A MESSAGE FROM AMYGDALA
All humans share a tendency to search for new and more complex experiences, and all humans experience fear. While it may feel uncomfortable, fear is your amygdala – a small almond-shaped bundle of neurons in the middle of your brain -- sending
Image Source: you a message that you may be headed for danger.
Apparently, Thrill Seekers have an unusually high craving for the sensation of new intense experiences, and an insensitive or malfunctioning amygdale. There have always been thrill seekers and risk takers who took on the impossible feats to achieve the exotic new experience. It takes a certain combination of traits and factors to create ultimate thrill seekers like Evel Knievel. For those less driven, we have many extreme sports. Both of these types are likely addicted to adrenaline.
Then there are the rest of us. We have to resort to roller coasters and the like for the adrenaline rush, or if that is too intense, read a fingernail biting book or see a white-knuckle movie that makes you grip the arms of the seat. In other words, we want to experience the emotions and adrenaline rush without the risk.
The operative words being: "without risk".
HANGING OUT IN SPACE
If you can’t fly to space for the ultimate weightless experience, at least you can “hang out in space”. According to engineer Roopinder Tara, “Glass, never the first choice for bridge decks, is nevertheless becoming a thing… Impractical material and impractical bridges, but good entertainment.” Here are a few of the most popular glass bridges.
● Grand Canyon Skywalk
The Americans initiated the trend of walking in space as a tourist attraction with the opening of the Grand Canyon Skywalk in 2007, located at Eagle Point in Arizona near the Colorado River. The Skywalk itself is a bridge shaped liked a horseshoe cantilevered beyond the edge of the west side of the Grand Canyon. The bridge has a glass walkway allowing visitors to look straight down at the vertical drop of 500 to 800 feet.
● Tianmen Mountain Cliffside Glass Walkway
The Chinese, with their penchant for bigger, longer, taller, and more dramatic combined with their superb engineering skills, didn’t wait too long to get on trend with a series of glass walkways and bridges that inspire vertigo.
The Tianmen Mountain Cliffside Glass Walkway, Hunan, China, was the first in a series to open to the public in November of 2011. It is certainly the most dramatic. This one virtually clings to the vertical cliffs at an altitude of 4,600 feet above the ground … three Empire State Buildings on top of each other. https://earthtripper.com/glass-walkway-4600-feet
These mountains in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, is the location which inspired part of the Avatar movie. There are three glass walkways in this park.
Image credit: Getty Images
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▼This woman is posing herself for a selfie; ▼The other doesn’t seem too sure of thing.
● Dachstein Skywalk
Dachstein Skywalk, Salzburg, Austria, sometimes called the Bridge to Nowhere, is a glass overhang type of structure. Opened in July of 2013, the bridge resides at 8,858 feet in the Alps. Consisting of a glass bottomed viewing platform, a suspension bridge, and the Stairway to Nothingness -- an infeasible looking precipice of 14 steps offers a dramatic view over the Dachstein Glacier.
● Aiguille Du Midi Glass Box
Opened in December, 2013, this glass box in Chamonix, France, hanging at an altitude of 12,600 feet, is claimed to be the closest you can get to Mont Blanc without crampons. This famous needle, which is one of the highest in Chamonix, has been a tourist destination for more than 60 years.
Now, in just 20 minutes -- after a very long wait, tourists report -- the Aiguille du Midi cable car will take you from the centre of Chamonix into the high mountains to the Aiguille du Midi viewing platform.
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Stepping into the glass box and looking down makes it worth the wait. There is nothing but 1,000 feet of emptiness under your feet looking down at Bossons Glacier, except for the half-inch-thick triple-layered glass which you won’t even see while you float in the air.
● Haohan Qiao Glass Bridge
Located in Pingjiang in Shiniuzhai National Geological Park, China, this suspension bridge is called Haohan Qiao, which means Brave Man’s Bridge. When it opened in 2015, CNN reported that it swayed a bit but assured readers that the glass panes are 25 times stronger than normal glass and encased in a steel framework. When you are almost 600 feet above the ground, and the nothingness beneath you is moving, that fact is small consolation.
Prior to 2015 there was a bridge made of wood stretching 1,000 foot over the chasm between two mountain peaks.
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● Columbia Icefield Skywalk
Located in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, opened in April 2014. Similar to the Grand Canyon overhang, it is also referred to as Glacier Skywalk. The area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
From this U-shaped walkway juts out 100ft from the cliff, giving tourists the thrill of looking straight down 1,000 feet or experiencing the powers of glaciers which formed this part of the Canadian Rockies.
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● Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge
The Chinese outdid themselves when they constructed the Zhangjiajie glass bridge between two mountain cliffs in central Hunan province. The longest and highest glass bridge in the world, Zhangjiajie is 1,400 feet long, 20 feet wide, and almost 1,000 feet above the canyon below.
The bridge was opened in August, 2016, with a great amount of hoop-la and media events,”including one where people were encouraged to try and smash the bridge’s glass panels with a sledge hammer, and another where they drove a car across it.” theguardian.com/2016/worlds-longest-glass-bridge.
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Image Credit: vcg via Getty Images
Unfortunately, the facility was closed just 13 days after it open to the public. A spokesperson from the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon’s marketing and sales department reported to CNN “We’re overwhelmed by the volume of visitors.”
The bridge is made of 99 panels of clear glass, and was designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan to carry 8,000 visitors per day.
It has since been reopened, if you want to put this on your bucket list. If China is too far, there are many other such glass bridges and boxes springing up around the world. There are also plenty of walkways and suspension bridges which will leave you breathless. You can see from the photo below that the bridge doesn’t need to be glass.
Trift Bridge in Switzerland JUST SAYIN’
Image Source: latimes.com/travel/china-glass-bridge □