NORTH CAROLINA (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – If you are ever up on the Blue Rudge Parkway in Avery County, you can make a brief detour to Grandfather Mountain and a site that’s been a big attraction for generations.
A bridge that, a mile up, people flock to.
“Just to have that view and watch the storm come in while we’re on the bridge is awesome,” said Tami Booth, who came to see the view after seeing a story about it on Queen City News.
On a clear day, you can see nearly 90 miles away, getting a glimpse of the Charlotte skyline.
Booth, however, did not get to see Charlotte, but she did see something else.
“The fact that you are at eye level with the clouds coming in was really cool,” she said. “It reminded me of being up in an airplane, to an extent, except you’re getting the actual wind and eventually the rain from it.”
The bridge is the highest suspension bridge in the United States.
Photographer Hugh Morton inherited the land that is now Grandfather Mountain and sought to make it a nature preserve and attraction.
Morton, however, also dreamed of building a bridge between two peaks a couple of hundred feet apart.
On September 2, 1952, the Mile High Swinging Bridge opened; it’s remained open since the mountain became a state park.
The bridge is up at 5,282 feet of elevation (5,280 feet equals one mile), but it is only 90 feet off the ground.
“We’ve had two bridges up here,” said John Caveny of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. “The first bridge was installed in 1952, until 1999. The bridge now, which came in 1999, 2000, until now. The old bridge swung a lot more, more than this bridge does.”
The swinging of the bridge led to a well-known reputation that has since extended to the new bridge.
“(It) still swings, still a little high off the ground, so it definitely has a bit of a fear factor,” said Caveny.
Queen City News had a chance to climb the mountain this past Tuesday.
It was one of those days where we saw the good and the bad of what Mother Nature can do.
Due to the winds, which were gusting over 70 miles an hour, the bridge had to close, which is standard in severe weather and high wind situations.
However, if you stay long enough, you may be able to hear an interesting and beautiful sound coming from the bridge — a gentle hum that happens whenever the high wind comes through the area.
“We’ve jokingly have started calling it the ‘singing bridge’ because the titanium plates have holes in them that allow air to go through, and on a windy day, it hums,” said Caveny.
Even on a cloudy and rainy day on the mountain, there is beauty to be found.
“It’s a beautiful, gorgeous view,” said Stephen Green, who was visiting from out of state.