The 82-ft. long Clay’s covered bridge that spans Little Buffalo Creek was built in 1890 by George Harling on the Burr Truss design. Named after designer Theodore Burr of Connecticut, the advantage of the Burr Truss system was it allowed longer spans to be crossed with single arches. The arches ran from one end of the bridge to the other, and all the king posts, roof, and flooring were attached to the span.
It was a cloudy, drizzly, foggy day when I paddled the lake. Much of the south shore and the west end beyond the bridge are wooded and natural. I followed Little Buffalo Creek until it degenerated into a babbling brook. The engineering of the lake and mill was interesting, and the mill race is still there to see. I found it fascinating how they created the lake and situated the mill so that normal water elevation would flow down the race to power the mill. Any additional water coming into the lake from storm runoff would then be diverted over a dam and around the mill to prevent flooding.
The color on the hill was just the vaguest hint of spring. Skunk cabbage’s greatest value to us is as a sign of early spring. While it is poisonous if consumed by mammals, including humans, it is greatly valued by smaller critters, from flies, bees, slugs, millipedes, earthworms, etc. It’s seeds are eaten by wood ducks, however.