by Larry Blanken
Vancouver is full of things to do, particularly for nature lovers. Of course, if you want to take in the serene landscapes and get your heart pumping at the same time, the Capilano Suspension Bridge will do it for you. Here you can enjoy the peaceful Canadian wilderness from a vantage point 23 stories above the Capilano River that sways and wobbles under your feet. If you don’t like heights or dislike high suspension bridges in particular, you will certainly hate this, but I encourage everyone visiting Vancouver to buck up and try it.
Built back in 1889, this is Vancouver’s oldest and most popular tourist attraction. So, why have people been coming here for over 120 years to walk a rickety foot bridge 226 feet in the air and have the wits scared out of them? Well, I suppose it's similar to the reasons we ride roller coasters, go skydiving or swim with sharks. It's the concept of being able to experience a perceived danger in an environment of relative safety.
In other words, it’s definitely scary, but you’re pretty sure you’re not going to die. This is the world's longest foot suspension bridge, at 443 feet, but it looks a mile long when you start to walk across it. However, after a few minutes, when you’ve convinced yourself you won’t be plunging to your death into the canyon below, it truly becomes quite pleasant.
The Capilano Bridge is located in the 20-acre Capilano River Park, just outside Vancouver. There really is no better way to view the picturesque woodlands than from the bridge. Here you can see the immense evergreen forest in a way that normally only a bird might be able to. Even though you are hundreds of feet above the water, you can often see huge Canadian salmon swimming in the river.
The park has several other features, including nature exhibits, totem pole collections and a treetop tour with smaller bridges attached to giant tree trunks only 80 feet above the forest floor. But, don’t chicken out and skip the big one. It’s a simple thrill and you may only want to do it once, but you will certainly remember it forever.