Be More than a Spectator; Be Part of the Bridge Day Action
Bridge Day is all about action and adventure, and that’s not limited to BASE jump trained athletes. Anyone can get involved.
“To base jump off the New River Gorge Bridge was the most incredible thing I have ever done!” said Kathy Grossman, who won a chance to be part of Bridge Day in the tandem BASE jump contest. “My favorite part was the parachute ride, floating around the Gorge. The wet landing wasn’t too bad, either.”
Kathy was voted the winner of the video contest, which gives one person a chance to jump each year.
“Being part of the Bridge Day action was really cool. In years past, I was one of the crowd looking at the jumpers in admiration, this year the crowd looked at me.”
A limited number of tandem BASE jumps also go on sale each year from Vertical Visions. Usually only about 10 tandems are available, and they sell out quickly.
But you don’t have to BASE jump to be part of the Bridge Day action. Crista Bjornson was determined to get involved as more than a spectator this year, so she took the New River Gorge Bridge highline.
“To reach the high line, we took the catwalk beneath the bridge,” she said. “The view was fantastic, one you wouldn’t get from the ground or atop the bridge. If I weren’t so focused on the terror I was feeling clanging over the metal pathway, fantasizing about tripping over a rivet and falling under the railing to my death, I would have taken the time to enjoy the view more.”
Of course, highliners are strapped in and safe on the catwalk trek. So had she tripped, she would have been fine. But getting into the adrenaline rush of Bridge Day can still come with some fear.
“Walking out there is okay; it’s fine. The actual ride is fine,” said Jessi Kessler, on her way to zip into the Gorge for her third time. “But getting to that point where they’re saying, ‘ok, just act like you’re going to sit down and step off the ledge,’ you’re just like ‘ok… no.’ and then you just stop.”
Kessler has spent many years at Bridge Day, and this year, she shared the adventure and brought a friend along. Sarah White from Ohio was visiting on just the right weekend.
“I haven’t seen much of the festival yet,” she said, strapped into her harness. “Just drove past to get to here and get right to the zipline,” she said.
“The scariest part is stepping off,” Kessler assured her. “But when you finally go, it’s fine.”
She got involved in Bridge Day because she’s a thrill seeker herself. She has also been zip lining in other places in the Gorge, and whitewater rafting.
Many Bridge Day attendees take a rafting trip to get the view of the jumps from below. Sony gave other festival-goers a chance to take on the rapids, too, with their Action Cams to capture the excitement.
“I didn’t expect to come to Bridge Day and go rafting, but it was awesome to win the trip,” said John Rodgers, who got to take some friends on the Lower Gauley. “I’d been rafting, but the Lower Gauley is something else. It’s intense, which made it so much fun.”
How will you get involved in the Bridge Day action next year?