Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Dewey Bridge burns

For many early Moab lovers, this 1916 suspension bridge over the muddy Colorado River was the gateway to canyon country. A modern bridge was added next to it in the early 1980s and the Dewey was restored and became part of the Kokopelli Trail.
Apparently a seven-year-old kid playing with matches at a riverside campsite upstream of the Dewey pullout started a brush fire Sunday night and the rest is history.

Colorado Springs climber Stewart Green said in an email this morning:

"Ed Webster and I just drove past the Dewey Bridge a week ago, en route to Moab and the canyon country, and talked about how crossing the old bridge in the seventies was the magical entry point to the desert and all those sandstone cracks and towers. Ed remembered driving across it for the first time in Jim Dunn's old Youth Challenge VW bus in 1976, on the way to climb the first ascent of Supercrack. It was well after nightfall below a sky filled with stars. Jim stopped the bus in the middle of the bridge above the torrent and Jim, Ed and Bryan Becker stepped out onto the creaky wood planks. Funny, I said, Jim and I did the same thing in 1971 on our first climbing trip to Utah. After that, I always stopped at night when I drove across the old bridge going either to or from the Canyonlands, hands sore from jamming cracks, hair full of desert sand and grit, listening to the river currents sweeping below like a strong black god.
I'm gonna miss that old bridge and what it meant."


Anonymous said...

My name is Michelle. I'm a producer for a news-interview show called Colorado Matters on Colorado Public Radio. I'm doing a feature on Dewey Bridge and would love to chat with Stewart. Stewart, if you get this -- or if someone knows how to reach Stewart -- please call my work number -- 303-871-9191 ext. 454

Jim said...

S'funny (and sad) that so many of had the same tradition. When the new bridge went in, it became a family tradition that I wouldn't drive across the new one and my wife had to take the wheel on our way down to desert adventures...