Leg coordination, arm strength, serrated metal locked down on bark and up we go. Without a trace of a doubt, climbing up a tree while making sure I had all my hunting gear ready to carry along with me tested my hunting zest endurance.
After long hikes scouting terrain, carefully studying whitetail unpredictable behavior, walking through creeks, swamps, searching for tracks, buck rubs, bedding areas and deer activity, deciding which tree to climb became my next chore.
I discovered that all I needed to reach my hunting summit could be resumed in just about four physical movements. After making sure I was using all my safety precautions, I began my ascend. Eventually, I would be reaching the downright height needed to what seems like the best option to set my climbing tree stand for this coming season.
Besides hoping for the best of luck, I also found myself fighting traces of what could be diagnosed with vertigo or fear of heights. I have spent almost the whole summer outdoors scouting the woods and my biggest personal challenge has been managing fears that I didn’t even know existed. Moreover, simultaneously thinking about all the steps to take in order to be safe and be ready.
As soon as my boots stepped on the platform, holding on to the climber became my guard. Lifting the climber higher from the start position and immediately after pulling the platform up about 15 to 20 inches at a time began my escalating race towards my hunting goals. During hunting season I will be found up in the trees perching for hours at a time. Practice is very important when you are an inexperienced and amateur hunter like me.
My hands trembled with every move and my mind only had thoughts about everything that represented danger. I continued ascending taking deep breaths, shutting my eyes tight for less than half of a second and again setting the climber higher and repeating on using my legs and feet to pull the platform higher in despite of fear. I took a step on the further edge of the platform to press down with each pull and also on the front of the climber’s edge with one of my arms every time I moved it upwards. My body is not tall enough to reach back on it and use my weight to tighten my grip by just sitting on it.
As I got higher and higher, my lungs searched desperately for air not because of the amount of strength needed to climb up but because fear took over with every pull. Fear can be an overpowering feeling. Everything I wish to achieve stands beyond the bounds of my own fears. Even when I got to sit on the climber, I couldn’t let go of the side rails. It was very hard to let go and trust that my own efforts were enough to hammer the metal down on the bark. I stood up anyway. Taking little frightened steps forward and simulating the act of holding my hunting bow in my hand, I imagined I was feeling the pull of the draw weight needed to shoot. Blood rushed through my whole body and a primal feeling ran down my spine.
The world, my life and everything that I am, looked completely different from up there. Tears came down my eyes, mixed feelings and emotions made my tears turn briny. Even though, a mix of tumbled feelings could lift off heavy loads in anyone’s heart, standing on the platform for the first time is not the most ideal place to handle that kind of emotions. Above from the ground every tear sliding down my face felt like the ocean water that surrounds the place where I grew up blended with fresh river water from all the woods and forests I have recently visited.
I would have never thought that becoming a hunter would turn out to be a process that would teach me lessons not only about the world outdoors but also about everything that is kept locked indoors in my heart. Everything that is not said outloud suddenly bursts out yelling at my face from heavens above.
After that, I was left with two choices, either deal with it and loudly yell back directly on the face of fear or let fear control me and quit. So I continued to climb up higher. However, the fight doesn’t end there. The authentic hard edged struggle begins when its time to climb back down. The real summit or brink is always on the ground.
The HuntsWoman Path©️
© 2018.The Huntswoman Path. All rights reserved.
© 2018. The Huntswoman Journal. All rights reserved.