DAY 115

DAY 115



Last time I climbed this tree I was really frustrated because I couldn’t get past the second branch. After that I knew that in my second attempt I would do better. This tree in the sanctuary is on the edge of a field where the sun is, but this tree is old, craggy, mossy, drooping, and dying. And here’s a few things that made it worse:

one) The rain. It rained all day yesterday and everything was really soaked today. Mixed with the bark it became so slippery it was hard to even get up that first branch.

two) Beth Dalton and Margie Dimoplon, two residents at the house currently. Older women who, just before my climb, expressed their concern for my safety and then proceeded to tell me stories of students of theirs who had gotten in serious accidents and permanently injured themselves.

Thanks for that! That is not the mind set you want right before you climb. So with that, I struggle onto the slippery branch and get to my feet. I walk towards the trunk still determined to climb. I test small offshoot branches that will aide in my ascent, but they are too weak. I feel the second branch’s bark and it’s almost worse than the first. I play the safe card and decide to not even attempt to go further. I walk back out on the branch where I tied my tag and frustratingly rip it off. My foot slips, I stay on though and work my way underneath to hang and climb down to the floor. The branch is too slippery and too steep to go further so I have to drop to the floor from higher than I would like. Ugh!

7-28-08:  Finally catching up… I get really frustrated with computers.  Can anyone explain why they get slow and then programs just don’t work?  And please, stop asking me to send an error report to Microsoft….

Vented… and, okay.  Feels oddly similar to the entry above.  That tree just sucked.  Do you remember my entry from the first time I climbed this tree? ( )  I was incredibly frustrated then too.  And I do appreciate Margie and Beth’s concern, it was very nice that they cared… but it did preoccupy my mind with thoughts of injury.  That last picture above is the overhanging limb I dropped from.  Many times, while dangling from an overhanging limb, you don’t realized how close (or far) the ground is.  What happens is, you drop and expect to hit but you don’t….  No, you hit, but it comes later and harder and that sucks.  Especially when you drop onto a bunch of undergrowth with thorns and it’s impossible to roll.  That’s what happened on this climb.  Well, enough about that…

I would like to talk about yesteday’s climb because it was awesome.  I decided to wait to climb until we got back to Kentucky.  I helped my parents unload the car and then I hopped in my truck and went looking for a tree.  I had seen a house with a pool table top leaning against their front porch.  I went back to that house, knocked on their door to ask if they were getting rid of it.  Unfortunately the guy had just picked it up the day before and hadn’t brought it in his house yet.  Too bad… but I was close to Buckner middle and elementary school so I pulled in, parked and started to walk around look for a tree.  I checked a couple of large maples that were littered with cicada shells, but none had good low branches.  I was about to leave when another large tree, just by the road  caught my eye.  The branches looked too high but then I saw a deep crevice and one vertical branch that made getting in look possible.  I looked up the rest of the tree and could tell it would be difficult, but the sun was setting and I didn’t want to waste anymore time.  I put my hand in the crack, lifted my foot onto a bump on the trunk and then jumped with my other leg and grabbed the vertical limb.  It actually went pretty easy.  But then I began my move upwards.  All the bark was severely crumbly and covered in dry, green growth.  It made the climb dirty, but since it was dry, it all brushed off easily.  I began to move from large limb to large limb having to hug the trunk sometimes for my only handhold.  At a few places I thought I was done but upon closer inspection a little knot or bump would appear and made the move higher possible.  I did some high shimmying which is always a little scary and eventually made it tothe very top of this tree.  It was so rewarding.  I don’t feel scared in trees to often anymore and this did it to me.  The sun was just about to set and I took a bunch of pictures.  I took a narrative video at the top, then waited for the sun to set out of sight before I climbed down. 

On the way down I got really dirty and covered in bark debris, but I got no cuts or scrapes since the bark was pretty soft.  It was an incredible climb and very memorable.  I hope you enjoy the pictures and video.