DAY 320

DAY 320

Today’s tree was the impetus for the trip.  It’s the only tree from DAY 1 to the present that I forgot to take a picture of or from within.  So we got ready, had breakfast and got on the road back to Kentucky.  I drove first for a while but started to get sleepy so I switched to the back and told my dad before I shut my eyes that the tree was located at the last rest stop in West Virginia.  Then I slept.  At one point my dad woke me up and asked if the approaching stop was it.  In my sleepy stupor I just said no.  I woke moments later, looked at a mile marker and panicked.  I checked the map and yelled that we passed it.  But, luckily only by 10 minutes.  Knowing how important this project is to me, my dad took the next exit to go back.  As we drove by it I knew the lonely tree in front of the rest stop building was my tree.  We had to go to the next exit, turn around again then exit off at the rest stop. 

I had my camera ready and jumped out of the car.  I walked up searching for a ribbon.  I circled and circled, looked back up, squinted my eyes, but nothing.  I thought maybe I’d find it when I got up there but, this tree being so bare, I doubted it.  I jumped to the first limb, hooked my foot and pulled myself up.  This was a fast and easily maneuverable tree.  I quickly scaled the fungus-covered limbs to a high point. 

The people exiting their cars and walking below me seemed completely unaware of my existence. 

I focused upward and there was no ribbon to be found. 

It could have been maintenance, a squirrel, the cold icy weather… who knows.  So I took out my camera and recorded my view of this overcast day. 

Then I thought, last time I wore my nice shoes and pants, maybe I didn’t get this high last time.  So I looked down into the limbs, but again, no ribbon. 

Gone.  I climbed back down choosing a much different path away from the trunk.  It felt good, fluid, and I was soon at the lowest limb swinging and dropping to the grass.  I backed up and took a picture of the whole tree.  Then I joined my parents inside where they had been watching me through the window.  When we got back in the car I thanked my dad for going back.  It was really great of him to do so. 

3-5-09:  The small image of the leaf at the top is the only thing I took from the first climb.  The first time I climbed this tree was DAY 39 so sometime mid-May of 2007.  You want me to throw around some more dates to confuse you further.  Okay…

On my second Tuesday in New York City, February 17th 2009, I called Nate again to see if he wanted to get together to climb a tree.  The week before we climbed in Central Park but he felt too nervous to join me and he was hoping for a little climbing tutorial from me.  So I went to Queens this time and met him off the subway stop on 46th Street.  We walked to this large cemetery to find a tree.  It is a huge cemetery and we walked along side of it for a while before finding an entry in the middle off a sidewalk underneath the expressway.  We walked back to the north-east corner where there were no graves and a few trees.  I was nervous about getting seen by grounds workers so I picked an evergreen to stay hidden. The tree I climbed is circled in red:

This, unfortunately, made it so Nate again could not join me.  He stayed below with a tripod ready to explain the situation if I was spotted. 

I got started and ran up the leaning trunk. 

I failed once in getting a grip on the trunk and had to go back down and try a second run up.  I stuck that time and then reached for the first branch and began to climb up.  I tried my hardest to avoid getting poked or getting into sap.  Besides a few sticky spots on my hands, I think I did okay. 

I got the top of the tree and there was a perfect little hole in the needles for me to view out the tree. 

I had the greatest view of the gravestones and the Manhattan skyline in the distance. 

The sky was clear blue and few seagulls were flying in the sky.  It was beautiful.  I could easily see if anyone was coming near me in the cemetery and only one runner went by us.  I saw Nate below me watching, looking somewhat bored and I felt bad.  But I just finished shooting my view of the buildings all around me. 

Then climbed back down.  I shot one more shot of the tree with Nate and the large silver cross on the cemetery sign in view. 

It was an okay tree, good that I wasn’t seen, but it would have been nice to have had Nate join me.  I was just too paranoid, and I think he was too.  I made him feel that way from all my stories of being spotted and running from cops. 

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