Angle to Key West: Lighthouses (5/15)

Cape Lookout Lighthouse
North end of Cape Lookout, NC – May 15, 2013

I was leaving when I met Pam and Bill, two volunteers working on Cape Lookout. I got a late start packing the boat and ran back to the visitor’s center to fill a water bottle and we started talking about the cape and Pam told me that the rangers were an hour or so from opening up the lighthouse for the season.

I’d been staring at the 163 foot talk Cape Lookout lighthouse for two nights. It commands the skyline of the banks with its white and black diamonds painted across the brick to identify it for ships and point out north, south, east, and west. It’s survived hurricanes and attempts to blow it up during the Civil War. It even had a first order Fresnel lens before it was automated. But mostly it had the view from on top where you could look out over the banks from the Atlantic to the sound and see that thin island if land reaching off into the water.

“Well, how much is it to go up?” I asked.

“I think it’s $8,” she said.

I ran to my boat to grab some money, but when I got back and tried to pay, Pam wouldn’t let me. She handed her own ten-dollar bill to the ranger and smiled at me.

“You may need it for food one day!” she said.

I tried to protest, but when a person wants to help another person, there isn’t much to say but thanks. 187 steps later, I stood high up in the sky and felt like a bird.


Here is a video I made of my new favorite lighthouse on the East Coast, thanks Pam!

3 thoughts on “Angle to Key West: Lighthouses (5/15)

  1. In general, lighthouses out here aren’t as tall because they’re on headlands instead of barrier islands. The mouth of the Columbia River is considered the “Graveyard of the Pacific.” Washington has 2 lighthouses in Cape Disappointment State Park at the mouth of the Columbia.

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