GATLINBURG, Tenn. — If not for Rebecca Sweet and Yvonne Thomas, I might have turned right around and gone back to the 3D bear fridge magnet that was calling my name back at the gift shop.
It's not an everyday thing, after all, to glance down and see the world unfurling like a vast charcuterie board made exclusively of broccoli and leafy greens beneath your feet. I suddenly felt myself to be a 20,000 ton female whose body wasn't just capable of breaking the glass holding me aloft, but of spiraling through the treetops to eventually pinball down the valley before landing in front of Ripley's Believe It or Not!
But of course none of that happened. The views over at Gatlinburg's new SkyBridge are spectacular and breathtaking in a way that makes you forget your body's newfound pinballing capabilities. The sights you'll see over at what's now North America's longest suspended pedestrian bridge are unlike anything else in Gatlinburg. It's also well constructed and officially a must-do if you're anywhere near town.
But if you're like me, you might have a few questions the first time across. Here's what to know so you too can transcend your fears and become a Treetop Vista Goddess yourself.
Q: Mmmk, so this thing looks pretty high. Is it safe?
A: Absolutely. The Skybridge is made mostly of wood - 129 cedar panels to be exact - and reinforced with hundreds of tons of concrete and steel to make it sturdy enough to walk on.
Q: I mean, high is arbitrary I guess. How high specifically are we talkin' here?
A: It's 150 feet at it's lowest point in the middle. It's also 680 ft. long - longer than two football fields.
Q: A lot of other families decided to mosey onto *my* bridge and it's starting to feel crowded. How many people can be on the bridge at one time?
A: 500 people, and that's not even the maximum. If every person on the bridge weighed 400 pounds it would still hold up.
Q: I'm out in the middle and now it's swaying. It's moving. Is it gonna fall?
A: No. It's designed to do that and won't knock you off your feet even if it does sway. Though you might want to hold on extra tight to your hat. The bridge closes to pedestrians when winds hit 30 MPH.
Reporter's note: It appears in the above video that I am running, which I am not. I am frolicking with permission. Please do not run across the bridge.
Fun fact: If you're out in the middle, you're 100 feet over the tops of those trees you're looking at!
Q: I just passed the three glass panels in the middle of the bridge and now I'm freaking out. Can I turn around and go back!
A: Absolutely! But there's no running on the bridge so be as calm as you can.
Q: I don't really feel like going all the way out on the bridge, but my family does. Is there anything to do while I wait?
A: Yes! You don't have to cross the bridge to take in some magnificent views. There's a gift shop and panoramic seating all throughout Skylift Park.
Q: Alright. My great-aunt just has to go on this thing and I want to buy tickets. How much does this cost?
A: For Adults 12-64 it costs $19.95. For Seniors it is $17.95. Juniors Age 4-11 it's $14.95. Children Age 3 and under get in for free.
In short, this is a fantastic and safe bucket-list adventure that you won't regret! The views let me transcend into the treetop wandering, non-GMO eating goddess I am today. Have any more questions about the bridge? Leave us a comment in the WBIR Channel 10 Facebook page!