“Limitations tend to be illusions or self created barriers.” ― Steven Redhead


Even though you can’t tell from this picture, I am sitting on a boulder that is about 9 feet tall and the boulders in the front are even taller. If you don’t know me, I have a fear of heights. It’s gotten worse over the years actually. I don’t like that I have this phobia. As you can imagine it gets in the way sometimes and limits me on the trails.

This photo was taken from the Castle Rock hike over the weekend. At Castle Rock, if you want a nice view of the lake you have to climb the boulders. I pushed myself to climb up the boulders to a point where I am scared but not panicking. I really wanted to go further to the boulders in front of me. I heard myself saying, you can do it! Just keep walking! But I couldn’t move one more step from here. As it always does, as I stopped moving and started listening to my inner voices fighting with each other on top of this boulder, the fear grew quickly and it immobilized me instantly. I felt the panic coming on. I sat and took a deep breath. I was scared but I didn’t want to go down right away. I resisted my wanting to go down to the ground where I’d feel safe. I didn’t want my fear to win again. Xena eventually found her way up and stood next to me. She looked uncomfortable with the heights too. Could that be my doing? I turned to her and said, ‘Well, we did it, Xena. I am ready to go down now.’ With that, Xena hurried down.

Do you have a phobia that gets in your way when you are doing things you love? If so, what are you doing to overcome it?


13 comments on “Limitations”

  1. Breaking fear down into smaller measurable goals…half way up the first rock, climb till you can look over the top, etc. Think about the internal narrative and whether something reasonable or blown out of proportion. Develop technique to make it more safe…the points of contact at all times, etc. Finally, just be intentional about pushing the tolerance more frequently and it will hopefully lessen over time. Great post, thanks for sharing. Keep exploring…Happy Trails! MG

    1. Yes, I need to push my tolerance more frequently even it’s little by little so I can be desensitized. Thank you so much for the tip on how to approach the obstacles. Appreciate it! 🙂

  2. A couple personal phobias come to mind. 1) A fear of running into a mama grizzly and her cub(s) when hiking in dense alder brush with limited visibility. I constantly talk to them, in an effort to let them know I’m coming so they can exit the area and not be surprised by me. and 2) a fear of surprising rattlesnakes along the trail. I have poor hearing and can’t be sure I’ll hear their rattles warning me if I get too close. In the end, a little fear is always healthy I think. And it’s usually best to follow your gut instincts! Problem is, I love hiking in grizzly country and I love seeing them in the wild. And desert trails can also be wonderful. Perhaps I’m doomed! 😉

    1. We ran in to rattlers before and they sure let us know with warning rattles and the hiss!! Wow, that sound makes your hair stand straight up! I would be a lot more scare of them if my hearing wasn’t so good. You are so brave! There are no grizzlies here but if it’s just me and Xena, I attach a bear bell to Xena, just to be safe.. If you are doomed, I am definitely paranoid. Cheers, Mike!

      1. No grizzlies in California, but if you get up in Wyoming or Montana or Idaho you could run into grizzlies. Do you know how to tell the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat when out on the trail? The grizzly scat might have bear bells in it… but not the black bear scat. That’s usually the case anyway. My best to you and Xena! 🙂

      2. Hahaha!! I heard that joke when I hiked in Alaska last summer. I did see a mama black bear with two pups. Luckily, I wasn’t close and I wasn’t hiking. They scare me!! 🙈

      3. Ahh, I forgot you were in Alaska. Actually that might be where I heard that joke too. I have another story for you but I’ll save it. It’s about a backpacking trip I took in Alaska with my black Lab, Jazz about 15 yrs ago. I give Jazz credit for saving us from an encounter with a mama grizzly and at least one cub. But it’s a story for another day! 😉

  3. I get the heights fear too. And insects, I am terrified of all the HUGE flying, bees. And snakes. Taiwan is full of nasties. It helps that my partner is largely fearless, she pushes me to challenge myself and I like to think that my fear combined with her bravery (or foolishness??) balance each other out so that we mostly keep each other safe but suitably challenged. I also get irrationally scared of running into murderers when I’m hiking by myself, but I think that’s just the lizard brain conjuring monsters out of the shadows in the trees so I try to ignore it!

    1. Yea.. I think it’s highly unlikely that’s going to happen especially since you are being cautious. I think you will be ok. 🙂 A little bit of fear is good for you, I say. It will keep you out of trouble often than not. Keep on adventuring. Thanks for stopping by!

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