If You Dare

photo: Kimberly Monique Nicole

Some say it’s the coolest place you should never go. My former high school classmates know it well—the Vance Creek Bridge. 

Back in our day it was still relatively safe—if by safe you mean a railroad bridge without any railings, perched nearly 350’ above jagged rocks. 

Shortly after we graduated, logging companies stopped using the bridge, but not the local teens.

Photo: Rootsrated.com

It’s the second highest railway bridge in the United States. Built in 1929, Vance Creek is listed on the National Historic Register, but it hasn’t been truly maintained in decades. 

Thrill-seekers walking across the 600’ span must wonder if their weight will crumble the rotting beams beneath their feet.

It’s so high that the wind can block the sound of the water far below. It’s the place of double-dog dares, but no place to go if you’ve had one too many beers.

Photo: Kimberly Monique Nicole

Thanks to social media and scary cell phone pictures, the Vance Creek Bridge is no longer a local hangout. 

Extreme sports enthusiasts world-wide have ventured through the woods to trek across the aging timbers. YouTube videos document Hollywood-worthy stunts that would make most of us cringe.

 Vance Creek Bridge in the early days

The current bridge owners, Green Diamond Resource Company, discourage trespassers with a locked gated and large warning signs, and the local sheriff routinely hands out tickets to offenders. But once you make it across the Vance Creek Bridge, being handed a ticket is merely the price of admission for an unforgettable thrill.

Rumor has it that a bungee jumping company may purchase the bridge. Now that would make an interesting activity for my 40th high school class reunion.

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