There And Back Again: Advice For History PhD Students

Anxious Bench | 8/22/2018 | Staff
madalina09madalina09 (Posted by) Level 4
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I am afraid of heights.

I first realized it when I was 16. I had hiked with my sister and father to the top of Lone Mountain near Big Sky, Montana. It was a 9 mile hike from the base, and the last 2.8 miles climb over 2000 feet to its full elevation of 11, 166 feet. I wasn’t too far from the spectacular summit when the narrow ridge suddenly dropped off steeply on both sides. I remember kicking a pebble and watching it fall, hundreds of feet to the valley below.

Needless - Top - Mountain

Needless to say, I never made it to the top of that mountain.

I almost missed two more spectacular sites this summer because of my fear.

Lake - New - Mexico - Feet - Rocky

The first was Lost Lake, New Mexico. Nestled more than 11,000 feet up in the Rocky Mountains, Lost Lake was approximately 5 ¼ miles (one way) from a trailhead near where we were vacationing in Red River, New Mexico. Neither the steepness of the trail nor the thinning atmosphere bothered me too much. It wasn’t until about 4 miles up, when the end (and our sandwiches) were in sight, that I almost quit. The forested, wide switch-backs suddenly gave way to a narrow, slanted, rocky path. One side was the mountain. The other side sloped steadily downward with loose gravel, sometimes dropping off altogether into the valley below. The view was spectacular.

But I still freaked out.

Us - Lost - Lakell

Us at Lost Lakell freaked out.

All I wanted to do was crawl backward to the safety of the trees. If it hadn’t been for the helping hand of my husband, I would have done exactly that. As we sat on a narrow ledge together, with me trying to quash my panic and ignore the sounds of stones echoing as they bounced down the side of the cliff (courtesy of my teenage...
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