Shocks Mill Bridge

The Northwest River Trail

Living in Marietta has some perks, the Northwest River Trail is one of them. The 13.5-mile trail runs from Columbia to Bainbridge. A little over half of it is paved and the whole length of the trail is flat. It’s a nice, leisure trail along the river with many interesting sights to see along the way.

With the amount of rain we’ve had this spring, the river is high. I couldn’t get past the Shocks Mill Bridge because the trail was underwater!

flooded suquehanna river

The Susquehanna river blocking the Northwest River Trail that runs under Shocks Mill Bridge.

The Shocks Mill Bridge

This old bridge is one of the interesting sites to see along the trail.

Shocks Mill Bridge was opened January 1, 1905. The bridge is 2,209 feet long and has some great stone arches connecting the pylons that support the train tracks, which trains still use today.

The walkway underneath the bridge is new relative to the bridge. It was opened November 1, 2014. Everyone who enjoys the Northwest River Trail should be thankful for the amount of work the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority put into making the walkway under the bridge a reality. The company invested more than four years of planning and $325,000 into the walkway that now connects Bainbridge to Marietta.

Flying my drone over water?

I had been thinking about featuring the bridge in a drone video, but I had some serious reservations about flying my drone here. There isn’t a lot of space to take off and land because of dense tree cover and of course, the Susquehanna River.

I had not yet flown my drone over water… I was nervous.

But the opportunity couldn’t have been better. The flooded river added a unique detail so I decided to go for it.

After an extra thorough pre-flight inspection, I took to the sky. At first, I only ventured a couple feet over the water. I had read that flying over water affects the drone’s altitude hold system which can cause the aircraft to have uncontrolled gains and drops, or drifting.

There was definitely some instability but it only seemed to be noticeable at low altitudes. The higher I went, the less the water affected my drone.

I carefully ventured further and further over the river, still hesitant to fully commit. Eventually, I was comfortable enough to fly all the way across the river.

To my delight, I heard a subtle rumble in the distance. A train was coming! I got my drone into position and captured the train exiting the forest to start it’s journey over the bridge.