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WHERE IS IT?

Viva La Puente
updated: May 05, 2005, 12:00 AM

Bridge
May 5, 2005 - Viva La Puente

There is just so darn much beauty in this town that some of it goes unnoticed. We’re not talking about missing the way the wind swirls through a certain palm tree along the beach, or the single rose pedal that has found its way into the fountain by the Rose Garden. And, we are certainly not talking about the struggle of the dung beetle as he makes his way along the shores of a free flowing creek. We’re talking big things here – things you can walk on and over.

One striking example of overlooked natural beauty in Santa Barbara is the natural bridge that lies between Goleta Beach and UCSB,
Goleta Bridge
just out of sight of the road and the bike path, as you descend the small hill from the parking lot to the campus entrance.

The dedicated staff of edhat.com did a little research on natural bridges yesterday. It turns out that Natural Bridges is the illegitimate stepson of local actor, Jeff Bridges. Kidding!

Actually, there is a whole group of people who study and categorize these natural wonders. They call themselves the Natural Arch and Bridge Society. We learned from their website that there is a distinction between a natural bridge and a natural arch. A bridge is formed by a current of water - usually with water still flowing underneath.
Santa Cruz
These types of bridges are found on the coasts of every continent. Famous ones include the London Bridge in Victoria, Australia, and the aptly named Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz (shown here).

Natural arches are formed by any other means, usually by wind and sand erosion. Many arches can be found in the arid regions of the U.S. Not following that water rule we just got through mentioning, the Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah is home to the Sipapu Natural Bridge (shown here), that is just less than a football field in length. Arches National Park, also in Utah, has many arches, too (duh). If you read Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey, you can learn a thing or two about Arches … and about life, too.

The Goleta Natural Bridge is not a very famous one, but beautiful and magnificent just the same. It’s not really a day destination (nor is it a bridge too far), but if you have never seen the natural wonder,
Sipapu
it’s worth taking the 2-minute walk from the end of the Goleta Beach parking lot to check it out – and sooner is better than later. You see, while inland arches can remain for thousands of years, the lifespan of a bridge by the sea is short. The same erosive force that can burrow a hole in through the rock can also undermine the entire structure.

In yesterday’s contest, we received a few guesses of Cabo San Luca, but lots of subscribers were able to come up with the right answer (too many to list). The winners were ranked and a random number was created. TheBlond is not the brunt of any jokes today – he/she is the winner of a cool Edhat T-shirt.

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