Last Monday Jeff had the day off work for Martin Luther King Day. The original plan was to head to Rochester for our annual abandoned subway adventures but at the last minute our friends weren’t able to make it. While we still have a lot of things to do around the apartment, we were both aching for an adventure. Somehow talk of Kinzua Bridge came up and we decided to drop Klaus off at my parents for the day, and take the three hour drive just to see a big pile of rust.
Kinzua Bridge is located in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. It was originally built in 1882, and billed as the “Eight Wonder of the World”. For two years it even held the record for tallest railroad bridge! In less than twenty years the bridge needed some serious updates to accommodate for the heavier weight of modern trains and the materials they were carrying. The bridge was rebuilt, and used on and off for quite a few more years. In 2002 all traffic on the bridge was halted due to the poor condition of important structural elements. (This is obviously a very brief history, if you’re interested in reading more there are tons of sites with the all the details a quick google search away!)
On July 21, 2003, a tornado struck the Kinzua Bridge causing eleven of the twenty towers to collapse. Instead of rebuilding, which would has cost approximately 45 million dollars, the state decided to turn it into a visitor attraction. In 2011 the Kinzua Sky Walk, a pedestrian walkway to an observation deck with a glass floor, opened.
I had actually visited the bridge back in 2012 (you can find some photos from that trip here!) but didn’t really do too much exploring around the area. We basically walked out to the observation deck, took a peek, and left. These days I’m a quite a bit different. I’m certainly not as lazy, and definitely more inclined to want to get a closer look at things. Needless to say, after checking everything out from above, Jeff and I hiked to the bottom to get a better look.
Unlike my first visit, where the park was jam packed with people, we were one of only two groups of people there. It was awesome! We hiked down the crazy steep hill which was pure agony to get back up after we were done, and wandered around the massive ruins. I took so many photos but ultimately was disappointed in what I shot. There is just no way to capture how incredible this all is to see in person, and how tiny you feel beside it. Seeing it from above it almost looks like a model but as soon as you start to get closer you realize just how big it all is. I think the photo above the one of the quarter puts it in perspective, at least a little bit, when you spot the tiny person in the right corner.
I was a little nervous about taking such a long drive just to take a few photos, and return home the same day but it ended up totally being worth it!