Facing fears and doing it anyway
Acrophobia is defined as an extreme or irrational fear or phobia of heights, especially when one is not particularly high up.
Not a nice thing to have, especially for trampers who often find themselves on steep ground. When you are acrophobic you tend to shy away from tramps which warn they are “steep, narrow and exposed” which is the way the Paeka¯ ka¯ riki escarpment walk is described.
But some acrophobics face their fears and do it anyway. That’s what happened on a recent Wanganui Tramping Club visit to the escarpment. One member, we’ll call him Warren (not his real name) had the escarpment on his bucket list but doesn’t like heights. So it was a case of facing his personal demons.
We noticed Warren moved very carefully, but he pushed on through the scary bits. He said later there had been times when he would have liked to have been somewhere else, but to complete the 10km walk with some sharp drop offs to the railway line and state highway gave him a real feeling of satisfaction.
Tramping should not be competitive. Participants set their own goals and they decide what is success and failure. Warren set his own goal and got a big pass mark for his gutsy performance. He conquered the escarpment by conquering his own fears.
The club’s programme for September is: —
Sat 1, Foxton Beach, leader Sandra
Sat or Sun 8 or 9, Summit of Ruapehu, leader Mike
Sat 15, Maude Track, Egmont National Park, leader Barry
Sat-Sun 22-23, Syme Hut, Egmont National Park, leader Mike
Sun 30, Palmerston North walkways, leader Val
Make all enquiries about trips to Barbara phone 348 9149 or Dorothy phone 345 7039.
The midweekers have a full programme of interesting trips every Wednesday. Those who get out on Thursday are in two groups, with a longer walks on September 13 and 27 and shorter ones for the TT2 group on September 6 and 20. The Wednesday contact is Margret, phone 344 3899, and the Thursday contact is Val, phone 345 0456.
To join weekend trips call the leader by the previous Tuesday at the latest, the night before for day trips. As some trips have limited numbers, leaders have the final say about who to take as they are responsible for safety and well-being. Contact Barbara at 348 9149 or visit our website www.wanganuitrampingclub.net
The next club meeting at the Deerstalkers’ Hall, Peat St, at 7.30pm on Wednesday, September 5 features a talk by Graham and Glenys Ellett on their recent trip to Vietnam.
All smiles for this Wanganui Tramping Club quartet on the Paekakariki escarpment, but it’s a different story for those with a fear of heights. From left are George Rajoo, Esther Williams, Harvey Palleson and Kay Lee.