Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Train to Vancouver! (Fearless) 13

The experience of overcoming fear is extraordinarily delightful.
                Bertrand Arthur William Russel.

A shiver runs down my spine, my knees are weak; my hands are so sweaty I am afraid I will drop my camera. I cannot believe we decided to do this. There are many people on the bridge and I can see it swaying back and forth. The nice young woman on a loudspeaker bellows “Please No running or jumping on the bridge, Thank you.”  My legs are quivering it is a very long way down to the beautiful river below. M steps off of the platform and on to the swaying bridge holding tight to the railing. She has a look of terror on her face but she informs me later that was for the camera only, she was not afraid. I take some shots of her fear conquering moment. Now it is my turn, the lady beside me turns around and decides she cannot do this; her face is twisted into a look of horror and is pure white. Now my knees are really knocking I wonder if she had heard them banging together and that is what changed her mind? I step on to the Capilano Suspension Bridge with its 80m. (230ft.) drop and a span of 150m. (450 ft.). An incredible long spanning bridge atop a beautiful canyon and river and completely surrounded by surprisingly very old and very tall trees. Conquer your fears. I can do this.

We awoke early; we dressed in layers and headed out to the Vancouver Street. It was so quiet as compared to the busyness of last night; it appears everyone is still sleeping. We walk past a sign advertising $5 breakfast so how could we resist? During our nice leisurely breakfast we discuss the adventure ahead, we are excited yet a little nervous, hoping we would not “Chicken out.” We talked about our fantastic train ride and all the amazing people we met. We also agreed the bed with the fluffy pillows was perfect and we both had slept well. We bid the very friendly waitress goodbye and head the two blocks to the hotel where the free shuttle was to pick us up. This bus would take us to North Vancouver and the adventure we had dreaming about would begin. We met a very nice Mother and Daughter from Calgary while waiting, they like us, were going to Capilano for the very same reason; conquering a fear. The big bus pulls up and we board along with a multitude of other tourists. 

The drive was beautiful our very humorous driver jokes around and also points out all the sights we are passing. He explains the name and when and why each bridge was built; he tells us what the big mountains of yellow are beside the ships waiting to be loaded (it is sulphur). He points out and names every mountain and why it was called what it was. We cross the Lions Gate Bridge with Lions guarding the entrance on either side, I love this bridge. The views are incredible. We pull into the parking lot.

We get into the very long lineup for this $30 adventure I do hope I do not “Chicken Out.” At least the ride was free. We pass the billboard advertising The Cliff Walk I think if I make it across the bridge I will certainly try that. The thought of hanging on to a cliff hovering over a raging river makes me smile (you know I am kidding right?) This is going to be fun; GULP, I think.
We tour through the beautiful Red wood trees and read all about the history of the building of the bridge. We see massive pulleys that they used to get the bridge across the canyon. I think to myself these workers were very brave. My fears are calmed for a moment as I read how secure it is and how it was built and maintained. We admire the Totem poles and remnants of times long ago. I am now steps away from something I was dreading doing but really have to do. I am fearless!

I put my camera in my pocket, my sweating palms making me fear it slipping out of my hands and falling to the ground very far below. I step on to the Bridge following M, who at this time is several car lengths ahead of me. I close my eyes and hold tight to the railing, I then let go. The Bridge is really swaying now, someone runs past me, and I shiver; the announcer bellows “Please no running or jumping on the bridge, Thank You.” I open my eyes; I hesitantly peer over the side. It is incredible; the memories of climbing the tallest tree in the forest as a child and falling out landing on my head flood my mind; I am going to be OK my fear is subsiding. I have done it. I walk over to M we are both smiling. The view is so worth the fear, the $30 admission, the shaking knees and sweaty palms. We walk leisurely across the span of the bridge, I did not grab the railing once even though it was windy and swaying and the announcer’s voice kept bellowing. I stood in the middle, I wiped my hands on my pants and pulled out my camera I wrapped the strap around my wrist I peered over the side again, I was not afraid. I crossed to the other side.

We were now off to the Tree top houses at the top of the tallest most magnificent trees I have ever witnessed and that scary Cliff Walk I can do it all now. The only way back from this adventure is back across that magnificent Bridge over the canyon but I know now I have no reason to be afraid and I can do anything I put my mind too. I place my hand on a 400 year old tree; its beauty and its strength make me want to cry with excitement and accomplishment. It is so beautiful here.

I look below and there is "Mr.Berth Sleeper” and his family standing on a platform, we wave and smile, it had been a long journey on the train and we had shared many conversations. The Mother and Daughter from Calgary had also made it across and we all laughed and joked about how we would get back to the bus.



  1. A very wonderful post.

    I would climb trees as a child and reach the very top where the wind would blow and the top branches was sway with my small weight. Then I thought it was the excitement of the climb but years later I found I have a small fear of heights.

  2. YOU are a very brave woman! I could not have done that bridge. My heart was in my throat just reading about it. Good job! I also love redwoods!

  3. wow. exciting. daring. beautiful views.
    i've been on a couple of suspension bridges...but none were THAT high...or THAT long!! you did good!! :)

  4. Fear of heights is very common -- I think it's great that you were able to conquer yours!

  5. I'm terrified of heights...not sure if I would've been able to do that or not. But I'm glad you did! And glad you lived to tell us about it! :) :)

  6. People were told that the Titanic was very safe too. You did well.

  7. Great job going across the bridge up so high. Love M xoxoxox

  8. Hooray for YOU! Thirty dollars is quite an incentive to overcome one's fears. After the first swingy steps I kind of liked the adventure of that unusual bridge. But, like you, I loved the tree house best. Except for the days and days of rain I know I could live in a place like that and be pretty happy. Assuming, of course, it wasn't a tourist destination full of gawkers.

  9. Oh my goodness I was reading this and wondering did she do it!! Well done you!!!! I can imagine how great your experience was.

    I am scared of heights too - in fact we went to Paris about 15 years ago and I couldn't go up the Eiffel Tower. Nowadays I push myself to do things. You just miss out on so much in life if you let your fears get the better of you.

    Wonderful post (as usual) :))

  10. Congratulations! YAY! As I said yesterday, I could NEVER do that. Yes, I am afraid of heights but I I am also prone to motion sickness. Swings make me sick. Probably all in my head, but convince my stomach of that. :))

  11. Congrats to you! I am not sure I could have done that!

  12. Oh wow B... how cool was your post! That swaying would've made things feel so scary - so glad you did it.
    Over here we've been getting advertisements for package trips in the area you've just covered. They mentioned the Capilano bridge in particular and included footage of it... I wondered if you'd experienced and here you are posting about it. Wonderful!!
    What an incredible experience you and M have had. I'm thrilled that you have shared it in such an eloquent way too :D)


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