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Thread: Sheep Bridge, Arizona

  1. #1
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    Default Sheep Bridge, Arizona

    Back in WWII, sheep ranchers built an almost 700 foot pedestrian (people and sheep) bridge over the Verde River to move their sheep from northern pastures to those south of the Verde River. It was mostly built using scrap material leftover from mines. The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places list in 1978 as one of the most unique bridges in the southwest. In 1988, it was dismantled by the Forest Service (unstable from age and floods) and rebuilt a year later. This bridge stands today and is an awesome piece of history to visit.

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    For more information on the bridge and directions on how to get there, visit Experience Arizona Sheep Bridge adventure:

    http://www.experience-az.com/adventu...epsbridge.html
    "Life's not about how fast you can blast through it, but how slow you can go."
    matt@experience-az.com | www.experience-az.com

  2. #2
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    Super cool, thanks for sharing.....Speedy

  3. #3
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    campp is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    It is interesting for sure. And a rough road in! I did not know of the rebuild, but remember it from before. There's a hot spring bubbling up there, in the area of the lower left top picture.

    Thanks for posting this!

  4. #4
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    That looks like it would be a great place to visit. I am going to have to get down to Arizona, you guys have a lot of great places down there.
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  5. #5
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    I've long wanted to visit the bridge but have never had the opportunity to get down into that area. I've been interested in the history of the sheep industry in Arizona since I worked on the south slope of the San Francisco Peaks each summer from 2000-2003 and again last summer. Many of the aspens up there have Spanish names carved into them along with dates and hometowns. There are also quite a few trees with some very impressive artwork carved into them, some of which would not be at all appropriate for a family-friendly website! I've found the remains of cabins and small fenced areas once used by the sheep herders as high as at least 10'000 up on the mountain. I also saw an old Forest Service sign, dated from 1947, that proclaimed that it marked the upper elevational limit of sheep grazing. That was at 11,000' or so. I've got numerous pictures of carved aspens but I can't locate them. I was up there last weekend for an elk hunt (my son got one, his first!) and took a few pictures.

  6. #6
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    I found this document online that discusses the history on the bridge and of the folks that used it. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/a...az0229data.pdf The name 'Manterola' seen in the document is still a familiar name in the Garland Prairie area west of Flagstaff. I have to add a couple photos of my boys on our elk hunt. He got it at 9300' and it was quite a job getting it down the mountain but we had a great time.




  7. #7
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    JEC,

    Thanks for the link to the Sheep Bridge history. Interesting stuff!!! Love the comment that they couldn't believe no one was seriously injured or killed with the makeshift way the bridge was constructed.
    "Life's not about how fast you can blast through it, but how slow you can go."
    matt@experience-az.com | www.experience-az.com

  8. #8
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    The hot springs (west side of the river, about 100 yards upstream from the bridge), when I was last there about 10 years ago were actually pretty civilized. Someone had built a rectangular concrete tub big enough for maybe six people, about three feet deep. Hot water poured in from a 3-inch PVC pipe uphill. It was a straight-through arrangement, with overflow water steadily flowing out and down into the Verde. That probably helped to avoid some contamination.
    As many others may know, this site is not all that far downstream from Verde Hot Springs, about a mile upstream from the old Childs hydroelectric plant. I've usually gone into the site east from I-17 off Bloody Basin Road and through Tangle Creek. Getting out (after fording the river to reach its east bank), I've both driven west over the spillway ramp at Horseshoe Dam (when dry; and I had a key to the gates) and farther downstream, where a rancher had built a crude rock causeway. Both of the latter routes led to the Carefree/Seven Springs road from which you can get back to civilization either by heading south to Carefree or northwest back to Bloody Basin and I-17.
    The middle portion of the journey was definitely 4WD (I have pulled out pilgrims who got sand-stuck in the middle of the river), and I'm not sure now whether the route I describe is open. If so, it's a great trip. I have camped on the west bank of the river, just down from the new bridge, and usually never saw another soul.

  9. #9
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    Awesome piece of history? Not! Now the old bridge, that was an awesome piece of history that should have been saved, just like our ghost towns that should have been saved. I was on the bridge a couple of times about 30 something years ago. The best part was getting the bridge to swing back and forth and scaring the crap out of my friend. Another awesome thing was the hot spring down below in the river. Not sure who put it there but there was a bathtub in the river placed where the hot spring would flow into it. Nothing like a nice hot bath when your camping out in the middle of nowhere. Hopefully I can get out to see the new bridge sometime soon.

  10. #10
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    Smokepole,

    Thanks for the info. I will have to look for that the next time I'm out there!
    "Life's not about how fast you can blast through it, but how slow you can go."
    matt@experience-az.com | www.experience-az.com

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