By Simon Ambit
Living in the Carbon & Emery County area has many advantages if you enjoy the small town life and the outdoors. I love the fact that the biggest traffic delay in our area is a trailer load of hay meandering down the road, a coal train rambling through the crossing, or a tractor making its way across the shoulder of the road as it crosses between fields. Yet despite being spoiled by the conveniences of small town life in rural Utah, within about 90 minutes you can be enjoying the view from the top of the Gentry Mountains, drinking in the crisp air of Skyline Drive, or drowning a night-crawler in one of our several mountain streams.
This past weekend I was able to tag along with a herd of wild Boy Scouts as they stampeded down into San Rafael Swell for their spring camporee. As we made our way beyond the rim of Buckhorn Wash and down along the banks of the San Rafael River, the air began to fill with the aroma of Dutch-oven cobbler and campfire smoke. Throughout the night the moonlight gave way to sandblasted tents and stout wind gusts. However, the dawn found the morning sun taking charge of the situation and we were able to enjoy a calm and sun-filled morning. With a belly full of sausage and hash browns, the boys were refueled and looking for adventure.
Making our way to “The Swinging Bridge,” we read the plaques and memorials surrounding the site. We learned that the bridge was built from 1935 to 1937 using logs cut from Olsen Creek near Orangeville. The bridge created access to areas of “The Swell” that were previously inaccessible by automobile. Today it is the only remaining suspension bridge in our great state.
As we toured around the bridge, one of the young men was asked something like “Speaking of accessing new areas, how far up that cable do you think you can climb?” The confident response came “I can climb all the way,” and the challenge was issued. With onlookers watching and fellow scouts cheering him on; the determined young man used grip strength, legs, arms, positive attitude and will power to ascend the entire climb, touch the top of the pillar and return to his starting point at the base of the large suspension cable.
I was impressed at the agility, strength and determination of the young man. As he climbed the cable I wondered about the old bridge and all that it had seen and done. I had to chuckle to myself that after all these years and after all this time and weather; there it still stands true and proud as well as able to provide access to adventure. I hope that we can always take a moment to take in a bit of the history that makes our area unique, our people great and our heritage strong. And may we not discount the adventure and knowledge that the old can provide to the young!