Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fire Tower Climbing

Baby Pointing

Years ago, my brother attended Indiana University in Bloomington. I would often head out for a weekend visit with my Toyota 4-Runner packed up with a couple changes of clothes, some hiking boots, and my eyebrow tweezers (word of advice: NEVER leave home without them).

Bonding with My Bro

I always loved our time together – Long walks catching up on the fam, visits to cool museums, eating at incredible restaurants, over-spending at trendy shops, hitting up delicious farmer’s markets, and trying to regain my college youth. During one particular visit, my dear bro said he had a great idea, and told me about the Hickory Ridge Fire Tower in the Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area of the Hoosier National Forest. It’s got a cool historical story behind it, but you can Google that. I prefer getting straight to the point of the lead-up, and to share the idea that turned out to be NOT so great.

The 110 foot high tower is open to the public for climbing (and apparently graffiti as well as every form of inappropriateness you can think of near a college campus). My brother’s “great” idea was that we climb to the top and observe the beauty of the changing leaves across the surrounding acres. Sounds reasonable, right? Oh, did I mention, the tower is 110 feet up in the sky? And I should probably tell you, I’m abnormally, deathly, ridiculously, and irrationally afraid of heights.

Stairway to Heaven

Hickory Ridge Fire Tower

Hickory Ridge Fire Tower

I trust my brother. He is my blood. He would not purposefully steer me in an uncomfortable direction. However, on this day, I uncomfortably climbed the 123 steps in the direction of heaven, which is also where I assumed this adventure would end, considering the steps were worn, rickety, and some were even missing.

After being passed by a seven year old on said rickety steps, with dripping wet sweaty palms, and a heartbeat somewhere near 300 beats per minute, I did eventually make it to the top platform of the tower.

Since my body was paralyzed with fear, I couldn’t even stand to take any pictures, which was the entire point of this expedition anyway. Instead, I just held my camera up above my head, clicked a couple times, and wished for at least one picture that contained a tree in it.

It was when the hyperventilation began that we decided it was probably best to end this little adventure, and head back toward earth. I won’t even get into the description of having to climb down 123 steps. Let’s just say, the climb up was like spending the day as a taste-tester in a chocolate factory. The climb down almost put a chocolate factory in my pants. Yep, awful.

BTW, A3 This Is Str8 Up Cray 2 Me

For the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone in their right, left, or wrong mind would EVER choose to place themselves in a similar situation. I don’t care if the view showed the path to the lost treasure, nothing is worth that. So when I came across an article titled “Want to get away from it all? Rent a fire tower,” I was dumbfounded, stunned, taken aback, buffaloed, flabbergasted, bowled over, and every other synonymous word. In fact, this article is “OMG” and “WTH?” worthy to me.

I guess I can accept that everyone is unique, and fears and phobias present themselves differently with each person. So maybe renting a fire tower sounds like a grand idea to someone out there reading this. If so, more power to you. As for me, I’ll just carry out the wise words of Mr. Casey Kasem and keep my feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars. That’s the smartest advice you’ll ever receive from one of those meddling kids!

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