Go! Do it! Walk across the New River Gorge Bridge! It’s an unforgettable experience and I dare you to give it a try!
Twenty five feet below the pavement that stretches across the New River Gorge Bridge lies a 24” catwalk that runs the entire length of the bridge. After stepping into a harness and hooking myself onto a safety cable, taking that first step into the yawning metal underbelly of the bridge was a wee bit intimidating. 3030 feet away, I couldn’t see the other end of the catwalk but I could see the river, it’s rapids and boulders, and the trees that were 850+ feet below. Halfway across, we were encouraged to sit down and relax for a bit while enjoying the view. I did sit but I’m not sure I got completely into a zen state of mind. Every time an 18-wheeler drove across the bridge, the whole structure vibrated!
Being just a few steps beyond normal, I have a hard time focusing on what a tour guide is telling me. I am not an auditory learner and normally, in a situation like this, I’d be spending more time hoping my shoes didn’t fall off than listening to the guide. On this occasion, I actually found it interesting to learn about the expansion joints used in bridges. They are designed to withstand vibration and absorb the contraction and expansion of construction materials, something that happens as the temperature changes.
I’d love to walk across the top of the bridge but that’s only allowed on Bridge Day. I’m not going to say I’ll never attend the festival but it’s highly unlikely. I guess I don’t want to do it bad enough, right?