June 2009

July 1st 2009

For the month of June I found myself leaving the camera behind but still finding things I wanted to capture. So I used my cell phone camera many times. This is quite unfortunate I suppose since the quality of the images are quite awful. But at least there is something.

I also departed from the short daily descriptions a few times to delve deeper into the climb. The draw to write more is getting stronger. Who knows? Maybe another blog project concept is coming soon.

Otherwise, most of these still read as just a reminder of what where and when I climbed with a few pictures to peruse.

JUNE 2009

DAY 789 06.01.09 – I dropped off rent at my landlord’s place near Big Rock in Cherokee. I biked down to the field by the creek and found a nice sprawling and leaning tree to climb. I went slowly and methodically avoiding any tree-to-scab contact. I found an incredibly nice seat at the top and sat for quite some time thinking as it got dark.

DAY 790 06.02.09 – I have driven down the Watterson Expressway and noticed some nice trees near the JCC. So today, I finally took the trip and explored the area and a line of trees just behind a baseball diamond. It was the hottest day of the year so far and I got pretty sweaty. I was also extra careful due to my healing wounds and favored my left leg quite a bit. I still got pretty high but the thick leaf cover prevented much of a view out. Did see another squirrel run out of the tree.

DAY 791 06.03.09 – Climbed a tree just off the alley and one house over from Natalie’s place. Drew and Shelly were on the back porch talking and Natalie was showering. We were waiting to see where we were going to go to meet up with Michael to celebrate his birthday. While in the tree a woman drove up and took much time to get herself and some things from the back seat out of her car. She had no idea I was there watching her and it was quite entertaining.

DAY 792 06.04.09 – At the BBC, exactly one week from the bike wreck. I went out and climbed the third pear tree from the corner on Main and realized it was the same tree I had climbed a few weeks ago.

DAY 793 06.05.09 – Went to the Downs with Drew, Natalie, Noah, Cheyne, and Robert. 8 hours, nice clothes, lots of standing, and a lot of lost money. Back at home I took a short nap, ate some dinner, then went running to the Boys & Girls club to climb the tree nearest the basketball goal in their yard.

DAY 794 06.06.09 – National Parkour Day. The group met at the Falls of the Ohio and spent the first hour and a half picking up trash along the rocks and drift wood. Then we grilled out for a few hours, then finally got to some parkour (but not really). After a few jumps I finally climbed a nice big cottonwood I had eyed when I first walked in the park. Mark climbed too and did a mighty fine job following in my footsteps on a pretty challenging tree. Taking pictures was really fun and renewed my interest in spending the investment in a decent DSLR camera. Also got a call from Natalie while I was at the top about her cousin who really wants to get into parkour and Natalie laughed since, by knowing me, she could totally give him the hook-up.

DAY 795 06.07.09 – Biked in the evening around the Cherokee Loop. I stopped at Hogan’s Fountain and walked behind a huge kickball game into the woods to find a tree. I found a tall Beech that called to me but I knew the beginning would be difficult because the trunk was too large to shimmy and there were no low branches. I did my best to search for a way and eventually chose a small, young Beech growing a few feet away. I went up, bent it over, and transferred over and grabbed some very small but strong limbs. Then I went up to the top. I paused there and a few other places as I went down to enjoy the orange sunlight through the leaves. Then as I neared the bottom I attempted to transfer back to the small tree. I even had the tree in my grasp and bent over but when I reacheda leg over and felt it wouldn’t hold I released the tree and it whipped away. My muscles were extremely fatigued and I was getting worried. So I rotated around the trunk, found one last limb that could hold my weight, then I hung and dropped about 10 feet to the ground. I was dirty, sweaty, and it felt so good to have that hard challenge. It’s what I’ve been missing.

DAY 796 06.08.09 – Dinner at Natalie’s. I walked with her and Morgan to get dessert but left them to climb tree in park off Brownsboro Rd. It was getting very dark and there were a group of guys playing basketball nearby. I wondered if they noticed me. I was drawn to one tree (maybe an Ash) because of one nice curving low limb. I went up to the top avoiding dead limbs. Sat and thought for a minute then scrambled back down. Wounds finally not a hindrance.

DAY 797 06.09.09 – Biked just before sunset to Tyler Park off Baxter. I biked to the end of the park where there is a maple I’ve wanted to climb for some time. But, again, there was a car parked right underneath the only branch I can conceivably think to use to get up. Turned my sights elsewhere and found a smaller but equally challenging tree nearby. I backed up, hiked up my shorts, and ran up the trunk. My feet and hands stuck and squeezed. Then I crawled slowly to the first branch. Up I went to the top and watched a group play ultimate frisbee in the field. Some women walked underneath and I strained to hear their conversation but couldn’t make it out. Rather than feeling wrong for trying, I felt the desire to go lower and hear better. But they walked on. I then climbed back down, got to the trunk and shimmied using my feet bottoms with my knees straight out rather than squeezing with the insides of my bare legs. Worked well, saved my skin, and felt good to learn yet another skill after all this time.

DAY 798 06.10.09 – Large Ginkgo outside Back Door after seeing De do his stand-up routine at Comedy Caravan. This is the same tree I have tried a few times to climb. Once I walked away because of what I thought was a cop but ended up being a security officer, off duty, who could have cared less, and other time, wet, slippery, and impossible. I used the fence to get started, then slowly solved the puzzle. I got very high up and felt a huge sense of accomplishment. Great climb.

DAY 799 06.11.09 – Tree by Extreme Park during BBC night. Rain started after I got into the tree, very slippery limbs.

DAY 800 06.12.09 – Half way up a wet pine at Gorge at first camp site. Just wanted to get it over with. Javier watched from below.

DAY 801 06.13.09 – Tall, skinny tree off campsite near Chimney Top with lightsuit and Natalie, Natalie, and Ben watching. Unfortunately no shoot since the tripod piece was missing. Swayed at the top for them. Slid down fast skipping many limbs I had used to get up.

DAY 802 06.14.09 – Dead tree next to Cave Hill with Josh. I had a great picture of him laying on the ground after trying to jump onto the trunk and smashing his balls. Unfortunately the phone didn’t record the image. Grrrr.

DAY 803 06.15.09 – Sycamore near new Lincoln Memorial on the Waterfront

DAY 804 06.16.09 – Dirty tree just off Norm’s driveway after day of hot, dirty work.

DAY 805 06.17.09- Pine at Richo’s, ate with Drew, Natalie, Robert Cheyne, Stacey, Amadore, Natalie and Ben.

DAY 806 06.18.09 – Mullberry tree just off I-65 during BBC Taproom night. I hopped the concrete wall, ran up the hill and followed the barrier next to the highway. I grabbed the only branch I could reach and struggled into the trunk. Went up, took some cell shots, then went down. Couldn’t see how far the trunk went down into the dark bushes so I went out another branch towards the highway. I climbed out and monkeyed down as far as I thought the branch would hold. I couldn’t reach ground with my feet but felt the bushes so I thought the ground would be close. I closed my eyes and let go. I fell about six feet, hit uneven ground, but was fine. I crawled out of the bushes and walked back to the bar pumped from the exciting climb.

DAY 807 06.19.09 – Small tree with Natalie sitting on wall by tree. On Story Ave. by I-64 overpass.

DAY 808 06.20.09 – Young, straight, tall Beech off step path at Macatawa, at level with road at apex, night

DAY 809 06.21.09 – Maple tree in park while McChesney boys played tennis. I got to the top and yelled and waved to Drew. I was surprised he spotted me instantly.

DAY 810 06.22.09 – tree at deck by beach, Drew and Nat below, I climbed barefoot

DAY 811 06.23.09 – Ginkgo in Centennial Park in Holland, MI with Nat climbing, both barefoot, Drew below.

DAY 812 06.24.09 – Tree outside Woody Aberdeen Cottage, across drive, up hill, in dark, with Nat.

DAY 813 06.25.09 – Maple tree in Holland city park with Nat after bike ride, she seemed quite scared.

DAY 814 06.26.09 – Tall, skinny Maple off trail with Nat watching, on way back to cottage. Tree a good challenge with Virginia Creeper vine. Took pictures with Nat’s cell.

DAY 815 06.27.09 – Back from Lake Michigan I went for a drive to find a tree in the darkness. I got a text from Amanda that her pool party at her parents’ place was still going. I showed up and decided to climb the damaged Tulip Poplar out front before swimming. Most of the tree had fallen leaving just two levels of branches well within my reach from the ground. I jumped, pulled and stood up looming over the sharp shard of the damaged trunk. I tried to shoot a couple pictures with the camera then dropped down.

DAY 816 06.28.09 – Climbed a massive Maple just behind the basketball court near Cherokee Triangle. I climbed up an overhanging limb then worked my way about 2/3’s up the tree’s height. A nice challenge with music playing in the background. Even with all the people below me, I went unnoticed.

DAY 817 06.29.09 – Sycamore on Waterfront near I-65 bridge. Sat at the top and heard a close bird chirping and singing. I finally spotted the grey bird and watched it go through a rapid repetition of about 10 totally different sounds. The bird would repeat one sound a handful of times then immediately change to the next very different sound, over and over. It was amazing to see and hear.

DAY 818 06.30.09 – Took a walk down to the Waterfront Great Lawn in the early morning. I saw the graveled area with the large black geometric sculpture and was drawn to the 4 rows of trees. I had the idea to climb all of them in one go. So I looked at my cell phone clock and got started at one corner. After 20 minutes I had finished one row of 23 trees and was done, arms too worn out to keep going. They are small, around 15-25 feet tall and I was not climbing to the top of them, but it felt damn good. Could work my way up to climbing all 92. Wonder how long that would take?

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