WELL BEING: Cross That Bridge When We Come To It

5 Aug

Rusk Footbridge by Lynn Van Noy

As the dog days of Summer heat up, it’s time to get out, get some exercise, and explore!

Here in deep East Texas, we don’t have a lot of YMCA’s, public pools, or city funded outdoor programs.  But what we lack in municipal activities, we make up for in natural habitat adventures.  There are plenty of opportunities to get physically active while enjoying our lakes, nature trails, birding, and historical parks.

One historical landmark I visited this week was the footbridge in Rusk, Texas.  The Rusk Footbridge was constructed in 1861, to allow folks living on either side of the valley a safe means to cross during floods.  Garden Park surrounds the nation’s longest footbridge, measuring 546 feet.   The historical marker claims, “The bridge had been restored in the late 1960s.”

The first time I ever laid eyes on this bridge was during the 2010 Who Let the Dogs Out 5k run.  Yes, I was running full steam ahead, rounded a corner, and down ahead of me was this incredibly long footbridge.  It literally took my breath away.  Such an awesome sight to see and an exhilarating run down and back up again.

Rusk Footbridge is among the town’s most popular tourist destinations.  What’s not to love?  Its rustic wooden slats stride deep into a lovely shaded park and over a gorgeous flowing creek.  It’s a good workout to walk from end to end but if you’re looking for a challenge, this is your bridge.  Sprint running is ideal and this is definitely the bridge for an incline workout.  Make a day of it with “brick” training.  Bicycle around historic Rusk and then take up running the stairs and bridge in Garden Park.

Located only two blocks east of Rusk’s town square, this footbridge, as well as the town, have much to offer in adventure.  Not only is Rusk a charming little town tucked into the Piney Woods but it’s filled with surprises.  Visit Jim Hogg State Historical Park, bicycle trails, hiking, bed & breakfasts, a drive-thru safari, quaint local shops, and nearby ghost towns.

While you’re visiting Rusk, be sure to ride on the Texas State Railroad‘s steam engine train.  Make reservations for the upcoming special evening dinner rides and themed excursions.

And if the longest pedestrian footbridge in the nation is not adventure enough, be sure to check out the heart-racing, thrill-chasing zip line!  Yes, just outside of Rusk, Texas is Adrenaline Zip Line Tours.  Sat atop the highest elevation point in East Texas, Adrenaline offers rides on the longest zip line in Texas.  Breathtaking views, flying at speeds up to 40 mph, racing over tree tops, ponds, and beautiful scenery.  They even do night-time rides.

Physical fitness is a state of mind and in a state as big as Texas there are plenty of activities to explore and places to play right here in our own backyard.  So pack up your cooler, drink plenty of water, and set out on your very own East Texas adventure.

One Response to “WELL BEING: Cross That Bridge When We Come To It”

  1. JC Guzman August 6, 2012 at 11:01 am #



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