Climbing the Hatteras Lighthouse
Leave your fears behind, the view is worth it
An old friend of Shelby's from college (Virginia Tech)
and her family were on Hatteras for a week in July, so we did some touristy
things with them. This included climbing the lighthouse, something we'd
never really thought about doing before.
The lighthouse cost six bucks per adult to climb. It’s 267 steps,
but not nearly as bad as we thought it was going to be. Concerns ran from
fear of heights to exhaustion, vertigo and overheating; none of these
were a problem. It turns out that the Park Service closes the lighthouse
to visitors if it’s too hot. There are lots of landings where you
can rest if you need to and the steps are sturdy and constructed in such
a way that one does not get dizzy from continually looking down the center
of the lighthouse.
Before you begin your climb, there is a ranger who gives you a short speech
and lets you go in a group. This prevents traffic congestion on the stairs
as an ascending group will move as a unit and those coming down usually
wait at a landing when they see the approaching band. The ranger’s
speech includes telling people no gum chewing is allowed and your knees
may feel a bit sore from the climb and this is normal. There is also advice
about what to do if you feel sick: Don’t try to throw up out
the windows because they are covered with steel mesh and Plexiglas and
are messy to clean up. It's much better to do it on the floor of the landing.
The climb is worth it because the view is spectacular and there’s
a lot of "Huh? I didn’t know that was there" type of conversations.
One gets a good view of Buxton Woods. "Huh, I didn’t know it
was so large and you can see as far north as Avon. Also, you can look
out right to the point. Huh, I didn’t know it was so far."
You can also clearly see the track where they moved the lighthouse and
the stone ring describing where it used to be.
All in all, a good use of six bucks.