This weekend I went with some friends to Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. One of the tour guides recommended a hike to MacRae Peak since it would give us the best aerial views. He cautioned us that to get there, we’d need to climb up seven built-in ladders. These ladders were almost completely vertical and I realized that if I tripped on one, I would be falling down the side of the mountain to my death. Wait, what? “I don’t think I could that.” My friends were sure I could. So I removed the image of me falling to my death and off I went up the trail.
Ladder 1: Scary, but I did it. Heart beating kind of fast.
Ladder 2: Scary. Less oxygen in my brain. Heart beating faster.
Ladder 3: Told myself not to look down and to take one step at a time. I didn’t look down. Heart in my throat.
Ladder 4: “What the heck am I doing? This is super scary. I can’t go back now.” My body was shaking. Heart was getting a major workout from the the fear and low oxygen.
Ladder 5: I couldn’t even take the first step up. This ladder was the scariest for me. It looked completely vertical and there was no room for mistakes. Two of my friends already made it up but the third one waited for me, because she saw that I was the weak one in the group. I was shaking too much, so I sat on the side of the cliff next to the ladder and told her that I wouldn’t be joining them at the top. After she left, I had some food and water and took many deep breaths.
“Do I give up when I’m so close?” I didn’t want to give up. When my heartbeat stabilized I decided to do one of the scariest things I never dreamt I’d do, I climbed up that ladder one foot at a time.
Ladder 6: Not scary.
Ladder 7: Not scary.
When I reached to the top my friends cheered and clapped for me, congratulating me on overcoming my fears. I couldn’t believe I was sitting there with them and then a thought came to me, “how the heck was I going to get down?”