Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Jumping off a mountain is not for me

Hang gliders ride the thermals off Lookout Mountain

Personally, I have a fear of heights.

The official moniker for such a condition is “acrophobia.”

But even so, in the past I have worked through this fear and trudged on to somewhat enjoy a number of locations.

My wife first found out about my condition when we were at a county fair in Tupelo, MS during out first year of marriage some 46 years ago.

She loved ferris wheels. And she thought I would too. Not!

It was the double wheel kind. And when the section we were on took its turn to make the highest elevation, she could see my knuckles turn white as I grasped anything I thought could save me.

Another occasion was at Six Flags Over Georgia on a ride that had a circular base about 20 or 30 feet across. Riders sat around the circumference of the thing-a-ma-jig as a crane picked it up, lifted it high into the air and repositioned it, slowly bringing it down to earth. She said she actually saw me turn green. And decided that was the last time she would try to entice me on such a ride.

And then there was the gondola at Masada in Israel. Myself and others held on to the pole in the middle of the car with our heads bowed, not looking out, as if we were in prayer. I think we were.

I also had such a feeling when looking out from the top of the Statue of Liberty.

But I don’t begrudge others for their joy in not having this malady. 

On a return trip from the Great Smoky Mountains, we decided to go through Chattanooga and drive down the highway on Lookout Mountain.

We had made the trip previously and wondered if there would be those who jump off high places while strapped to their hang gliders. There were a number of them using the facilities at Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding.

We stopped for a while to watch the thrill-seekers zip across the sky, rising on the thermals and criss-crossing the area.

I can’t bring myself to do something like hang gliding (check out this video), although riding in an airplane does not have such as effect on me.

Looking out over the expanse of the mountains in the distance and the valley below, I wish I could do that, but that’s just not me.

Next post: January 21, 2014

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