Do you have an Achilles Heel or kryptonite? Something that still makes your tummy turn no matter how many times you’re exposed to it?
Mine is Perry’s Lookdown in the Blue Mountains.
Any seasoned hiker in Australia knows Perry’s is not for the faint of heart.
Perry’s Lookdown to the Blue Gum Forest return is one of the most spectacular hikes I’ve come across, but it is steep and it elicits pure fear in my mind, no matter how many times I’ve done it and I’ve not figured out why.
Sure, it could have something to do with the roughly 600m ascent in 1km, but, as that could surely make any Everest fanatic laugh, it’s more than likely an overreactive survival response – especially knowing four young men perished here in a bushfire in 1957 – and I’m finding the lesson in my fear.
On Saturday, we set out to do not only Perry’s but Perry’s Lookdown to Du Faur Head (two mountains instead of just the one, thanks hubby!) and after my last trek out there, I didn’t know how I’d go. Turns out I could do both.
It was a little less than 16kms all up and around 1500m elevation. It took us about 6 hours and I am happy to report the hike was just divine.
Climbing Du Faur Head was easier than I imagined and, apart from the nausea, tight chest and side of whinging, I crawled up Perry’s without a hitch.
I’m grateful my husband Daniel (an extraordinary coach and beautiful soul) is helping me face my fears. I am grateful to have someone in my corner, who is willing to push me and challenge me beyond my self-imposed limitations, who believes in me and knows my capabilities more than I do myself, while accepting me as I am. It’s difficult to admit that in some ways. I want to be strong. I want to lead others by example. I want to be fearless and limitless. But like Brené Brown keeps reminding me, perhaps it’s time to let go of my perfectionism and embrace the idea that vulnerability IS power.
One thing hiking teaches me is to accept myself as I am in this moment. I am doing the best I can and I am learning how to do better. It doesn’t matter if others can do it faster or harder. It doesn’t matter if they are stronger, wiser or more confident. What matters is that I’m there.
Even if Perry’s is someone else’s idea of a tea party, it’s my mental mountain to climb and I am grateful I get to. It’s important to me that I face myself and that’s one reason I keep coming back for more.
It’d be easy for to let my fear have its day. Although it comes naturally to Daniel to know that I am capable of more (thank goodness), it could be easier for him to leave me at home while he powers up the hills like the mountain goat he is. But fortunately, we’re both willing to push harder.
I “know” I can do it. I am fit enough and strong enough. I can condition my mind and body to conquer Perry’s in time. The exuberance I feel after making it to the top of the steep ascent well and truly trumps any fears that arise.
I am determined to find my power at Perry’s.
In Arnie’s words, I’ll be back.
Hiking is a mind game as much as it is physical, so if you’re anything like me, keep adventuring and keep learning. The Earth is one of our wisest teachers. These experiences are masters like nothing else. So get outside!
Much love and light,
“May we never forget our roots and challenge ourselves to come back home. Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.” — Judy Blume
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
- Hiking Photography: Blue Gum Forest, Hornsby NSW
- Hiking Photography: Mount Solitary, Katoomba NSW
- Hiking Day Trip to the Mountains
- 4 Lessons Fear Taught Me About Life
- Wildwalks – Perry’s Lookdown to Lockley’s Pylon
- Wildwalks – Perry’s Lookdown to Blue Gum Forest
- National Parks – Perry’s Lookdown Walking Track
- A Blue Mountains Trail that Makes Hikers Groan