We were out the door by eight and didn’t return until five. We hiked, checked out a ghost town, droned on, but most importantly, we crossed the New River Bridge, by foot. As part of WV-19, traffic on the bridge is moving super-fast. So, we dropped down a level and walked the maintenance catwalk beneath the bridge. That still left us ~800 feet above the river. We were strapped into harnesses that were tied to a cable that ran the length of the bridge, plus the catwalk had handrails. Still, it was an unnerving sight when looking down. The bridge is almost a mile long. It was cold, in the thirties, with wind adding its chill to the mix. It even snowed while we were under the bridge. Cars and trucks rumbled overhead, shaking everything. They called those “good vibrations.” It took us about an hour to cross the bridge and we were pretty cold when we finished the walk. Afterwards, we took the twisty, winding one-lane road that descended to the river, crossed the old bridge and then climbed the opposite bank back up to the top. Before the new bridge was built in the seventies, this was the way one used to have to cross the river.
Last month Bridge Day was celebrated. On this one day out of the year, hundreds of people base jump from the bridge. Without a parachute, it would take them seven seconds to hit the water below. They have t wait a couple of seconds to clear the bride’s superstructure before they can pull their ripcord that leaves no time for error. In addition to space jumping, bungie jumping and rappelling are also done. Acrophobia? We don’t need no stinking acrophobia.