This Long, Swinging Bridge is Hiding in the Woods of Iowa
I am petrified of heights. My legs get weak if I look over the edge of a two or three story parking garage. I've never been one to put myself in situations that involve heights nor did I ever think I'd be one to cross a swinging bridge in the middle of the woods.
But it's once again another credit to my wonderful, inspiring girlfriend that I walked across said bridge not once but twice. Not without some sweat and choice words while doing it, however, I might add.
On the way to my girlfriend's hometown this weekend, we had a brief layover in Columbus Junction, IA. She had told me about a "Lover's Leap" bridge that existed in the woods of this quaint little town. I napped until we arrived at what I thought would serve as a key location in my forthcoming obituary.
I kid, to a certain extent. But I don't kid about my serious fear of heights. Either way, Swinging Bridge Park in Columbus Junction was calling and we answered it.
Swinging Bridge Park has history dating back to 1886 when the bridge was first erected. After being condemned in 1902, the bridge was rebuilt as a 160-foot-long connecting point between two distant areas of the forest. The current bridge, erected in 1922, stretches 262 feet and is made of wood slats and steel cables.
Having now walked across it twice, I can confirm that the bridge lives up to its name. The bridge sways uneasily as you walk across, and I'd guesstimate that the ravine beneath is probably 60-to-80 feet down. My girlfriend admittedly had to convince me to be brave enough to walk across it. Holding her hand, sweating, and infrequently cursing along the way, I made it. But not without an elevated heart-rate.
The bridge is also colloquially and locally known as the "Lover's Leap Bridge," due to an old legend reiterated by "Only in Your State:"
Legend tells of a lovesick Native American maiden who leaped to her death here in this gorge, thus earning the bridge its nickname of "Lovers Leap."
On the opposite side of the Swinging Bridge Park is a little enclosed garden as well as some additional signage contextualizing the bridge's history. If you're passing through the greater state of Iowa, it's worth a stop if for nothing else than to take in the bridge's beauty. Although for those fearful of heights like myself, looking is probably best recommended!
Swinging Bridge Park is located at 303 Oak Street in Columbus Junction, IA. Read more about Swinging Bridge Park on the website Only in Your State.