What Are You Afraid Of? 1


I am celebrating today.

It is the one year anniversary of my reconnection with writing by starting this blog.

The one year that you have been involved with me.

The one year that I have shared many of my deepest, darkest, brightest and most personal moments.

The one year that you have all encouraged me to continue sharing these struggles and successes.

The one year that healed me in so many ways.

The one year that gave me the confidence to unabashedly be honest with myself.

The one year you all watched this unfold.

The one year that you all helped me change my life.

The one year I let go of FEAR.





Think of pot of room temperature water sitting on the stove.  Hear the sound of the pilot clicking to start the gas on the stove.  Hear the POOF and see the blue haze of the flame light up. The heat is on.

The heat slowly warms up the sleeping stainless steel on the pan.  The heat begins to spread throughout the steel, layer by layer it releases the heat to the surrounding H2o molecules – they get uncomfortable.  That fire below continues to burn, this energy is being transformed.  The water heats up molecule by molecule.  Each molecule taking its time to change form.

It’s temperature reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit, its vapor pressure reaches the pressure of the surrounding air, so the bubbles that form by evaporation in the interior of the liquid are no longer suppressed. Finally one bubble breaks free from the heat, the pressure, the friction is too much to bear.  It revolts in a gaseous rebellion to join the surrounding air… FREEDOM!  The pot begins to boil.  The energy is released.  The H2O has taken on a new freer from of vapor.

Like that water, I burst open, I became became free.

I allowed my pot to simmer right below boiling for many years- so much heat, so much energy, so much pressure with no real release.  Like a physicist with the most complicated case of chemistry known to man,  I could figure out a way to temporarily turn the heat down so I wouldn’t boil over.

The fear of someone seeing me blow a gasket, the fear of what would happen if I did.  The fear of change.  The fear of the unknown.  The fear of what this new state of being would be like.

Something in me clicked like that pilot lighting my pot of water.  It was time to crank up the heat.  What I found out?

I let go of the fear – I believed in MYSELF, not what others thought I should be, but who I am truly and deeply and what I wanted. The fear of being true to myself was the largest fear I owned and yet overcoming that fear that has been the most powerful explosion of energy in my lifetime.

And to think…..

It all started with just one little bubble in my perfectly heated pot just below boiling to break free… from there the rest had the courage to join.






Don’t you get scared?  Aren’t you afraid?  You hike ALONE?  Don’t people DIE!?

These are all questions I get frequently regarding my hiking and mountaineering and have been wanting to address.  Since the majority of my overcoming of fear has come from my time spent in nature this is so relevant to every part of my molecular transformation.

Let’s get into some statistics about life.


Mortality rates big graphic

My observations:


  • 484,367 deaths in 2011
  • 165,068 murders between 2000-2010 in all states except Florida
  • More people died from Heart Disease and Digestive disease LAST YEAR than have been MURDERED in the TEN YEARS PRIOR

OF THOSE 484,367

  • 17,590 of those deaths were accidents or external causes.

So if you manage to get out of the house unlike the other 4,157 people that didn’t get out the door without accidentally strangling or poisoning themselves, you get in your transport mechanism to go to work.

  • On the way there are some 2,932 transport accidents

If you get to work in one piece this can happen just walking around your job!

  • Falls from stairs or steps: 693
  • Falls from a building or structure: 96

While at work if you can manage to stay sane unlike the other 31,048 that can’t, you make it to lunchtime.  Speaking of lunch, if you look at the chart it sort of looks like a lunchroom with tables.  If you broke your workplace up based on the chart you would clearly see the majority of deaths

  • Cancers and Neoplasms: 143,181
  • Circulatory Diseases: 139,706

That is well over HALF of the causes of death last year.  Stomach and digestive cancer is 3 times more deadly than breast cancer.  What we are putting in our bodies and the sedentary life… NOW THAT IS SOMETHING TO BE AFRAID OF.

If you make it through the rest of your work week living on the edge… you get to enjoy a weekend off work.  With all that high risk activity just driving to and from work all week you definitely can’t take the risk of the danger the wilderness has to offer.

  • For all park visitors combined the the United States National Parks, the chances of being injured (not KILLED!) by a bear are approximately 1 in 2.1 million

Ok so you’re only maimed by the bear that is not how you met your maker.  So what are the actual chances of deaths by vicious mother nature and her creatures?

  • Snake bite: 6 in 1,000,000
  • Spider bite: 7 in 1,000,000
  • Dog bite: 21 in 1,000,000
  • Hornet, bee or wasp sting: 53 in 1,000,000
  • Lightening strike: 54 in 1,000,000
  • The average number of deaths per year in North America Mountaineering: 24

There is a 37,594 in 1,000,000 chance that you will die driving to the trailhead.  There is a 162,460 in 1,000,000 chance of dying from lung cancer.

What this tells me….



GET OUTDOORS…. even if it kills you!


Consider this your bubble in your pot.  Crank up the heat- let that BRAVE first bubble explode…

the rest is SIMPLY PHYSICS.


Sources: Wall Street Journal , National Park Service , American Alpine Club , University of FloridaThe Guardian Datablog



One comment on “What Are You Afraid Of?

  1. stezieb Nov 12,2013 11:20 AM

    That was both elaborate and necessary! Haha. Hiking is amazing, I believe mountaineering is something everyone should experience. The amazing landscapes, wildlife, weather, and challenges I’ve faced whilst exploring are simply difficult to describe in words and photos. Being prepared while hiking further lowers your chances of injury or death. If only there was a way to teleport to the trailhead!

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