn’t I?
      I’ve walked around the woods past the south end quite a few times, and there’s a diner in Naples that makes really good grape pies.
      Yeah, the local fire department gets tired of hauling people out of that gorge in winter, kind of hard to believe people persist in doing that.
      I have no idea why exactly, the snow cave sounds pretty lethal, but when you talked about the chipmunks coming down the mountain, along with the avalanche, it just struck me funny, and I’ve been laughing out loud. I could see and hear them chattering and squeaking, riding the wave.

  7. Is there an echo in here? Those are some awesome icicles. Truly worthy of Vlad the Impaler. I’ve always thought ice would make a good ammunition as it would melt leaving no clue except a hole. Those would spear a dinosaur, I think.
    That’s not a picture that comes to mind when one hears “suspension bridge” but I think truss might be more appropriate. That’s a view of Watkins Glen I’ve not seen before.

    • That would make a good murder mystery. There’s a Roald Dahl story, they used it on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” where a wife kills her husband with a frozen leg of lamb… Some of that ice broke off while I was taking pictures. I didn’t see it, but it made quite a crash and I grabbed onto a little tree without thinking.

      • Poor little tree. I never saw that AHP episode but can just imagine it being quirky enough for that series. I can’t recall hearing icicles fall, but hearing it crack on a large body of water does resonate.

  8. Serious icicles! Makes me shiver. 🙂 And an impressive old bridge – glad you nailed down the type of bridge – not that it explained anything – not that I would have understood if it did. The horse on the engine surprises me – I don’t think I’ve ever seen that logo. What’s up with that? And how cool that you were at the right place at the perfect time to photograph a train head-on! Enjoy your weekend wandering, Robert, wherever it takes you.

    • I think bridges are kind of interesting, even if I don’t grasp the physics of their designs. I looked up that horse (I’m not a train buff, and hadn’t seen it either) It’s the emblem for Norfolk Southern. They have lines all over the eastern US, but you wouldn’t see them out your way, the farthest west they go is Kansas City. I grew up with a train crossing my street twice a day, and that was the Finger Lakes Railway. Their HQ was right next to my primary school, and they’d stop by once a year to give us a ride, which was fun.
      I hope you have a great weekend, Lynn!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s