DAY 121

DAY 121

I went out to the pond next to the house for my reclimb today. I chose to wear my sandals ’cause I figured the tree wasn’t too difficult. When I grabbed hold of a couple branches to jump in I hit and scraped my knee a little. I am getting very used to leg and arm scrapes. I’m all scarred up. Anyway, I climbed up with a little challenge to avoid the branches ready to break off. A lot of arm pulling and walking up the trunk. I wish my sandals gripped a little better. Then I went back and forth between the two main branches after the trunk split.There were a lot of little ants everywhere so I tried to be quick so they wouldn’t climb on me. Up to the top I found my blue ribbon and got a step higher. It is becoming more of a mainstay in my climbing routine to get a leaf, look around, and see how much I can get the tree to sway. This one was okay. I also take my camera to climb now. I used to leave it somewhere for fear I’d drop it or damage it while climbing. Now I’m getting some really nice shots up in trees. On the way down my sandals kept getting stuck in their holds. A little frustrating, and makes me work and sweat harder because of it. I jumped down and thought that this climb, though fun, was somewhat bland. I’ve realized, or at least evolved, to trying to find a challenging aspect of the climb to overcome, or limit myself in someway, or try a new move to make it memorable and exciting. Hot day too.

8-3-08:  I don’t think it was much longer after this climb that I gave up wearing my sandals to climb.  They seem to hinder more than help.  I think shoes are incredibly important in climbing.  I know some people who believe barefoot climbing is better, more true to our ancestral roots.  But, unless I have been walking barefoot since I was born, my feet aren’t ready for it now.  Especially growing up in the desert in Arizona.  It’s so hot with sand and cacti everywhere, you never left your house without shoes.  On the other hand, however, I have been climbing without gloves and my hands have toughened up quite nicely.  I guess the difference is that once I get down from a tree, I don’t have to walk on my hands.  I’ve often desired to toughen up my feet, but it is unrealistic for many places to not have shoes for protection.  If there weren’t broken glass in so many places, it may be possible.  Maybe someday.

I also noticed in the above entry how I said the sandals made parts challenging, then I say at the end that the tree was bland and not challenging.  I guess I am making a qualitative evaluation between different types of challenges.  If I see a challenging move and I choose to make it, that I like.  If it’s an unforeseen challenge like getting my feet stuck over and over, that I don’t like.  Other things like interactions with ants and bugs are never that fun.  But sometimes difficulties force me to do something different or go somewhere I hadn’t planned on going which makes for a more interesting climb.  I guess it all depends.

Yesterday I was itching to ride my bike.  I decided to go along the River Walk trail again towards Shawnee Park and climb along the way.  When I was cruising through the wooded area near the golf course I came upon this:

As I was passing all these huge trees I really wanted to find one I could climb.  Since so many only had limbs way too high to reach, I was keeping my eyes peeled for one with a smallertree growing just next to it.  This is made me stop quick.  I checked it out closely and figured I was not going to be able to transfer into the larger tree but thought it was be fun anyway and went for it.  I wedged my foot between the two trunk and groped around for some handholds.  All I could grab was some bark, but the hackberry bark was breaking off, and the larger tree’s bark was soft, but holding.  Who knows for how long.  So I prepared myself for a lunge upward and new I may come right back down to the ground.  Luckily, the bark I held didn’t break and I was up.  I wriggled between the trunks slightly higher until I could reach the first branch of the smaller tree.  Once on that limb it was pretty standard climbing.  But I didn’t get very high.  The hackberry limbs were nice and strong but stopped.  I had nowhere esle to go and no place to transfer into the large tree, like I figured.  So I took pictures:

That picture just above is the path.  I really wanted to get a picture with a cyclist in it, but I waited for like 5 minutes with my finger ont he trigger and… nothing.  So I just took one of the trail by itself.  I wanted so badly to go higher, but it just wasn’t going to happen.  So I made my way back down. 

Once on the ground I went to unlock my bike from a nearby tree.  It was close to the large tree and I thought the comparison might make for a good descriptive picture for you guys:

Isn’t that tree big?  And that isn’t the biggest out there.  There are some really incredibly large old trees on the edge of the the river out this way.  I don’t know what is considered old growth, but these are definitely some of the largest I have seen in Louisville,  I would recommend you take a bike trip out this way.  The trail starts at the Bellvedere downtown.  Just follow the path by the water.  It takes about 4 or 5 miles to reach this spot but it is worth it, even in the August heat.  Take a camera and let me see what you see.  I’ll definitely be going out there much more.  I spotted another tree that I know I will be climbing soon on my way back.  Want to join me?  Just send me a comment and we’ll make plans.