DAY 233

DAY 233
TREE 157

Today I met up with Aaryn at Tom Sawyer Park at 4pm.  She wanted to run and I wanted to climb a tree.  But first, we caught up since we haven’t seen each other in a few months.  It was nice to just walk around and talk, plus I got to scout for climbable trees as we went.  A few seemed promising but this one very big tulip poplar was amazing. 

A path to the top of this monster seemed possible.  Before we got too cold just walking and talking I suggested we get to our tasks.  She went off to run and I prepared myself (mostly my cold hands) for the climb.  When I got to the base of the trunk I was already excited.  This was going to be a good one.  High, challenging, I didn’t know what to expect at the top.  I reached up for the small part of the lowest limb, pulled it down and walked in.  As it got thicker and stronger I tested my weight.  When I knew it would hold I lifted my legs and hooked my heels.  Then I crawled towards the trunk.  I righted myself and started to climb.  The reaches to other limbs were sometimes easy like spiral steps.  Others took quite a reach.  One spot in particular was a good puzzle.  I had to climb out one limb, get up a little higher, then step back onto the main leader branch.  It is stuff like that that I love.  Dangling over 40 feet of nothing between me and the ground, just trusting the limb and my hands.  I just kept climbing with no second thoughts.  I was loving this climb all the way to the top. 

And the top was incredibly high.  The picnic tables and port-o-pot near by seemed so small. 

I scanned around and realized I could see Tinseltown, the mega-plex movie theaters way far away. 

And the sunset was beautiful. 

I love this tree!  And the leaves, just the few remaining yellow poplar leaves. 

They are my favorite shape. 

It always takes me a while to pick one since there are so many good ones to choose from. 

I tied my ribbon and took lots of pictures. 

Then I just got comfortable and enjoyed the view.  I yelled at Aaryn when she ran by, and called Drew on my cell phone.  I just loved every second up there.  Then I noticed the huge full moon. 

Just extraordinary!  I took some more pictures then knew I had to get going. 

I could have stayed longer but my hands were really starting to get cold.  I needed strong hands for the climb down.  So I made my descent.  Exactly as I came, I went down letting gravity make it a little easier.  When I crawled out the lowest limb and dropped to the ground I was satisfied.  This was one to remember.  I really loved this climb.

11-25-08:  That climb is up there in the top 10.  I think at the end of this blog (beginning of April 2009) I will rank my top 10 climbs of the 2 years.  I also wonder how many reclimbs will make it since the first experience tends to always b better than the second.  We’ll see. 

I stayed the night at my parents on Friday night.  The next day Amy and Sean’s friend, Maple, drove to Louisville to go to the WVU vs. UofL football game.  All the three of them are big Mountaineer fans. 

They had an extra ticket so I tagged along.  We parked at the Expo Center then walked over to the Papa John’s Stadium.  It was a damn cold day. 

I layered well and was mostly warm bu forgot to wear thick socks.  My toes got really cold and were numb for most of the last half.  The game was fun.  We were in the WVU section which was full of die-hard fans.  Every time WVU got a first down everyone would raise their arms and do spirit fingers and tell until the announcer call the first down. 

At that moment everyone moved their arms up and down and shouted HOO HOO HOO FIRST DOWN!  Others like Amy, Sean, and Maple yelled W-V-U FIRST DOWN.  Amy explained how people are trying to change the cheer.  Anyway, at one point during the game I looked up at the sky and the sun was bursting through the thin cloud cover.  It was pretty amazing. 

WVU kicked U of L’s ass 35 to 14.  When West Virginia got their last touchdown the Louisville fans (the few that were there) started to file out.  Norman and his dad were there as well and they left early too.  We stayed to the bitter cold end.  We started to walk back to the car and I was trying to warm my hands for my climb.  I had spotted an oak tree near the parking lot we were in and when we got there I ran over to climb it.  When I got to the base of the trunk I knew I was going to have to shimmy, or do something since I couldn’t reach the lowest limb.  I tried shimmying but it was too large of a trunk.  I looked for overhanging limbs I could reach, but there was nothing.  So I readied myself to run up the trunk.  I backed up about 15 feet and went for it.  I didn’t get high enough but I knew after that first try that I could reach it if I went faster.  I tried a second time and my foot slipped and I slammed into the trunk.  On the third try I got my hand around the branch and held.  I pulled myself in as Amy, Sean, and Maple drove over the base of the tree to watch from the warmth of the car. 

I scurried up the tightly entwined limbs towards the top.  My hands were really aching from the frigid wind and I decided to stop my pursuit to the very top since I was doubting my hands as they went numb.  I pulled out my camera and hurriedly took pictures. 

The old Cardinal Stadium was nearby and a parking lot full of RV’s. 

The interstate was on the other side and not a whole lot more. 

Once I was finished shooting I scrambled back down and dropped to the ground.  I ran past the car to get one shot of the whole tree then hopped in the car. 

At that point I was pretty warm and the climb had warmed up my toes. 

Once we got back to my parents we had a birthday celebration for Mitchell.  He opened his gift and we ate carrot cake which I decorated.  Mitchell happily shoved pieces of cake into in cake hole and I did the same. 

It was nice to be with the family and see a live football game.