Scouting potential sites for future public boating access canoe ramps along the Powell River recently, I found myself having a ball playing around on swinging bridges here in scenic Lee County. “Swinging bridge hopping” (i.e., visiting more than one swinging bridge) is a delightful way to spend the day! There are about a dozen public access VDOT-maintained swinging bridges in Lee County. I was on two of them. Both of them are on the Powell River. The Powell River is a very special place.
Here is a photo of me on the first one. This swinging bridge is located on State Route 666, so it’s known as “Rt. 666 Swinging Bridge.” Lee County has recently gotten new 911 addresses, and the new name for State Route 666 is “Swinging Bridge Road.” As you drive along in Lee County these days, you’ll find both the old state route number signs and the new blue road name signs.
Here are views from the Rt. 666 Swinging Bridge.
This bridge is way up in the air and it sure gave me “butterflies in my stomach” as I ventured out onto the bridge. First, I started giggling, and then, I was laughing out loud with nervous delight as those butterflies in my stomach got even rowdier with each bouncy step. I thought about turning around and going right back down those stairs I’d just climbed up. But no, my thrill seeking nature started kicking in, and I just laughed louder and ventured onward. There were a few moments when I reminded myself to look up and out, because if you’re looking right off the side of the bridge down, down, down into that water way down there, well, those butterflies go totally haywire instantly.
Of course it’s all beautiful. Whether you are looking down at the water watching a big turtle float along with it little legs moving (well, they look little from a distance), or you’re looking at the upstream or downstream views of the river and its luscious green riverbanks, or whether you are looking up along the horizon at the not-so-distant mountains, it’s all stunningly beautiful. Those moments, simply pausing to just enjoy the scenery and wildlife here in God’s Country, are priceless. In addition to the floating turtle, I saw three deer and big beautiful hawk while I was there.
And here is a photo of me on the second one.
By the way, those butterflies calm down fairly soon. By the time I was venturing onto my second swinging bridge of the day, it already felt like “old hat.” I walked straight across that swinging bridge with no hands and no hesitation. What a hoot!
When was the last time you were on a swinging bridge? Need an excuse to plan a delightful vacation day in Lee County while the leaves start to turn this Fall? For more information about finding these and more public access VDOT maintained swinging bridges in stunningly scenic Lee County, please feel free to contact me. My name is Joan Minor. I am the part-time Lee County Tourism Director. If you want to chat on the phone, the easiest time to catch me sitting at my desk in the courthouse is on Wednesdays between 10AM – 2PM. My telephone number is (276) 346-4629. Or you can leave a message and I will call you back. Or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For swinging bridge hopping and other authentic Appalachian adventures, come to Lee County!
Joan Minor | Lee County Tourism Director
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