Taking You Back: Most Bizarre Encounters with People and Animals

Peelewatt Bridge FL
Peelewatt Viaduct near the EUF in Flensburg


In connection with the 10th anniversary of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles, we are starting our first of many initiatives to commemorate 10 years of bridgehunting and preserving historic bridges. Our first one has to do with the topic of bridgehunting and this question:


Specifically, what was the most bizarre experience that you have ever encountered while photographing or finding bridges?

Coulee Creek Bridge at Kornhill Rd. near Wadena in Fayette County, Iowa

A pair of stories come to mind while talking about this- both of which happened in 2011, just in two different places.

  1. FLENSBURG, GERMANY- During my stay in April for Easter, I found a tall arch bridge spanning a rail line connecting Flensburg with Kiel- the latter is the capital of Schleswig-Holstein. Known by locals as the Peelewatt Viaduct, the best photos were the ones in an open field near the campus of the European University of Flensburg, as well as right up at the tracks. The only challenge: fighting through bushes of thorns that separated the open field and the main highway passing the university. After minutes of fighting through them, I marched towards the bridge, only to be greeted by two different unpleasantries: a couple having sex next to a tree and their Rotweiler dog making a charge towards me, growling and snarling, as I retreated back into the thorny bushes! Eventually I found another way to the viaduct but not before encountering people who saw me as if Rocky Balboa had just finished a boxing match with Clubber Lang- scratched and bruised. Luckily not bitten by the hound.
  2. FAYETTE COUNTY, IOWA- This happened shortly before the Historic Bridge Weekend in St. Louis and I was looking around for some historic bridges. I find a two-span culvert spanning a creek on Kornhill Road near Wadena. Because of the material used for construction and its unique railings, I stopped for a pair of pics, including one on the side. That didn’t bode well for one nearby property owner who ran half-naked down the hill to confront me, accusing me of being a hunter. When he realized I was photographing a bridge, I was allowed to leave but not before taking this advice: “Ask first before entering.” Since when was a ditch private property?

These are just two examples. The question is what about you, not just as a bridgehunter but also a photographer or someone who just found a diamond for a crossing?

Feel free to add your story by using two options:

  1. You can write yours in the comment section or
  2. You can send your story via mail and it will be added as an article separately.

Photos are welcomed. If you want to use a pseudo-name to protect your real identity, it is fully ok. Privacy is just as important as the story itself. Stories will be accepted throughout the year. Give us your best story!

Have fun! 🙂

BHC 10 years

7 thoughts on “Taking You Back: Most Bizarre Encounters with People and Animals

  1. Not animals, but plants. I was in Columbus Junction, Iowa to photograph its many interesting bridges, and here was this historic 1929 closed-spandrel arch bridge with no pictures on bridgehunter.com. I arrived at the Monkey Run Bridge with my good camera, in good weather, and a close, legal place to park my car. I quickly identified a very thick growth of poison ivy growing between me and the bridge. I couldn’t get to it without being painfully infected. So I took this unsatisfying telephoto shot, with that poison ivy in the foreground. http://bridgehunter.com/ia/louisa/2470/ If I’m in the area again in the winter, with a layer of snow covering the poison ivy, not to mention no leaves on the trees, I’ll get much better photos of this historic bridge.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In March 2009, I was a recent college graduate and an up and coming engineer with the Oregon Department of Transportation. In college I worked on a project documenting historic bridges in the Pacific Northwest. During this time after college, I was still working on the project and decided to retrace the old alignments of US-99 through Southern Oregon, looking for old bridges that may be hidden on these old roads.
    The trip brought me to the small community of Wolf Creek, Oregon. Wolf Creek is one of those small forgotten places that the common traveler blows past on Interstate 5 without giving much of a thought. The town now features a gas station, a volunteer fire station and a historic stage coach stop called the Wolf Creek Inn that is run by the state parks system. Other than that, there is much there of interest to the average traveler.

    While driving through the town I noticed a small concrete girder bridge from the 1920’s on this little side street that now leads to the backside of the gas station and dead ends at the freeway. This little bridge was clearly part of Highway 99 in its glory days, so I decided to stop and take some photos.
    I parked the car and got out. I immediately went to snapping photos of the small bridge, side elevations, roadway views the standard shots. I was admiring the plaque on the bridge when I hear a voice over my shoulder.

    “Hey, are you a hippie?”
    I turn around to see a kid, probably around 10 years old standing there giving me the stink eye.

    “I don’t normally identify myself as a hippie” I replied, being I am a farm kid from rural Washington State.

    “GOOD, cause we hate hippies around here” the boy exclaimed.

    He followed up with, “There’s been hippies under this bridge”.

    I couldn’t help myself, “How do you know that?” I asked.

    “There are leaves painted on the walls down there” he quickly replied.

    He then, being 10 I suppose, quickly changed the subject to why I was there with my camera.

    “Why you takin’ pictures of this here bridge?”

    I explained I was driving the old roads around looking for old bridges to take pictures of.

    He responds “You wanna know something about this bridge?”

    Curiosity in sues, “Sure, what you got? “ I reply.

    “My Pa says his uncle built this bridge. His name is over on the sign. J. Elmer Nelson, that’s his name.” proclaimed the boy.

    At this time, I start wondering why this kid is just hanging out under a bridge by himself with no adults around.

    “Where is your Pa?” I asked him.

    “Over there he said.” Pointing off to a burning barrel behind the gas station surrounded by about eight men, all looking like stereotypical hillbillies from the movies, each holding a can of beer. You might say it looked like the cast of Duck Dynasty over there. Keep in mind this is a Thursday at about 10:00 in the morning.

    Pretty soon the boy’s father called him over, so he started strolling over to his dad.

    “Are you sure you’re not a hippie?” he asked one more time before trotting off.

    I went under the bridge to find a gigantic marijuana leaf painted on the abutment of the bridge.

    “Well, that explains the hippie reference.” I thought to myself.

    Beings a small bridge I popped back up near the car a minute or so later. I head over to the car and packed up my camera and took a last glance over at the burn barrel.

    At about this moment, the kid arrives at the burn barrel. You can see that he is telling the men something while pointing back over at me.

    As I sit in the seat and start the car, all of the guys start marching towards me with a look of anger. They took off with some purpose, so I figured it was time for me to go.

    As I pulled out of there, I heard some guy yell something, but I wasn’t about to stop to see what they wanted.
    I hit the road headed south and didn’t look back.

    My best guess is that kid took me as a “hippie” and they wanted to have a chat…


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