Fears Faced in the Middle of Nowhere.

A few weeks ago, Jeff and I went hiking on the Hudson River in Upstate New York, and I was immediately hooked. I couldn’t wait for the chance to hike again, and as soon as we realized we had a free Saturday, we jumped at the opportunity.

This time, we headed to Palisades Interstate Park, an area that goes along the border of New York and New Jersey. Here, the trails run along cliffs that drop down to the Hudson River, with views of Manhattan and Weschester, including both the George Washington and Tappan Zee Bridges.

Enjoying the view pre-hike.

Enjoying the view pre-hike.

After parking, Jeff and I headed to a lookout to take in the scenery and then we watched turkey vultures fly above us before heading out on our hike. Unlike last time, the entrance for this trail was perfectly marked, which left me feeling less apprehensive than our previous hike.

But, my feelings changed as soon as we entered the woods. During our last hike, we came across many people while walking along the trail, but here, we were completely alone and in the middle of nowhere. I had an almost immediate feeling of fear because this was already different than our last hike. With each rustle of leaves, my heart rate began to quicken and I squeezed tighter on to Jeff’s hand. First, there were deer hopping through the trees, then squirrels, and chipmunks, but the more wild life we began to see, the more I worried that we’d see unwanted animals during our trek.

Slowly, I could feel myself coming out of my comfort zone. Each step brought us deeper into the woods, and there was no turning back. I didn’t know what to expect of the trail ahead; it was completely unpredictable. That was what I liked about hiking two weeks ago, but this time, the more I thought about it, the more anxious I grew.

The further we went, the more my mind began to wander. I kept hearing noises, noises that almost always turned out to be chipmunks, but all I could think about were bears. What would we do if we saw one? Were we even prepared for that? Jeff had researched what to do if we saw one, but I never really thought it would happen. All of a sudden, here, with no one else around, I began to panic.

Finally, we began to see other people on the trail, and that put my mind at ease. I took a deep breath and reminded myself how much I enjoy going out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to try new things. I also reminded myself that this was a new experience and the feelings of fear would eventually pass. Once I did this, and had Jeff help talk me out of my fears, I immediately felt better and began to enjoy the beauty that surrounded us.

Eventually, we came to an area that was directly on the border of New Jersey and New York. Here the paths turned into stairways made of boulders and rocks and the cliffs dropped down directly to the Hudson River.

Everywhere we turned was beautiful and with our focus on that, my fears truly began to melt away. We didn’t see any more people, but we began to pay more attention to what was around us. And, once we broke through the endless path through the woods, the view of the Hudson River was definitely worth it.

While the hike was generally easier than the one we did two weeks ago, the way back to the park proved to be more difficult. But, that’s what I am beginning to love the most about hiking. I love the challenges presented along the way and the fact that each step is different than the next.

Though I’m not entirely sure when my fear of encountering unwanted wild life will pass, I’m learning to deal with my feelings of fear while pushing myself to try something new. I know it’s not always going to be easy, but the results are proving to be well worth it.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy:
Hiking on the Hudson.
Facing My Fears on Ice.
Lessons of Travel.
How Glamorous is World Travel?

28 thoughts on “Fears Faced in the Middle of Nowhere.

    • Thanks so much, Pola! I hate that I was so fearful on this trek and not on the last one. Guess each time is different. πŸ™‚
      Yup, Jeff took the ones of me, he’s an awfully patient photographer. Glad you liked the shot!

  1. the first time we stayed at a friend of a friend’s cabin in shohola, pa (right on the border of NY), they gave us a whole rundown on what to do if we saw a bear. i was HORRIFIED. can totally relate, but it looks like it was definitely worth it!

  2. Good on ya for trying something new even if it makes you fearful. I completely understand why you would panic thinking about possibly running into bears on the trail. It happened to me – thankfully, only once – in Yellowstone, but it’s still in the back of my mind when hiking. Glad to see you’re enjoying hiking, too!

    • It happened to you? What did you do? I don’t know if I’d be able to hike again…at least for a while!
      Thanks to your post, I found a lot more places that I’ll have to go hiking in the future. πŸ™‚

      • Yay, I’m glad my post helped you to find more hiking spots! When I moved to Yellowstone, we had to go through some training about what to do if we encountered a bear on the trails… so I did what I was trained to do: stood my ground and made myself seem “bigger” (extending my arms up and to my sides). Unlike my friend who decided to turn and run in the other direction. Wrong thing to do. It was a black bear and luckily it wanted nothing to do with us. It looked our way, and just continued across the trail to a shady spot under a tree. We waited several minutes before continuing on the trail past it. We all survived πŸ™‚

      • Okay, good that’s what we found when we researched. I didn’t really believe it though because I thought it would be better to not bring attention to myself, but, what you did obviously worked. πŸ™‚ Hopefully, under pressure, I won’t do what your friend did because, honestly, that would be my first thought. Glad you survived!

        Thanks again for the hiking spots, love learning about what else there is to do, especially in the States!

  3. i, too, enjoy a good challenge in the comfort zone arena every now and then. it is scary at times but i am always proud of myself afterward.

  4. strangely, I just heard about this trail from a local in Denver… he didn’t mention anything about Bears though…glad you didn’t see any. He also told me, it was one of his favorites to do in the fall season with the leaves changing colors.
    stay adventurous, Craig

    • Oh, yes, I cannot wait to hike in the fall! I just started, so I know each season will be entirely different – I like that! Do you remember the name of the trail in Denver? I’d love to head out there one day soon!

  5. I was recently hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee by myself when I came across a large pile of bear poo. It was a huge pile that obviously came from a big bear. That was a little unnerving. The rest of the hike I made sure I made noise. Bears will always take off if you give them the option. The danger occurs when you accidentally sneak up on them.

    • Thanks for the tip! I’m sure coming across bear poo wasn’t what you were expecting, at least you didn’t run into the bear that left it there. πŸ™‚ I definitely love hiking, but hope I don’t ever sneak up on a bear.

  6. Ah man, I’d freak out too if I heard weird noises in the middle of nowhere. Bears?! I can’t even imagine what I’d do if I ran into one of those. Chipmunks are more manageable. LOL. Way to conquer it!

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