Capilano Anxiety Bridge

I’ve had this *thing* about suspension bridges for a really long time. When I was around 8 or 9 years old, I had a complete and total meltdown over crossing one. Like, nuclear meltdown, then and there in the woods. Here’s the thing: they have never scared me before. But this one triggered something I’d never experienced before.


As an adult, I now know I was having my first full-blown panic attack. That something the bridge triggered was anxiety. It creeps in in weird ways and places. It would hit skiing, but never in the same place or conditions. It actually hit me on an icy pitch at Whiteface a few seasons ago, following a spectacular crash earlier that season, and it took my boyfriend and 2 ski instructors to talk me down the mountain.

So, when I had a few hours to kill between buses and trains and planes in Vancouver, I decided to get super touristy and take the shuttle bus to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. I had been hiking for 2 weeks in the Rockies and the Pacific Northwest, and was flying home for a hiking/camping trip on the East Coast; I just needed an easy day, physically.

Capilano Suspension Bridge and nearby Grouse Mountain both run free shuttle buses from downtown Vancouver’s Canada Place (where the cruise ships dock) to both attractions, so it’s easy to get to without a car. You can opt for public transit, as well. There’s even a water taxi you can take as part of that route. But like I said, I was done. So, I took the free shuttle bus.



I needed to face down that nagging fear. I had a frozen moment on the bridge at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola a few summers back, but made it across (and back), but I wanted to test myself with a longer, taller bridge, so Capilano it was.

It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t scary. I was fine. Which was a bit of a let down, because I had come to overcome something.

I overcame the crowds and hordes of selfie sticks, so I guess that counts for something.

It’s taken me years scouring the internet, but I found the site of the original suspension bridge meltdown. Nancy Island Historic Site, near Wasaga Beach. There are even pictures, although the bridge has definitely been rebuilt since I lost my shit on it.

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