Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Up an 80-Foot Tree: The Canopy Climb

The Canopy Climb event at the Shaw Nature Reserve consisted of myself and two other people (everyone else in the world was too scared) and John the instructor, who'd slingshotted pulley ropes up into a venerable 80-foot White Oak deep in the woods, gave us safety gear, and invited us to hoist ourselves up there.

Uh huh.

Coordinated movement is required. One's right foot is placed in a loop of rope. Push against that, straightening the leg, while hoisting yourself  on a rope with a "magic knot" whose magical element was not explained, but I had faith. Arborists ascend into the forest canopy all the time to study the environment or trim branches; John said that advanced canopy climbers can cozily sleep on branches or swing from tree to tree, provided the proper outfitting.

When the three of us were strung up, John ascended and took our photos; here I am 60 feet above the earth repeating to myself, "Faint heart never won fun." John swung me a bit to see how I'd like it. I said, "Tone it down or I'll probably throw up."

I beat my lifelong fear of heights to do this. After a while I rather enjoyed dangling in the air in a forest. John said this sport was invented in the 1980s and there was something very 1980s about it: aggressive outdoorsmanship. I'd do it again.

No comments: