Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Traveling the Road of Curiosity

"Curiosity starts with the itch to explore"
                                 ~ Ian Leslie

I had already driven past the large wooden sign once. As I drove past, I could feel the strong tug of curiosity, I circled back. Now I was staring the sign in the face for the second time, and I was still prepared to turn my back on it and drive away.

"We spend our entire lives at the entrance of a cave, caught between the safety of the familiar and the yearning for novelty."
                                                                                ~ Ian Leslie 
 The sign pointed the way to The Kinzua Bridge State Park, four miles away. The yearning novelty of a bridge to photograph, or the safety of a paved, two lane highway headed towards my end destination, home. The yearning for discovery was very strong. What held yearning back was the fear of disappointment. More than once I have followed a sign that held the promise of great adventure or spectacular sights; a sweeping high bluff above a rocky shore, a lighthouse in the near distance or cascading wooden stairs going down to the perfect sandy beach. Instead I would find a playground filled with run-down playground equipment perched on a small spit of grass on top of the rocky bluff, no cascading wooden stairs to the sandy shore, only large amounts of trash stuck in every  crevice on the rocks below. I knew disappointment. 


Yearning speaks "They wouldn't name a State Park after a bridge if it wasn't something." Disappointment counters "It might just be a rickety wooden bridge in the middle of the forest, spanning a dried up creek." Yearning having grown tired of this internal debate, speaks loudly and clearly "TURN RIGHT". I began the four mile drive down the paved country road.


I had left my rental cabin early that morning. I had spent almost a week photographing blazing Pennsylvania fall foliage. It had been three hours since my departure from the cabin and I was ready to get out of the car for a while to stretch my legs, and satisfy my yearning for a photograph or two. I had already passed many splendid country landscapes dotted with the most eye-catching wooden structures that morning, but without the time or the space to pull my car to the side and get a few shots with my camera, yearning was restless.  

"Choosing to be curious is choosing to be vulnerable because it requires us to surrender to uncertainty."
                                                                              ~Brene Brown 

Once I reached the entrance to the state park, the fear of disappointment reared it's ugly head again. The entrance was a muddy, rutty gravel mess. What possible good could be down a road like this? As I neared the parking area, there was more mud, along with high metal construction fences, construction workers and no sign of this supposed bridge. It couldn't be that big or that exciting if I couldn't even see it. But, I was this far already, I might as well follow curiosity all the way to the end. 


Porta Potties that served as the restrooms lined one edge of the field. Sometimes you have to take what you can get, at least it wasn't a hot and humid day. Once safely out of the porta potties, I noticed the white paper signs taped to the high, metal construction fences - Bridge Skywalk - and an arrow pointing left.

I followed those white paper signs right to the most awe-inspiring sight...


The Kinzua Bridge was constructed by 125 men in a mere 94 days. The Kinzua Bridge was the longest, and tallest viaduct in the world when completed in 1882.


Standing 301 feet tall (24 feet higher than the Brooklyn Bridge) and 2,053 feet long, the span was billed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World".



On Monday, July 21, 2003, at approximately 3:15 p.m., a F1 tornado (wind speed 73-112 mph) struck the side of the Kinzua Viaduct. Eleven towers from the center of the bridge were torn from their concrete bases and thrown to the valley floor.



Today, park visitors can once again walk a portion of the Kinzua Bridge. Built on six restored, original towers, a pedestrian walkway (skywalk) leads to a 225-foot high observation deck that gives a towering view of the Kinzua Creek Valley. 



I am so glad that I chose to listen to the yearning voice of curiosity, that I chose to be vulnerable and risk disappointment. I know that there will still be times of disappointment when I chose to follow a large wooden sign, but there will also be times of unmeasurable joy.


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18 comments:

  1. This is stunning! My breath was taken away the moment your shot of the bridge appeared.
    And I know exactly what you are talking about - should I go or should I stay? You, my friend, were not disappointed in following your inner voice this time.

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  2. Oh my goodness Sarah, this is absolutely stunning! Often we set ourselves up for disappointment and are speechless when we are proven wrong. This is an absolute treat to find and the view is spectacular. A true wonder of the world. xx

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  3. I love the way you make the most of your journey. I tend to single-mindedly aim for my destination and just keep going until I get there. I do see things along the way that look interesting and arouse my curiosity, but I think fear and uncertainty hold me back. What a wonderful side trip this was! I'm so glad you took it, and that you took us along with you!

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  4. What a treasure and such a great reward for your perseverance! And I commend you for going out on the bridge. I don't think I could have with my fear of heights.

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  5. Wow! what a great find! Always worth the effort to investigate, and glad that you turned right!

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  6. Did you do any research or was it a complete surprise? I guess you know that about me already. It is great that you are putting some history with that. Very nice!

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  7. Thank you for sharing. Stunning pictures. I can't believe you could look over the edge of the bridge and take the picture looking straight down. I'm petrified of heights.

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  8. i just love all your adventures!!

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  9. You certainly made the right choice this time and ended up with a great adventure. That is some bridge; I can't image they built it so quickly that long ago.....

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  10. Wow, a curiosity winner . . .
    Really great photos!

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  11. Oh my, Sarah! What an amazing adventure! I know the first sight of the bridge made you breathless! It certainly did me! You did a wonderful job capturing the depth of the valley and the height of the bridge. The only thing that could have been better was if the bridge wasn't damaged and a train was rumbling across! We'll just have to use our imagination for that!

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  12. Sarah, I had to come back and leave you this quote I just came across...
    To be wise is to be eternally curious.”
    ― Frederick Buechner

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  13. Man that bridge is totally awesome and amazing. - Your post caught my attention because when I was born we actually lived in a logging town in Oregon called, Kinzua - It doesn't exist anymore. I looked it up on Wikepdia just now and was surprised to learn it was named for the Kinzua Township in Pennsylvania. (Small World). Here is the link if you want to check it out. -
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinzua,_Oregon

    May I also say that last shot made me feel a bit dizzy, don't think I would climb that tower.

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  14. Oh my! What an amazing bridge, and story. Definitely worth the drive.

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  15. The last picture actually caught my stomach. Wow! What a great adventure. I can understand your worry about going on a 'wild goose chase'. There must be some mathematical ratio for how many disappointing photo destinations we find to how many wonderful photo destinations we find. I think we need to see the not-so-great to truly appreciate the great ones. You found a great one here. :)

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  16. Wow, what a find. I think I will have to put that on my list for next time we head to northern pa.

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  17. What a treasure - the muddy road would have appealed to me - the shot down the side of the bridge, not as much. Wonderful post and pictures.

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  18. Loved your picture of the Kinzua Bridge. I live in Bradford, Pa not far from the bridge. It's nice to know that it is appreciated by photographers.

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Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)