Monday Trip report


I made a run down to the salt ponds this afternoon. I left Berkeley around 2:30 in my trusty VW Cabriolet and arrived at the Dumbarton Bridge site around 3:15. After hiking south for 10 minutes or so I was at the end of the (legal) trail and set about photographing the Hetch Hetchy viaduct and Southern Pacific’s Dumbarton Cutoff train bridge. The cutoff was the first bridge across the Bay. It carried freight trains from 1910 to 1982. A swing span allowed boat traffic to pass through the shipping channel — a feature mirrored in its smaller sibling bridge spanning the Newark Slough just to the east. Both bridges are now welded into an open position.

Dumbarton Bridge No. 1

A view of the Dumbarton Cutoff train bridge from the east side.

By the time I finshed taking photographs at the Dumbarton site it was 5:30 or so. I had to swap kites at one point (a Sutton 30 for the 7.5 foot Rokkaku) when the wind freshened. The light was becoming soft and warm so I decided to hike back quickly to the car and check out the northern edge of Cargill Corporation’s crystallization ponds. This is the time of year for harvesting salt and indeed when I arrived you could see crews hard at work out on the drained crystallizers. The light was nice so I sent the Sutton 30 up again for the last 30 minutes of the day. Turns out it was really overpowered –easy up, hard down.

Harvesting Salt

The fall harvest is on at the Cargill salt ponds in South San Francisco Bay. This is the end of our dry season and soon rains will dilute the ponds. The lower pond is still crystallizing salt while the upper one has been drained and harvested. They scrape the salt up with a machine resembling those that chew up asphalt roads in preparation for resurfacing. A large electricity transmission tower lends scale to the image.

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