Bridge Day Firsts for 2009

What it's all about. I've been living in West Virginia for a while.  I'm not from here, but I got here as soon as I could.

So I've adopted a lot of the state's traditions as my own.  I hunt and fish.  I'm a big time college football fa.  I eat ramps.

I also do a lot of whitewater rafting.  Well, I did.  Before I started writing, I was a full time, dyed-in-the-rubber raft guide.  That's how I came to WV in the first place.

As a guide, I had my share of Bridge Days.  But, for each and every one, I was down on the river.  Under the bridge itself.

So this year, my role was a bit different.  I shot video.  I did interviews.  I took notes.

Which means, everything this year, for me, was a first.  I had the access, knew the people, and covered the terrain that makes Bridge Day Run. For the first time.

I love firsts.

For instance, it was the first time I've been under the bridge.  Let me clarify:  it was the first time I've been right under the bridge.  Like, up in the girders, around the arch, on the catwalk.

I thought I'd be scared.  Usually, I've got this thing about heights.  But that wasn't the case at all.  Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was out there with the Bridge Day Rappel Safety Crew.  Totally professional and super friendly, they made my first trip on the catwalk a thrill.  It was exciting, not scary at all.

It happened to be the first time I'd ever left the bridge via rope.  No, I didn't rappel- I didn't have enough experience for something like Bridge Day.  But I did get on the High Line.  It was a rush, over before it began.  I could have made laps.

Also, it was the first time I ever had the chance to ride along for a river rescue on a BASE jumper.  Now that, I could have done all day.  We've said that they are the most experienced river rescue guys for this type of work, and they proved it.  I saw at least 10 water landings, and was up close and personal in two of them.  Let's just say this-  even for a first timer, it was easy to tell that these guys are the real deal.

Oh, and it was my first time BASE jumping.

Not really.  But maybe next year.

How about you?  Any firsts in your Bridge Day?