As I drove home from work I called Leigh Ann to see if she wanted to hang out and get ice cream this evening. She expressed interest but said she was very busy and then listed her to do list. I just told her to call me if and when she had a few minutes to spare. So I went home, piddled around, had some dinner, then drove to the Summit shopping center. As I drove there I spotted a big old tree off the sidewalk of HWY 22. I parked back by Office Depot and walked around the back to the tree.
As I got closer I noticed this tree looked unhealthy. All the leaves had fallen off which isn’t abnormal but the entire trunk and many main branches were being choked severely by a vine.
But this vine had no leaves either. It is just a mass of thick, whitish runners and twigs that are very stiff and stick straight out. It looked like some sort of organic torture device. The limbs of the tree looked great for climbing so I grabbed the lowest branch and pulled myself in. As I moved up the limbs I had to be very careful about two things: first, this parasitic plant is killing this tree and many of the branches are dead. Second, these poky vine twigs are an extreme eye hazard and pain in the ass. I maneuvered my way up despite these concerns. Usually when I have climbed trees with vines they stop at a certain point up the trunk. This one, however, went almost all the way to the top.
But I was able to get above it. I got into a secure stance and took pictures of all the lights.
It is a very busy spot and I had no concern about a lack of adequate lighting.
The weather had really gotten cold. Yet, at the top of the trees I am warm from the climb and the cool breeze is actually refreshing. I barely notice the low temperature. And it amazed me how quickly I warm up. Or perhaps it is how much I concentrate on the climbing that makes my body ignore the feeling of the cold. What ever it is, I love it. I started to climb down and Leigh Ann called. I got to the ground and she picked me up. Trees and friends always make for a great day.
12-2-08: It is sickly trees like the one above I think would fall in a big wind storm like we had in September. But I was just by the tree last night and it is still standing strong.
On last Wednesday night my brother and some friends of mine went to Headliners to see the Black Diamond Heavies and Wax Fang. The show was awesome and we finished the night with some pizza at Spinelli’s. Then the next morning we drove to my parents for Thanksgiving. As my mom prepared the meal I went outside in the nice clear and sunny day to climb a tree. I went to the empty lot behind my parents house. When I was in my bathroom I saw a sycamore that I thought I would try to climb. When I got to it I realized it was way too big of a trunk for me to climb. I started to walk around and look for another tree. Then I saw a huge fallen tree that was leaning against some other, smaller trees.
I went to the busted trunk and climbed up making sure it felt pretty secure and settled.
It was pretty high off the ground and I did not want it to fall anymore while I was on it. If I got trapped underneath I would have most definitely been crushed. I walked a little further down the trunk to the point where a part of the trunk was still standing vertically.
The wind really ripped this tree apart. On the scar of the trunk where it split from the rest of the trunk there were many fallen leaves and some animal feces.
As you can see, the tree was quite large and it was easy for me to continue walking down up the trunk without any hand holds. I reached another spot where the tree had wedged itself between two trees.
It did some considerable damage as it fell. On the larger tree it’s wedged between, it left a large rub mark.
I continued on slowly taking many pictures as I went. It isn’t often I can shoot pictures as I move up a tree. Fallen trees lend themselves to this.
I approached the section of the tree where the branches started.
That white stump of a branch was my first real obstacle on the tree. I stepped around it carefully then scanned around looking for which path I wanted to take and also observed the hanging limbs left in the trees above me.
As I got into the thick of the busted branches I bounced and had to use my hands to balance myself. The ends of many limbs had broken off and were entangled in trees and themselves.
I wanted to more in this climb. I was hoping I would find a way into one of the trees that the fallen tree was leaning against. The only one that seemed possible was a very small and young tree that had no branches. Well, it had one, but it was broken and dangling down.
I went for it anyway. And, do you see that broken limb floating in the middle of the picture above. It is just wedged there and a branch of it touches the small tree I climbed. I climbed past that and found that I could use it. I was a little apprehensive but it didn’t seem to move too much. Once I was above it I tried putting my feet on it.
I gripped very tightly on the small trunk just in case the limb slipped. But it held. I quickly pulled out my camera and took pictures of my surroundings.
As I was shooting the woman who lives in the house pictured directly above came to the edge of her lawn and asked me if "they" knew I was on this property. She said "they" and looked in the direction of my parents’ house. I explained that I was Jim and Becky’s son and that they did know I was out there. Once she heard that she seemed somewhat relieved. But then she went on to ask what I was doing. I explained that I was taking pictures.
I told her I have climbed trees everyday for over 600 days in a row and I take pictures from trees.
For an art project.
Are you a student?
No, I am just doing it for me.
She still seemed uneasy. She went on to say that her husband thought he saw a bird then realized it was a person and they became very worried that the tree I was on would collapse at any moment. How the hell did I get mistaken for a bird? I know turkey vultures can be big, but not that big. I told her I knew the risks involved and that I would be careful. All the while I am standing on that broken branch holding on the small vertical trunk just wishing she would go away so I could climb down to safety. She told me to be careful and then walked back inside. Thank god. I slid down the small trunk all the way to the ground and took a few more pictures before walking back inside to get ready to stuff myself.