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October 18, 2019

SUSPENDED IN NATURE

I recently went to Vancouver for a college reunion, and since we were reliving our younger years, we planned some adventure trips around the city and chose a famous tourist stop: the Capilano suspension bridge. It is a short drive from downtown Vancouver and best toured in the fall season as the weather is nippy but just comfortable. Our guide walked us over to the entrance and explained how long we would be there.

I was in awe as I stood admiring the tall trees and getting ready for our short tour briefing:15 minutes on the suspension bridge, 15 minutes on the treetops, 30 minutes on the Cliff Walk—and we just had 90 minutes at this tour stop. Could I do everything? But like an excited younger me, I quickly queued for the suspension bridge. Here goes, I tell myself. A few friends, I overheard, chose not to continue due to vertigo and other health issues, and just watched as we excitedly walked the span of about 100 meters across mountains.

This is the famed Capilano Suspension Bridge. As you try to take photos and pull out your mobile phone from your pocket, your knees shake and wobble, but you carry on. I must admit it was difficult doing a selfie so I settled for smiles towards my other friends a little farther down the bridge. The cables to hold on to are thick, cold and textured, so you cannot slide your hands for fear of scuffing your palms. You hold tightly at every meter of the cable until you get to the center to briefly stop and take in the view down below; and yes, try to take a photo of the trees, the brook, and the mountains.

The next adventure would be the Treetops Adventure, where like squirrels, you go from tree to tree—connected by shorter suspended walkways and stairs that go up and down to cover about 7-8 tall fir trees. At every stop, there are posters and signs about the different trees and animals you can find in the forest and how we can save them—to continue cleaning the air we breathe. That was fun, too. Now to go back on the Suspension bridge to get to the other side. There is no other way back to the entrance/exit but to go on the bridge again. Occasionally, a trooper voices out warnings not to shake the bridge, and to just keep walking to let others get on and cross. You also get a certificate saying “I made it!” at the end of the tour.

I am acrophobic and cannot look down stairwells so the next challenge was the Cliffwalk where you scale the sides of a mountain, but on a ledge that goes around it, going up and down. It is very child-friendly though as the fence is tall enough to keep kids safe while affording taller adults the views of the forest from up above. There is a photo stop at every junction, so one can safely pose or take a selfie or group shot while allowing others to pass by and proceed.

We really feel like we scaled the mountainside, albeit safely, and not by rappelling, which I cannot imagine doing…yet. Maybe I never will. But this is easy, I thought, and asked my two friends (Ida and Sunny) to come with me. Well, we got to take each other’s photos and survived all three attractions, sticking together and making sure we did not scare each other, also telling each other we could do it.

Scaling mountains and staying suspended in the arms of Nature is a good way to celebrate friendship. It’s also rebuilding trust and faith in each other, even if you think the treks look simple. The reassuring feeling that you have company just makes it so much easier.

This is one nature trip in a short hour or two that you should not miss. It is sustainable tourism-certified, safe, and fun too.

You can buy tickets ahead of time. Log on to www.capbridge.com.

 

 

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