Facing Your Fears

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My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I’ve only been a couple of times, but it always feels like we are entering a different country — especially since you have to stop at a toll booth on the U.P. side of the Mackinac Bridge.

 

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I am still working on developing my photos (yes, they are digital, but I run them through a program to adjust color, crop, straighten, etc.). I took more than 100 photos on my iPhone and another 996 on my camera, so it is taking longer than I would like. Fortunately, there are some duplicates and a few that didn’t turn out that I am deleting!

IMG_1373Our plan was to photograph lighthouses, waterfall and wildlife. It turns out I have way more wildlife in my backyard than is in the U.P. But we did hike to quite a few falls and saw several lighthouses.

This is Seul Choix Point Lighthouse. It is located on the northern shores of Lake Michigan, 60 miles west of Mackinac Bridge. The name is French for “only choice,” since this harbor is the only option to get out of a storm in the area.

IMG_1352The lighthouse was once the center of a thriving fishing community, with supplies for residents coming in from the lighthouse docks. The community is now gone, but the lighthouse grounds are wonderfully maintained with all of the original buildings.

The light tower, still operating although it is now automated, is 78 feet tall and was built in 1895. The Victorian details on it are unique and magnificent and you can see for quite a distance from the top. However, it takes climbing 80 tiny, open iron steps and a ladder to get to the top. When I heard that, I declined a visit to the tower, but the guide quickly talked me into it. And there began my terrifying journey up.

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First of all, I wasn’t sure I was fit enough to make it up 90 stairs. However, since I recently lost 50 pounds through diet and exercise, I decided to give it a try. Physically, the climb was not difficult at all. But mentally was a whole different animal.

I am afraid of heights. Well, more like terrified of heights. I can’t be near the edge of a balcony, more than two steps up on a ladder or handle a shopping mall escalator. Heck, I cannot even walk up a staircase in a house if it doesn’t have a rail. And if I get stuck going up, I cannot get down without help. Needless to say, going up 90 stairs was terrifying. Several times I had to stop, refocus and push myself to get to the top. By the time I got there, my heart was pounding out of my throat, I was trembling and I was nearly hyperventilating. I had a paranormal experience on the way up, but that didn’t even hit me until I was safely back on the ground.

But, I did it — well, all except the top three ladder rungs. I just couldn’t do that. But I did get up high enough to see out the window.

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This was, quite honestly, one of the hardest things I have ever done. But, the rewards of having accomplished this are so incredible. By the end of the trip, I was climbing steep hills and getting closer to the edge of the cliffs than I ever have before — without any trace of nervousness or even realizing that I would normally be afraid at that point. No, I don’t think my fear of heights has been conquered, but I feel like I am more in control of it.

Back to crafting!

 

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