Welcome back all! This week Clark, Eyra and I decided to head to Columbus Junction, Iowa. Columbus Junction is about 90 miles due east of Pella. We chose this destination because what better way to celebrate a late Valentine’s day than to visit a site called Lover’s Leap Bridge.
This bridge was originally built in 1880 and was made from barrel staves and wire. This was soon determined to be unsafe, so it was replaced shortly after by a bridge built from wooden stilts. This bridge was then condemned also due to safety concerns (in 1902) and another “swinging” suspension bridge was built 2 years later and measured out to be 160 feet long. This iteration lasted much longer!
In 1920 two boys were on the swinging bridge when the boards gave out and they fell 8 stories to the rocky ravine below. Amazingly, the boys were unharmed but this called for yet another rebuild of the bridge.
In 1922 the present bridge was completed and spans 262 feet. As time has passed, the bridge has been refurbished many times including the biggest overhaul in 1954 when the steel cables were replaced as well as the floor boards.
But why is it called Lover’s Leap Bridge you may be asking yourself? As many of you may know, Iowa was home to many Native American tribes before it was a state, the Ioway tribe being one of the largest (hence the states name). Well the legend says that a beautiful young Ioway maiden heard news that her lover had perished in a battle. Grief stricken, she walked to the middle of the bridge and threw herself off, falling to her untimely death… legend also says that if you go to the bridge at night you can still hear her crying for her fallen lover.
What a neat history huh?? That’s what I said! And the reason I really wanted to go! So we packed up the car and headed east! We got there in about an hour and a half and were happy to be able to stretch our legs! It was a GORGEOUS day and all 3 of us only had to wear light jackets. We got Eyra into the backpack (there was no way I was going to let her run her cute butt down the wobbly bridge!) and headed to the entrance.
As we first stepped on the bridge, I was slightly disappointed, thinking to myself “this isn’t much of a swinging bridge.”. But boy did I judge too soon! As Clark and I walked, the swinging got more and more intense! I didn’t think I’d have to hold onto the rails, but sure enough I used them!! The midpoint of the bridge is definitely the scariest.
Overall, I thought this was a really cool trip! Although there was literally nothing else to do in the town (aside from a Bar/Grill and a little ice cream place) the bridge was worth the drive. We also got to meet a fellow adventurer named Karla! She is a budding photographer who, after sadly losing her husband, has decided to get out and see the world! Too many of us Americans live for the weekend, yet when the weekend comes, we just sit around and watch TV around the house. Karla has the same spirit that we do and we hope to get the opportunity to possibly travel with her some day!
Next week? You’ll have to wait and see!!