If you've asked me if I was ever afraid of heights, I most definitely responded "no way".
I've had no problems with bridges, or elevators, or flying or even climbing stairs. That was until I visited the fire tower at Ferncliff Forest Preserve in Rhinebeck, NY.
This picture was taken from the ground below and I was not prepared for the challenge that lay ahead. My initial confidence wore off within the first 10 minutes as I approached the third flight of steps. I made the mistake of looking down through the barred steps and froze as I waited for the towers rattles to subside. Luckily, I was on this hike with a few family members who were able to push me to keep going, reminding me of how beautiful the view on top would be. I forced myself to push my own boundaries as I made my way up the final flight.
I am so glad I made it up there. The view was absolutely breathtaking.
The picture does not do the view justice. I HIGHLY recommend a climb to the top if you're in the area. It is one of the best views in Dutchess County I've seen on my travels thus far.
If heights really aren't your thing, there are also a number of trails you can travel through at your leisure in Ferncliff Forest. On our travels we passed by the remains of building foundations, root cellars, wells and a number of still water ponds. This preserve also offers camping permits if you're looking for a weekend get away this summer.
To learn more about the history of the area you can visit their website here.