I attended my second Bridge Day this year as part of the official video crew (Ben does AMAZING work. Check it out at http://www.jump-cuts.com/ ). (I also have to give props to Ben's wife, Meredith, and Heather who spent countless hours at the booth selling the photos. Combined with Alex, Rob, & Mark who also braved the weather to get shots of ALL of the jumpers, the video staff/crew are an amazing group of people.) I was there taking photos for Ben (for the DVD) & for my own personal use. (There was another group there for the "official" photos so I wasn't there taking any for sale purposes.)
You can learn more about Bridge Day - the largest extreme sports event in the world - at http://www.officialbridgeday.com/ . While there are other events going on, the main focus is on BASE jumpers who parachute from the 876 ft. high bridge. This is the only day of the year that jumping is legal - the event generally lasts from 9am to 3pm. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Bridge Day.
This year was extreme by many measures...including the weather. It was in the 30's (high right around 42 degrees F), rainy (mainly misty but sometimes heavier), and even a bit of snow mixed in. It was cold, wet, and muddy...but it couldn't dampen the spirits of those adventurers who are exploring their lives in thrilling ways and those who enjoy soaking up the energy as spectators!
(And just to answer any questions that may come - no, I do not base jump. I have done skydiving and hope to at least do a few more jumps someday...but base jumping scares the crap out of me.)
I was quite fortunate this year - not only did the video crew obtain a rare and very valuable pass to allow a car down to the landing area (generally you take a bus down & up) but I also got a jacket that allowed me basically free-range of the landing area to get awesome opportunities for photos. I took several both from the landing area and from the bridge.
Being on my own for most of the day allowed a great deal of opportunity for thought..and trust me, I had some deep ones. Combine that with my favorite parts of the trip - the 7.5 hour drive each way - and I have some doozies to share! (I actually left after dropping off our son at the bus at 8:30 a.m. on Friday. I arrived in WV at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, woke at 6 a.m. on Saturday, worked Bridge Day, then left WV at 6:00 p.m. to arrive home around 1 a.m. on Sunday morning. WHEE!) Those will have to wait until I'm caught up on more sleep, though. For now...
I haven't sorted through all of my photos but here are a few to give you an idea of the day:
From the bridge - jumping! (I believe there were somewhere around 850 jumps this year)
There were several water landings (the actual landing area on the side of the river is a bit small...these are well experienced jumpers!). I feel quite sorry for those who endured the cold temps...only to end up wet and even colder. There are several rescue boats stationed in the river who get to the jumpers within seconds to help them out of the water...the staff of Bridge Day are AMAZING.
A photo of the bridge that encompasses the feeling of the weather of the day!
The bridge (taken from a much shorter bridge further down the river). The trees & the entire scene was truly breath-taking.
My feelings about (me) jumping.
(Nice official jacket, eh? This is me with FIVE layers on. I wasn't going for looks that day. Sadly, I lost that hat sometime during the afternoon and remained a bit cold after that.)
More thoughts & possibly photos to come! Hope you enjoyed your weekend as well...