One of the goals that my husband had in Yosemite was to hike Half Dome--because it's so iconic and the hike is so unique. There are a limited number of permits given for the hike everyday. We were lucky enough to acquire one with our wilderness permit.
I knew it was going to be a difficult one for me. See, the thing is...I'm afraid of heights. I know we climb high mountains and to the edges of waterfalls all the time. I just pretend to be brave and it always seems to work out. I was nervous. I knew there was going to be a portion where it was very exposed and there were cables for hikers to hold on to.
The day before we hiked Half Dome, we summitted another mountain called "Cloud's Rest." It was a bit exposed but nothing technical. When we saw half dome in the distance, I started panicking a little thinking "I can't do that!"
|From Cloud's Rest|
That snapped me into reality--my fear was the only thing holding me back. I don't have control over many things in life, but one thing I could control was putting one foot in front of the other up that mountain. For the rest of the day I said out loud to myself "You can do it. You are going to do it. You can do it."
Then it was time to face my fear. And it was scary. And I was so afraid. In fact, when I looked up at the cables I thought, "This is so much worse than I was imagining."
|Those little specs? Those are people|
|Up they go and disappear into oblivion|
I was not about to let the mountain defeat me...so up I went. I had barely started going up before I started panicking. It was difficult. The cables running up the backside are a bit over 600 feet long. There are 68 pole sets from bottom to top. The poles are set in about 5 inch deep holes and have 2 x 4” boards spanning the width at 10 foot intervals. For over two football fields, I pulled myself up up up.
I still don't know if it was scarier looking behind me or looking up ahead of me/
|Look at that drop off behind me!|
I am still scared of heights. I was scared the whole time I was on the cables. Contemplating climbing it again still makes me feel queasy. I did not get over my fear. But here is the thing, I did not let it hold me back. I am so glad for that.
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” —Henry Ford
It was so empowering to realize that even though I was afraid, I had CONTROL over myself. My emotions and brain were going haywire, but I still could tell my foot to climb one more step, one more step, one more step.
Here's to facing our fears.
|This is where we ended up|