Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ride to the Top of the World

I'm not ashamed to say that I've been petrified of heights for most of my life. There was never a time when my palms didn't sweat and I froze when near stairs or a balcony. I didn't participate in lots of activities as a child, or even as an adult, because of my extreme fear. I never did figure out why, but that wasn't important in my recovery.

When I discovered Powell River I wanted to enjoy the backcountry (bush) to its fullest. That's where my 2-wheel drive Honda 250 came in. It was a great bike, and it took me almost everywhere the big guys could go, but the biggest limiting factor was my fear of heights.

Lots of trails and logging roads go up and along steep hills and cliffs. I decided enough was enough, so I sought help from a therapist. He used baby steps to get me accustomed to heights. First it was stairs outside his office, then it was visits to the mall to ride escalators. By the end of 6 months, I was ready to try some more challenging trails and I am proud to say it was a success. I still don't like precipitous ledges, but I can make it up and down almost any road or trail. Now my little Honda was the limiting factor. So . . .

...our friend John took us on a ride to Theodosia Valley on my new Yamaha Kodiak 450 4X4. I got the special edition Silvertip model. Vanity in the forest! We started on the Theodosia Forest Road and entered the valley over a trail that John built with his ATV buddies. It is rutted and muddy, but I went through without a worry. This trail was a good test for my new bike. The hills entering and leaving the trail are steep and were difficult on my old bike. In fact, John had to drive one of them for me while I walked up (He's bigger, heavier and has more guts than I do!). Today, both were challenging for me but a piece of cake.

We went up Theodosia Main to a new logging slash at the head of the valley. It's perched on a ridge where you can see down to Powell Lake to the southeast and Theodosia Inlet and Desolation Sound to the northwest. You truly feel like you're on top of the world. The road through the new slash had lots of steep sided edges. I had a few twinges of the old fear, but I was able to push on through all the way to the top.

John says it was a good test of my recovery and he's right. But my final exam is still going to be riding up E-Branch to Alpha, Beta and Gamma lakes. That trail may be easier now with alders growing along the sides, but it was that picture that kept me going through my days of climbing stairs and riding escalators.

Want to read more about my recovery and quadding in this beautiful country? Go to and take a look at Up the Main. It's available in print and Kindle formats from  Or check with your e-book vendor for other formats.

Do you have a fear that you have or are trying to overcome? Tell us your experiences, It can help others along their own path to recovery. -- Margy

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We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy