GratiTuesday: Getting High

As I was looking over pictures taken on our recent travels, I was struck by how many times we found ourselves way up high looking down. Hiking on trails that took us well above the forest floor, riding on a train through narrow mountain passes, biking along a path that traveled over old, abandoned train trestles, peering down from the lip of a dam that towers 550 feet above bedrock, and standing on a “see through” bridge that spanned a rocky river hundreds of feet below.

North Cascades National Park
White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad
Hiawatha Bike Trail
Grand Coulee Dam
Looking straight down the side of the dam 

I know a few people who wouldn’t find these views very enjoyable. Some would muster their courage and go anyway, although trying to avoid a direct line of sight to what was below. Others would probably deny themselves the experience altogether, unable to overcome their fear of heights.

I realize that I have no idea what these fears feel like. I do know that they are not ones that people can just “get over.” They are real and they can be terrifying. And they can be frustrating. And they can be limiting.

For me, getting high is part of the fun, and I am so grateful that I’m able to embrace these experiences and enjoy the incredible views.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

67 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: Getting High”

  1. Jan, that is so strangely funny that you just published this post as I was looking at the Kings Pathway in Southern Spain, which for a bazaar moment I thought we could go and see it. After viewing photos, it was deleted off the list 🙂 Ummm yes I don’t like heights, trying to overcome the fear. The photo of the pathway is a good one!!

  2. Stunning view, thank you!
    I also enjoy a view from on high – it offers a different perspective, a bird’s-eye view. However, that “see-through” flooring did me in one one hike up a fire-tower. Actually, it was the hike down – being able to see through the grate gave me vertigo and I caused a log-jam on the stairs. That was embarrassing. 🙂

  3. Gratefully, I do not have a fear of heights, but my husband does.You are right in saying it is something that you just can’t “get over.” A view from the top is pretty amazing, no matter where you are in the world. Being the one who takes the photo from the ground is fun too. That way, it still counts as a shared experience.

  4. I don’t know how or when a fear of heights develops, but I know I have it, and can remember having it all of my life. So I’m happy to admire your gorgeous pictures from the comfort of my computer desk, but will pass when it comes to venturing through mountains and experiencing other dizzying views!

  5. Great pictures. I have it to some extent although I still do some height stuff. Of course I would never climb on your roof no matter how good the view!

  6. Thanks for the adventure. My wife has a great fear of heights but she is the type of person that tries to overcome it. There are things that she just can not do. The see through bridge would definitely be one of those.

  7. Janis, I am humming John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” as I page through these, written well before Colorado’s cannabis law change. Keith

  8. You had me at the title, Janis. And the views that you have shared are exceptional. Looks like your recent travels were truly amazing!

  9. Amazing photos, Janis! Thanks for sharing your “high” with us. And so glad you enjoyed your sojourn to the Pacific NW. It’s a great place to visit, and a great place to live!

  10. I like to get “high” as well. 🙂 The best reward for a strenuous ascent is a wonderful view. The most disappointing part of a strenuous hike is the lack of a view because of clouds/mist/rain. Very diverse and rewarding trip, Janis!!

  11. I’ve made that loop from White Pass, through Coulee City and over the North Cascades Highway. One of the most beautiful trips ever. Thanks for the memory-jog 🙂

  12. I enjoyed all your photographs of looking down. I live in the mountains, and most of the time I’m looking up. It was great to have different views with you.

  13. Love the bike trail! That was the one that made me want to be there the most…must put it on my travel list as well.

    While my husband has a strong fear of heights, my fear is more about being “unable to get down/back.” It’s an odd pairing when we travel. He’s fine climbing up mountain cliffs, but won’t get near the edge at the top for a view. I worry about traversing back down (and have stopped going up for fear of being unable to get down), but love the views from the top. Similar for church steeples and bridge over passes. We all have our moments!

    1. I hope you can experience that bike trail one day. It is an unique experience and, since it’s mostly downhill, not too strenuous (although you have to be in decent shape since there’s not much coasting involved). The views are amazing! No worries about getting back to the top… you can take a van 🙂

  14. Your photos make me want to travel somewhere beautiful, ASAP! But I can’t always enjoy these sights in person. I am slightly afraid of heights, but my husband is VERY afraid of heights, so we are a bit limited.

  15. Hi Janis,
    I echo so many of your other commenters in saying that I’m not a huge fan of heights, although I managed a hot air balloon ride just fine. But I do love the photos, and love the idea of putting them together in a collection for this post.

  16. Not a fan of heights, but I can, if necessary, do what I have to do when I encounter them. That being said, I much prefer to see your photos of the heights. Thanks for sharing them.

  17. You are one extremely brave woman. I have serious issues with heights – I actually feel nauseous if I have to walk or be where I can see a precipice. Standing over that grill as you are, would be impossible 🙂

    1. I’m not sure that I would label myself as brave – I just don’t have a fear of (certain) heights like some do. You would NOT find me climbing up – or rappelling down – the side of a sheer cliff, for instance. 🙂

  18. Every picture is stunning. As I think I’ve mentioned on these pages, I am terrified of heights. But my camera is helping me overcome my fear to take ‘must have pictures’. I didn’t flinch when looking at your pictures until I got to the last one standing over the grate. That made the bottom of my feet tickle which is the sensation that I get when on high.

    1. It’s hard to imagine that you are afraid of heights. With all of the traveling and boat-related duties you must have, I would think that you’d be perfectly comfortable “getting high.” Must have pictures are a good incentive to overcome fears.

  19. The older I become, the less comfortable with heights I am. I am okay with mountains, cliffs, tall buildings, and bridges as long as I have a solid footing, but you would never catch me sky diving, bungee jumping, or zip lining. And I can go up a ladder only three rungs. The fourth rung makes me start to shake.


    1. I would categorized that more as having a fear of falling 🙂 , which is a healthy fear as far as I’m concerned. Although I’ve zip-lined, I’ve never sky dived or bungee jumped… nor would I. And, ever since I fell off a ladder and broke my hip last year, I don’t like ladders much at all either.

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