But if you think that the suspension bridge is narrow, check out this bridge farther down the river. This is part of a series of bridges that cross in this part of the river. The Carbon is a "braided" river, as the streambed consists of meandering channels that separate various small islands, and sometimes change their course. If you notice the milky color of the water, it is called "glacial flour", and is typical of rivers and streams that are glacier fed. As the glacier grinds down its bed, sediment is released into the water, making the glacial flour. Glacier fed rivers tend to be very fast running and wild.
In November of 2006, storms dumped 18 inches of rain on the Park in 36 hours. The Carbon River was one area which flooded, wiping out this log bridge among others in that area, the road, and part of the Ipsut Creek campground. These two pictures were taken in August of 2006 when we camped there with the grandkids.
This similar but much shorter log bridge on Frying Pan Creek in the Northeast corner of the Park shows a bit better how these bridges are constructed. Frying Pan Creek is another glacial stream which is fed by the Frying Pan Glacier, and flows into the White River, whose main source is the large Emmons Glacier.
Do not distract me when I cross one of these log bridges. Do not jump on the bridge. In fact, do not step onto the bridge until I am across. I do not look around. I do not look up. I do not look down. I look straight at the log in front of me. I do not let go of the rail. This log bridge is on a trail which crosses the Nisqually River, which is fed by the Nisqually Glacier and is located in the Southwest corner of the park.
One more narrow bridge--this one is located on the Ohanapecosh River in the southeast corner of the Park. The Ohanapecosh River is a clear non-glacial river. Although it runs swiftly, it is not nearly as turgid as the others. Wouldn't you know that it has the bridge with two handrails?
These four log bridges from the four corners of Mt. Rainier National Park represent many such bridges in the back country of the park as well. I can't imagine hiking into some of the areas where trails must cross bridges like these carrying the materials to build them. They can't just cut down a tree on the site to do it--it is a wilderness area and protected. I think that sometimes the materials are brought in by helicopter.