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In the summer of 2018, Colorado Springs is a place I would have loved to visit. I searched for weeks attempting to find a place to stay. I looked on Airbnb, checked hotels, and even looked for cabins at campgrounds to stay in without any luck.
I was ready to give up, but, Justin had a different idea. He didn’t think it was possible, for an entire city to be booked. He thought it would be a good idea to drive into the city without anything reserved to find a place that way.
Well, guess what? We didn’t find a thing. We ended up exploring different areas of Colorado, which was disappointing at the time because there were several attractions I had my eye on in that specific area.
High on that list was The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. I was fascinated with the idea of walking across the highest suspension bridge in the United States. The only thing between us and the Arkansas River 955ft below being wooden planks.
Sounds thrilling, right?
Luckily, things worked out a bit differently this year, and I finally had my chance to walk across this massive gorge.
The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park isn’t actually located in Colorado Springs. It’s roughly an hours drive away in Canon City. It was built in 1929, by Lon B. Piper as a way to allow people like us to have a thrilling experience while visiting the gorge.
Believe it or not, though, The first thing we did once we arrived at the park wasn’t walking across the bridge. When we were picking up our tickets to enter the park one of the park attendants informed us that we should ride the gondolas (included in general admission) first because if it gets too windy which is common in the afternoon, they will close them down.
While standing in line watching the people ahead of us glide 2,200 feet across the gorge, Mackenzie noticed that the gondolas used the pulley system. She was excited to see this system working in real-life experiences rather than in her science lessons. She continued to ask several questions while standing in line. She wanted to know where the wind came from, If the pulley system failed, would we survive the fall, into the river below?
I think the big question she was asking herself, is if it was safe for her to ride this gondola, but once she got inside, she couldn’t have been more excited.
Afterward, we decided to sit back and watch people get flung on the Royal Rush Skycoaster and zoom across the gorge on the Zip Lines. It was entertaining listening to their screams. Sadly our kids were a bit too young to give it a try.
We then headed over to Tommy Knocker’s Playland to allow the kids to burn off some energy. It’s a three-story playground with 20-foot towers, ropes, slides, nets, and tunnels. If you don’t mind your kids getting wet or are feeling hungry, they also have a splash pad, and a Dippin dots stand.
We decided to hang out at the playground and ride the merry-go-round. I might have looked a looked silly to the grown-ups around us but, it sure did put a smile on my baby girls face.
Next up was crossing the mighty bridge. Xavier was the first one to step foot onto the wooden planks. He wasn’t a bit scared. He just lollipoped around like it was no big deal. Mackenzie was a bit more leery but, after a couple of steps, was good to go.
Other than the couple of creeks we heard under our feet, we felt safe. The wind didn’t seem to budge the bridge a bit, and everything seemed secure.
Walking across did get Mackenzie asking questions again. She wanted to know how this bridge was built and about a million other things. I would have been more than happy to help her research her questions once we got home but, I didn’t need to, there were signs covering just about every question she asked along the way, plus more.
Below are a few of her questions and the answers to them.
How Did They Build Across The Gorge?
First, two towers and anchor trenches were built on each side of the bridge by two different work crews, each working their side in 1929. A half-inch steel cable was lowered on each side of the gorge, then spliced together at the bottom and pulled up. From this wire stretched one side to the other, trolley cables were added and 4200 strands of number 9 galvanized steel wires were pulled across to make two cables weighing over 300 tons.
What's So Royal About The Bridge?
The amazing chasm was originally known as the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas River. Local Newspapermen Henry Ripley began to call the canyon the Royal Gorge in print in 1847. Both a photographer from Utah and a Methodist Minister from New York have been credited with suggesting the new name to Ripley. Regardless of whose idea it was, the name stuck, and by the lat 1870, ‘s the Royal Gorge was the most commonly known label for this rather royal gorge..
Is This A Canyon or A Gorge?
A gorge is narrower at the bottom than a canyon and usually has a river running through it. A canyon is generally as wide at the top as it is at the bottom. But to be fair both are used interchangeably to describe these awesome geological formations.
Xavier didn’t ask nearly as many questions as Mackenzie. He was more fascinated by the different world records set at specific spots along the bridge.
The two spots that I remember are where Ken Fuller set the record for free rappel and where David Kirke made his bungee rope jump for ABC’s. TV’s “That’s Incredible.”
Once we completed our walk across the bridge, our day was complete. Although we still weren’t ready to head home. We decided to sit around for a while and enjoy the scenery.
It truly is one of the most gorgeous spots in all of Colorado.
Have you been to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park? If so we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.
“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” “There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.” “The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.” “Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things.“
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