Eight years ago, after we got married, we created a “pre-baby bucket list.” One of the items on that list was to hike to the Bridge to Nowhere in the Angeles National Forest and for Dan to go bungee jumping off of it (jumping off a perfectly fine bridge would give me so much anxiety that it would ruin any chance of me having fun). Although we checked most of the items on our list off before we started having children, this item remained. Three children later, we finally went on this adventure!
My Mom was in town visiting us, which made this full day trip possible. In order to get to the trailhead at Heaton Flats north of Azusa by 7:30am, we had to leave our house before 6:00am, well before any of the kids woke up. The long drive, 10-mile hike, bungee jump, and a quick burger dinner after our hike meant that we didn’t return home until after 8:00pm and after the kids were in bed. Before we left and after we arrived home, I snuck into William’s room and nursed him, but I never got to see him awake during the day (the first time ever – wah!). The girls were in bed with Nana watching a movie when we got home, so we did get to see them for a little bit (before we showered and collapsed into bed ourselves).
I’m getting a little ahead of myself, though. Let’s start at the beginning – at the trailhead on an overcast morning before the sun burned off the marine layer.
Although you can hike the trail to the Bridge to Nowhere by yourself, we hiked in with Bungee America, the company that owns the land surrounding the Bridge to Nowhere and facilitates the bungee jumps. Our group of 50 or so hiked 5 miles at a brisk pace, crossing the San Gabriel River six times and arriving at the bridge two hours later. While crossing the quick-moving, knee-deep river, we were instructed to walk sideways and hold on to the the backpack of the hikers next to us. We were also told not to change socks, shoes, or pants after any of the river crossings. Initially, we thought that hiking in soaking wet shoes and clothes would be very uncomfortable, but, honestly, we couldn’t even notice a difference. The river was cold, but the air temperature was warm. Changing shoes and clothes after each river crossing would have been pointless and a waste of time, as our guides noted. When we arrived at the bridge, though, we were able to change shoes and socks and dry out our wet gear in the hot sun. I’ll add that after this hike, our hiking shoes and boots were D.O.N.E. We both threw them in the trash. I got slightly sentimental that these shoes had climbed many mountains with me and taken me over many miles of trails, but the soles had separated from the shoes and there was no life left in them. They had to go.
After we arrived at the bridge, we had to wait about two hours before our “jump school” started. I attended the training session, even though I was not jumping. It was interesting – and not at all nerve racking since I wasn’t jumping – to learn about bungee jumping. After school, people started jumping, but it was another two hours before Dan got his chance to hurl himself Superman-style over the bridge. I didn’t mind waiting – for once, I had nothing else to do but relax and simply enjoy being outside.
When it was finally Dan’s turn to jump, I positioned myself down the trail to ensure that I got a good video of his jump. I wish I could have also stood on the bridge with him, but since he was only jumping once, I elected to record it. This was a once-in-a-lifetime activity and needed to be fully documented. I’ll admit that I was anxious for his jump, but not because I was worried that he’d hurt himself. No, I knew that he was safe. I was worried that I would screw up the video recording – and I only had one chance to get it right! Luckily, his jump – and my recording of it – went down without a hitch or a glitch. His entire jump, from start to finish, only took 2 minutes.
Only one person in our group was a DNJ (Did Not Jump), which surprised me. I knew that Dan would not “baulk” or DNJ, but maybe since I would have freaked out, I expected more people to hesitate and change their minds.
After Dan jumped, we hiked 5 miles back to our truck, crossing the river six times again. We walked under the watchful eye of a mountain goat and passed old men panning for gold in the mountains (they said it was a good day if they found enough gold to pay for their gas to get to the trailhead).
We had a great day being together and being outside – and we finally got to check something else off our pre-baby bucket list, after babies!