Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Looking Down

Let me start by telling you about me and looking down.


Well, the fact is that I do, but let me explain that it is the fact that in order to look down you have to go up that is the problem.

I do go up.

I would not be able to be a hiker if I didn't sometimes go up. Up is where the best hikes are.
When I was eight my sister was eighteen and a recent high school graduate. The family tradition was a graduation trip--the whole family. Our trip took us to Chicago, where we had a room on the seventeenth floor of the Conrad Hilton Hotel. Once we got moved in, my Dad took my sister and brother and headed down the hall. Being an obnoxious and curious eight year old, I followed. I think my Mother knew where they were going and had more sense.

Where he was taking them was to the fire escape so that they could look down. I realized what my mother knew already about herself and probably about me--WE. DON'T. DO. LOOKING. DOWN.


Knowing this, even for the past sixty years I continue to go up--and stand petrified as far from the edge as I can and look down.

Yes. I have, over the years, been to the top of the Washington Monument, the Empire State Building, the Space Needle, the roof of St. Peter's Basilica, the roof of St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, and who knows how many other UP places.
Let me tell you the story of going to the top of the dome of Santa Maria dei Fiori in Florence--the world famous Duomo.
I spent a college year at Gonzaga in Florence. Having made many weekend excursions to various parts of Italy, some classmates and I decided to do some local touristy stuff. To get to the cupola at the top you climb a stairway between the outer and inner shells of the dome. It is narrow and steep and winds around the dome to reach the top.
As we were going up, others were coming down. That included a small group of Franciscan Friars in their brown habits--one being a very diminutive older (to us) balding (or tonsured?) man whose voice we heard as we came nearer and continued as we went up and they continued down. What was he saying? Well, roughly translated from the Italian which I spoke quite adequately at the time: "If I ever--puff puff--get my hands--puff puff--on the idiot--puff puff--who talked me into--puff puff"...and the rest faded as we moved farther and farther apart.
So, as each opportunity to go UP comes along, I think of that little friar so many years ago, and the fire escape in Chicago, and I go UP  and stand back petrified and look down.

When I was in India in 2000, my group went out to the edge for a group picture.
You can see them here making their way to the edge of the cliff. You can see that they would be looking down on the valley. there they are on the edge.


without me.

When we traveled to Russia in 1998, we hiked in the Stolby National Park in Siberia. It is a famous place for rock climbing. I climbed to the top of one of the large boulders and my son or husband took my picture looking down.
They had to do that because otherwise the rest of the family back home would not believe I had done the climb. They know I don't do UP.
In fact, when the whole family went to Silverwood Theme Park a few years before that, hubby and I had ridden one of the larger roller coasters. When we regrouped for lunch the kids did not believe me, so we had to ride it again with them as witnesses.
In 2010, when we hiked in the Highlands of Scotland, we were climbing some of the Corbetts. The Corbetts are "mountains" that are between 2000 and 3000 feet in elevation. Munros are over 3000 feet. You can see here that we were looking down. Elizabeth is much closer to the edge than I am.

After Scotland we traveled to Wales, where we hiked with Liz and George and looked down on the sea.
and then to London, where we looked down on the Thames, the Houses of Parliament and the Embankment from the London Eye.

 In Seattle, we have looked down from Seattle's "Big Wheel" and from the Space Needle.

This Spring we looked down into the Grand Canyon at Phantom Ranch.
And a couple of years ago I looked down the stairway at Maryhill Museum at Sasha and Lisa.

On one of  our first snowshoeing treks we looked down from Nisqually Vista at the snowboarders below the glacier.

It was certainly not the only occasion at Mt. Rainier to look down.
White River

Road to Sunrise from Sourdough Ridge Trail.

Busy day at Sunrise.

But my favorite picture looking down is this one from a flight from Seattle to Phoenix about twelve or thirteen years ago.
 See if any of the other headbanger members are like me, not wanting to go up, but finding some way to take a picture looking down. Their links are in my sidebar near the top.



imac said...

Very neat shots of looking Down Kathy, altho you don't like Heights(just like me) lol

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

I do look down with some trepidation. What mountain are you looking down to?

Katney said...

Rainier, Tom. (Need you ask? Though, actually, I do have pictures looking down on other mountains, though not quite so directly.)

Lew said...

Awesome pictures from high up! Great to get such a good photo of "your" mountain. It's beautiful from all angles!

Liz Hinds said...

You've visited some beautiful places but I'm like you: I like to keep a good distance between the edge and me. I think I have improved in later years but I still get that scary in my tummy feeling.