Saturday, April 18, 2009

Climbing the Stairway to Heaven...

Alex has talked to me for ages about going to the St Augustine Light House and I have avoided it as long as possible because as I have mentioned before... I am afraid of heights. I tried every trick possible to get out of going but nothing worked and it was off to a stairway to heaven adventure.

As always click each photo for a better view

We arrive at the site and the sign at the entrance gave an indication that the place is loaded with light house history, some of it dating back to 1586.

After paying for admission and a short walk down a path, we instantly arrive at the lighthouse in all it's glory. Looking at it, my eyes just kept traveling up, and up, and up.... If you look closely at the top there is a small ring that is the observation post which is where we are going to climb.

The tour guide told us the light house keepers were generally a strong lot because every two hours they had to climb 219 steps to the top of the tower carrying fuel in a 30 pound bucket to adjust the light. I thought about it and realized all I was carrying was a very light camera and the view would be more than worth it... So I took a deep breath and decided to give it a try...

I climbed a few steps and realized I didn't feel bad at all and decided to look up. There was this magnificent sight that reminded me of a sea shell or for the mathematically inclined a fractal. A beautiful sight indeed! I kept going.

Right about this level I could see the coast line and wondered despite the drudgery of the work, during the day the keepers must have enjoyed living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The structure in view from the window is the keepers house which is large and roomy. It had to be because keeping the light house was a family affair. Everyone in the family was called into service to perform some function to keep the light house going.

Talk about a room with a view. You can barely see the top of the keeper's house now but there was the inlet, highlighting a crisp sunny day... also butterflies in the stomach, red alert!

And here is my reward. It is a wonderful sight with a clear view for miles of the entire inlet. I will admit that my heart was pounding and I stayed well back from the railing but it was more than worth it.

And to add to the excitement of the trip was a display of the various types of lens used at the light house. The Fresnel lens was the preferred model because it's separate section design made them lighter and also allowed the light to be seen for far greater distances.

You can see from the photos they were technological marvels for their time that are still used today in traffic lights and even the headlights of your car. And, they look like huge diamonds!

Going down was a lot easier than going up and as we did I congratulated myself on making it to the top.

And, as we drove away and could see the light house in the distance I realized how much I enjoyed taking the stair way to heaven.


  1. nice scene. and it usa? hope to visite once someday.-south korea- jun.y

  2. Hi, it's a very great blog.
    I could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
    Keep doing!

  3. Olive Tree,

    Thank you for your kind words. Just wanted you to know I love your blog as well. The music is heavenly!

  4. The place looks amazing. I too am afraid of heights. I do pretty well indoors but hiking always puts me on edge especially when there is nothing on the other side

  5. Great post about the lighthouse. My great great grandfather was a light keeper at a couple lighthouses on Lake Michigan. I hope someday to go and visit the ones he worked at.

    I have a little fear of heights too but I force myself to face the fear. I often get to see a great view for doing it.

  6. Dan,

    After going to this one I now understand just how amazing they are and encourage you to go.

    As to the height thing... then you understand butterflies in the stomach. I'm glad you too don't let that stop you. The view is always worth it!

  7. "(...)Qué pequeña es la luz de los faros de quien sueña con la libertad... (joaquín Sabina)

  8. Enjoy your blog.So kind.Good luck!
    We hope that we will have the opportunity to make friends with you.
    We invite you to come to our blog. You are welcome any time.

  9. Mr Lee,

    Lovely art! I will stop by from time to time to see any new pieces.

  10. I belong to another site and a friend went there and took some awesome pics of that lens... I don't mind climbing a structure that high, what I do mind is the climb DOWN...have u ever been to Hi. and did the 99 steps at Diamondhead? that's a workout ... there are the old bunkers used during Pearl Harbor time...

  11. oi seu blog estar lindo.. meu nome e gilvan sou do brasil beijos

  12. Gilvan,

    Obrigada pelo elogio, por favor pare novamente.

  13. There is nothing amateur about your photography......thoroughly enjoy your images and your vision. Love it!