Welcome to Amy McPherson’s exciting story on her climb of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. She shares her impressions and gives us a glimpse of the beautiful views from above.
It isn’t the unflattering identical overalls, nor the bits and pieces strapped onto the hoops and loops on these overalls; nor watching the previous group being marched out in a line as if they were heading to a shooting squad. No, I am nervous because they said it was going to be the climb of my life. That’s a big call, and it’s going to be serious.
Welcome to the base of the ‘coat hanger’, the Sydney Harbor Bridge. She turned eighty this year, and my husband and I have joined Bridge Climb to spend three hours with the icon that linked two sides of the harbor, on which we are previously acquainted with spending hours of our adult life queued up in its traffic jams.
I am suited up, stripped of all my loose belongings, safety belts on, straps and hooks attached, raincoat and radio buckled; we are now waiting for my turn on the ‘simulator’. Left foot on, both arms out, right foot on; in such military precision, we practiced our step and safety precautions on a mock railing mimicking what we would do on the actual bridge.
Then, we tested our radios, ensured that we could hear our leader, and it was time.
Lined up in the tunnel, we could see the light on the other end. As each of us inched closer to the exit, it felt like we were about to take off as a parachute regiment. Let’s say you wouldn’t want to be afraid of heights.
A Little History
We listened to the stories of the bridge and the surrounding Rocks district as we inched our way towards the climb point from the climb headquarters. Between our feet and the mesh that is holding us up we can see ferries and yachts zigzagging through the sparkling blue waters of the harbor. There were people milling about, walking, jogging and getting married on the waters’ edge and helicopters hover above our heads taking tourists on scenic flights. Ascending the steep ladders we emerge between lanes seven and eight of the bridge traffic, and we wave at drivers and pedestrians en route to the main iron structures of the bridge. Weaving in and out of the iron works we could see how the bridge was put together and touch the nuts and bolts that hold this giant structure together.
Alas, the summit. I had been watching where I was going and had not looked up until now. I am greeted by a glorious sight; the harbor, stretching far on both sides of the bridge, is looking her best on this bright sunny day where I can see Cockatoo Island and Fort Denison equally clear. Below us, match box cars and buses drive through oblivious to our gaze and the entire city is animated as we watched from Sydney’s rooftop.
This is magical, and I am not surprised to hear that numerous marriage proposals and weddings have taken place right here on the summit. My husband, equally moved by this experience, glanced over with glittery eyes and whispered “maybe in five years’ time we could renew our vows here?”
The experience finished too quickly and we descend with a smile. The harbor bridge is currently undergoing re-painting works and where a fresh paint had been applied on its surface, it looked new and sturdy. On the way back home we glimpse back to the bridge once again, and how it majestically straddles the harbor, winking back at us.
Not bad for an 80 year-old.
Have you had a similar experience? Have you had the opportunity to walk on other high bridges around the world? Tell us your story! We would love to hear about it! Leave us a comment about your adventures high above…