by Joan Larsen
First things first: nobody has fallen off this scary looking bridge. . . and it is the only way to get to the other side as you are here to climb Mt. Nimbus – that gorgeous peak rising like a point just ahead. The Canadian Rockies – in the western part of the country – are extraordinarily beautiful, really not that far from home if you live in the United States or Canada – and the most unforgettable places to go with your family in these lesser economic times. The lines and admission fees are almost nil, the crowds are gone, and you will want to return.
My young family went to the Bugaboo Mountains in British Columbia last summer. . . and above you can see the youngest, Sydney, crossing the suspension bridge that lies between two spires rising 2000 feet above the valley floor. A metal wire, not seen but connecting her with the bridge keeps her safe. No one has fallen!
Again, as she and her brothers climb Mt. Nimbus, they are connected by snapped in wire for safety as this mountain is almost vertical . . . and easily found themselves sitting together at the very top, feeling like they have conquered the world.
Indeed they had. A week to be remembered forever.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, resting on the edge of the vast Pacific Ocean, has it all. Year-round great climate, endless numbers of things to see and do – and yes, it is another of my homes away from home. But its number one attraction – of so many – is Capilano Suspension Bridge (above), located in a dazzling rainforest with such beauty and wooded attractions that a whole day – with family or alone – can be spent so easily.
The Capilano bridge is not nearly so high – only 230 feet above the river – and the walk across is thrilling and a little rocky, attracting more than 800,000 people a year. No one falls, no one screams, but there is silence as we stand silently and walk across, totally in awe of our surroundings.
On the far side are trails, nature tours, totem poles rarely seen these days, and a newly designed and wonderful Cliff Walk and Treetops Adventures that are wonderfully scary – but totally irresistible – well, to some of us!!
Ireland is such a popular tourist destination – a country small enough to see it all in a single trip. So those who have raved about Ireland, know that Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in northern Ireland (above) is one of the top 10 of the spectacular bridges of the world as well. Originally erected by fishermen who went to the island to catch salmon, the original bridge had a single handrail. But now – you will be happy to know – the National Trust has replaced that scary old bridge with a sturdier structure with two handrails, suspended nearly 100 feet above the rocks below. Very doable – but somehow, most people come away saying it is quite memorable (and a bit scary) as well.
You’re going to Paris this year? Then, I am suggesting a side trip that will have your travelling friends in awe. It is close by really . . . in the French Alps — which are gorgeous. You can find Chamonix – and must – as it is a dream. The mountain and the bridge are both called Aiguille du Midi (above). How to get there? An unforgettable 20 minutes in an enclosed cable car that climbs 9,200 vertical feet in 20 minutes – as you stand, just blown away by the scenery outside the windows.
Can you believe this sturdy bridge being so beautiful? And then, after you cross that bridge, just imagine sipping drinks on the outdoor sunny terrace to the right, with the best close-up views of Mt. Blanc that can be seen. You’ll find yourself just plain relaxing, drifting with the “blow-your-mind” scenery at 12,650 feet up. Totally unforgettable.
The newest mountain bridge in the world – in Switzerland – is so new that I have yet to get there. But below is the first YouTube of Swiss watchmaker’s Tissot Bridge, an OMG precision structure that I, for one, am not going to miss. But like all things Swiss, it is obviously “built to last”! Wait until you see its video below!
A final bridge – one that we will probably never see – but I consider it the most amazing bridge with the most incredible story of a bridge I have ever seen filmed.
The story first: Most bridges are built to last (or so we hope!). . . but not the grass bridges of Peru. In a tradition that dates back to the Incan Empire, the bridges are woven out of native grass, cut down every year, and replaced with a freshly woven version – for good reason. The bridge looks flimsy – and that is for sure. But way back in history, Spanish conquistadors rode their horses across, dragging cannons over the larger ones. There used to be many such bridges. But now there is only one, at Huinchiri, four hours south of Cusco, Peru, and tourists will probably not get there.
The one at Huinchiri may look a bit flimsy as you watch the short video, but is extremely strong. . and the building of it is a sight to behold. You will find the little YouTube hard to get out of your mind!
Life is either a daring adventure . . .
or nothing at all.
Writer Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime searching for the most remote places on Earth. But it is the polar regions of our world that she has been drawn back to again and again. She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home.”