Ever Wonder What Happens Under the Bridge?
Ever live in an apartment where you can hear the folks which live down below? You can often hear them, but you have no idea what they are doing down there. Same thing happens right here on the Bridge. Most associate Bridge Day with the vendors, the views and of course the jumpers.
However, there is an entire army of rappellers under the Bridge, doing some very exciting things.
Thursday For Benjy Simpson, entering his 19th year as Bridge Day Rappel co-coordinator, the preparation for Bridge Day begins on Thursday. Known, respectfully as the "Troll Beneath the Bridge", Benjy organizes and manages nearly all aspects of the "under the bridge" portion of Bridge Day. It's quite the responsibility and there is no one better for the job.
Carefully he and his team (holla' XTR!) rig ropes and braces using knowledge, surgical precision and a variety of knots and attachments.
They prepare the locations for the teams to skillfully slide down rope more than 800 feet.
Continued rigging and preparation of Bridge Day highline. Checking, double checking and checking again. It's an amazing site to watch this aspect of preparation and watching the team maneuver across beams and perched precariously some 850' above the river below is enough to make you dizzy. Really dizzy.
Saturday It's time to play. Safe. The legions of rappellers, comprising the teams selected via lottery, scurry below the deck of the bridge to prepare for the day. Most try to make as many trips as possible. It is a unique opportunity.
On Saturday at 8:30 am, before the Bridge is open to the general public, a series of flags is raised by a team ascending one of the lines. An United States Flag, a West Virginia flag and a National Park Service Flag all are raised to celebrate the start of the day. At 3 pm, they are lowered signifying the conclusion of another Bridge Day.
While all the action above and on the Bridge is fun and exciting, there is also plenty going on below.