SUSPENDED OVER A RAGING RIVER ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON
CROSSING THE RANNEY GORGE SUSPENSION BRIDGE
Here’s the thing. I’m kind of a little afraid of heights. So when Sara suggested we should go check out the Ranney Gorge Suspension bridge, I agreed, while my heart secretly jumped into my throat.
On the day we went, it was sunny and warm. Sara and I met at the parking lot on the west side of Ranney Gorge, just south of Campbellford. As we headed onto the bridge, my anxiety began to build, but it was slightly tempered by the sight of two elderly ladies, casually chatting and laughing as they walked across the bridge ahead of me. And so, trying to look casual, I headed out onto the bridge with Sara beside me. But about 20 feet onto the bridge, and 10 feet past the lip of the gorge, my fear of heights kicked in, my heart dropped into my stomach and I began to get dizzy from fear. Thankfully, as I gripped onto the sturdy metal handrails for dear life, I was able to slowly (and slightly less casually) continue my crossing, while Sara laughed at me. The 300 foot long span of bridge can seem quite a distance when you are terrified. Looking down, through the grilled walking surface of the bridge, I could see the Trent River raging through the gorge 30 feet below me. With the intense and frequent rains we have had this Spring, the river was flowing swiftly.
However, as we got about the to halfway point of the bridge, my fear gave way to awe of the spectacular views from the middle of the bridge. To the north, towards Campbellford, we had a great view of the Ranney Falls, with water foaming and frothing as it tumbled over the rocks. To the south, we were able to follow to course of the gorge as curves down the Trent river. Beautiful trees line the banks of the river. From the centre of the bridge, we were also able to see the stone walls of the gorge itself, with water trickling through them and falling in little waterfalls, and turtles sunning themselves on the rocks along the shoreline below.
At the far end of the bridge, across the gorge, is Ferris Provinicial Park. It has camping sites and a playground, but it is also connected to the TransCanada trail, so once we made it across the bridge (back on terra firma!), we went for a little hike along the edge of the gorge before turning back.
On the way back, I was less afraid, but definitely still uneasy. Naturally, when we were in the middle of the bridge again, my dear friend Sara, so caring and thoughtful, decided to start jumping up and down on the bridge to make it sway in order to freak me out. So I pushed her off the bridge. In my mind. In reality, I believe I cursed at her, then gently asked her to stop through gritted teeth, while I clutched at the 4 foot high fenced railing in a feeble attempt to feel like I was on solid ground.
At long last I arrived at the other end, slightly frazzled, and slightly sweaty. I had conquered the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge and I had survived (no thanks to Sara). It was thrilling, and it was beautiful, and despite my fear of heights, I will absolutely go back and do it again. Just not with Sara.