Sunday, November 9, 2008

Crossing Highest Bridge in Canon City, Colorado

I was working toward a business certification from the University of Colorado and had sometime in Colorado Springs. A minister friend of mine and I had discussed viewing parts of the area I had not seen on former visits, so I suggested we travel down to Canon City and see the highest single suspension bridge in the U.S. which was near there.

My friend and I decided to take the Tram across and walk back on the bridge. Boy! Was that ever a mistake? I was terrified on the ride and even more afraid during the walk back because you could see through cracks between each plank all the way back. At 1,100 feet I was sure I saw China once or twice. My friend is a rather large manly fellow and I admitted to him of my deathly fear and he invited me to hold to his arm until we got back to the other side. Honestly, I held on for a while until my composure had returned.

I suppose everyone has a fear of some type and I discovered on this day mine was of height. For you see this is the world's highest suspension bridge which was build June 5, 1929, and completed in November 1929 in a time when building was not to be compared with our time. In fact, the architect only used a slide rule, pencil and paper, for his guidance. This bridge is 1,260 feet long and is 18 feet wide as it spans 880 feet. The walkway is made of 1,292 planks of deck with about 250 are replaced annually. The original cost to build was $350,000 which would cost today about $20 million.

The tram is also the longest single-span Aerial Tram in the world and was built in 1968. It too cost $350,000 and is 2,200 feet long spanning the Arkansas River at a height of 1,178 feet with more than two miles of cables utilized in the tramway system. I didn’t know that is had wind-warning gauges working at all times keeping the tram from operating during severe weather or gusty winds. If you ask me it should have never left for the other side because the wind blew all the way.

Besides the worlds longest and highest, this area boasts of having the world's steepest Incline Railway. By now you would think I would not try anything else. But I did!

How did all this come to be? Well, two railroad companies were fighting for the right-of-way to bring gold down out of the mountains through the rugged Royal Gorge. Only one company could win – and to make sure they would, the Santa Fe Railroad hired Bat Masterson and his gang to defend their position while their men laid track along the edge of the Arkansas River.

It was an exciting day but I don’t plan to visit there again until I stop shaking.

“It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know?”
.-- Job 11:8

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