DAY 118

DAY 118
TREE 30 & 31

I headed out on a mission. A busy day with lots to do but I was really excited about this reclimb. I walked out to the sanctuary by the white water tower and took the second path. I wasn’t 100% sure where I was going and that became clear fast. I took a turn onto a path that sent me running and walking around frantically for an hour. When I finally knew I was close I was already winded, but so relieved I had finally found it. So without sizing up the climb I jumped right on to that first long, craggy branch that twists down towards the ground. I had a little trouble at first almost falling but I eventually got to my feet and did a nice cat crawl up to the split trunk. Knowing exactly where to go I moved around the trunk of this tree, grabbed the forked limb of the next and swung to it. Then it was just a matter of climbing up this tree. A pretty fast and efficient climb, much more so than the first. I quickly made it to my orange tag then moved a few branches higher towards the very top. I got comfortable, took some pictures and then got out my thread spool. I tied the end to my keys, stuck a pen in the hole of the spool, and then started to lower my keys to the ground. It took a while but I could feel and hear them hit. I tied a knot in the thread then wound it back up. Then I took a video of me swaying in the tree top. It was moving pretty good, about four feet off center, a really fun ride. Then I grabbed a leaf and made the climb down. A branch broke under my foot and my body slipped slightly but my hands held strong. It didn’t even scare me. I’ve come to trust my three-point system. Then back to the other tree. I sat on my butt and inched down that first branch. back inside the studio I measured my string… a little over 57 feet up. A really great climb.

This is good picture of that first craggy branch that hangs right over the path.

The first tree is the left one, the second is the right.  The skinny branch in the middle is what I used to transfer.

Looking down those 57 feet.

7-31-08:  So many people ask how high I’ve climbed before.  And this is the only one I have ever measured.  I guess except for the on a few weeks ago where I measured my body lengths as I went down.  But I could only guesstimate that measurement.  But I don’t always have a spool of thread, a pen, and … well I do always have my keys.  Can anyone think of another way to measure my height?  An easier way perhaps? 

Also, last weekend at the rehearsal dinner I sat near one of the bride’s cousins, Steve.  We go to talking about my climbing and my blog and he had a great idea that I had never thought of.  Pick one tree, climb it once a year and take certain measurements to see how the tree changes and grows over time.  I think I’ll pick a day pretty soon once I have selected a tree I think would be good for that project.  I think I’ll need to pick a fast growing tree, maybe one a little younger.  This also means I am committing to this idea for an incredible about of time.  It may only take one day a year to do what needs to be done, but I imagine it could be something that I do for decades. 

Yesterday I went to U of L for parkour.  The meet-up is usually at 8:30 but I had a party to go to at 7 so I went early at 5:30.  I also planned to climb a tree.  I locked up my bike at the arts building and then walked over towards the playground off 3rd St. to see if anyone might have seen my post about showing early and decided to join me.  There was no one, however, and I thought I’d climb first.  I started to scan for good trees when a ginko, a very huge ginko caught my eye:

I have passed this tree so many times and never thought it good for climbing but I noticed something last night that I never had before.  There was a small branch  growing low enough to reach.  The rest of the other branches down low are huge leader branches that shoot all the way to the top:

I studied the tree closer and saw a path, but it was going to be a difficult one.  I jumped in using that low small limb and pulled my self in to the middle of the tree where I took the picture just above.  On climbs like this it’s like a maze.  To get to the top sometimes you have to go way out one side to transfer to another major limb, go a little higher to transfer again and then finally you get to where you the goal was… but then change your mind and go out in another direction.  If my path were a colored line it would wind and snake all over. 

One thing I love about ginko trees are the leaves.  And this tree was covered in them.  They don’t just grow out from the end of twigs, they grow all along all the smaller branches.

Once I got through some tough spots and out on a high limb I stopped and took pictures of what I could see from my high point on campus:

And I also took some shots looking down:

It was an incredible climb that took a lot of time and strategy.  I was also a little nervous about getting spotted and being told to get down.  So anytime cars or people went by I held still.  When I finally got down I was drenched with sweat and covered in black bark debris.  I felt really good, but it took so long I decided to skip doing any parkour and just bike back to my place to shower and head to Julio’s. 

Congrats to you, Julio, for being incredibly focused and kicking ass on the bar exam.  I know you don’t know how you did yet, but I am confident you did well.