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Pryor Creek Abandoned Bridge

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Explored:  August 2, 2008 by Shawn Dunnaway

Summer is not the best time to go trampling through the woods in the Land Between The Lakes.  But now that we have a baby, getting free time to explore is a rare treat.  It was an August day, 94 degrees with the heat index at a thousand.  We didn't think we needed any bug repellent since we thought what we were looking for was visible from our vehicle.  It wasn't.

The bridge from the 1920s when it crossed Panther CreekBrowsing through a local LBL history website, betweentherivers.org, I saw a photo of a bridge from the 1920s in LBL and the same bridge taken in 2007 but in a different location.  The bridge, according to this website, was located on Panther Creek before Kentucky Lake was flooded.  The photo of the bridge from the 1920s is at right.   TVA apparently moved the bridge in the late 1930s or early 40s to Pryor Creek where it sits today.  It was moved due to the creation of Kentucky Lake.

We knew the bridge was located on LBL Road 364 near Pryor Bay.  We found the road and drove to the end to Hicks Cemetery.  The road was barricaded so we proceed about two tenths of a mile on foot.  The road came to a bend and forded across Pryor Creek and into a field of corn.

We didn't see the bridge at first, so we took off our shoes and waded in the creek.  About 100 foot downstream, we spotted the bridge, which looks much bigger in person than in photographs.  We took video of the bridge (see below) and several photos.  The approaches of the bridge were completely covered by summertime overgrowth (this is why it's best to explore in winter and early spring).

As we were leaving, we spotted a large nest perched on top of a dead tree.  In it were two very large hawk-like birds.  At the time we didn't know what they were, but later discovered they were Ospreys.  We snapped several photos of them and then headed home.

When we got home, we found about 20 ticks, particularly deer ticks, on us.  Those buggers were no bigger than the tip of a pen!  But it was well worth the trip and we're looking forward to going back there in the winter for additional photos.   You can view a video of the trip here.

Winter Wonderland
Photo by Jennifer Dunnaway

If the road conditions permit, a drive through a snow-covered Land Between The Lakes is a must! This winter wonderland is every photographers dream come true.