How does teetering on a spindly bamboo pole above the Mekong
River sound? How about tiptoeing across a
narrow, rickety crossing in Japan's Southern Alps? Or suspended above a gorge
lined with serrated limestone?
Earlier this month, we indulged thrill-seeking travelers
with sky-high treehouses and treacherous trails. Today on Explore, test your bravery -- and your balance -- with these five
stomach-churning bridges. (Just don't
Qeswachaka Bridge, Peru
Suspended more than 30
feet above the Apurimac River, roughly 60 miles from Cuzco, Qeswachaka bridge is
the last of the vast network of bridges that crisscrossed the Inca empire. They fell, along with the empire, in the
16th century, but indigenous Andeans continued to pass down their bridge
building knowledge to future generations.
Since the Qeswachaka
bridge fibers fray easily, every year or two in June, hundreds of
people from various Andean communities gather for the rebuilding ceremony,
where they weave blades of Qoya grass into six long cables, securing them at
each edge of the ravine with eucalyptus trunks. Thanks to their communal effort,
constructing the 120-foot long bridge takes only three days.
celebrate the bridge’s completion with food and dancing. Even with a modern metal bridge just upstream, they form a long line at the handwoven Qeswachaka bridge, which is just wide enough for them to cross single file.