DAY 319

DAY 319
02.17.08
TREE 202

Today, after some eggs and toast at Amy’s, we went bowling.  Our big activity for the day.  I scored a 145 the first game then couldn’t get a spare or a strike the second game till the end.  I barely broke 100.  When we walked outside to leave the rain was falling.  It was dark and grey but I told them I had to climb.  So we drove over to the VA park again. 

I followed the trail along the creek then cut up the hill towards the playground. 

I did eye a massive old tree but there was just no good entry onto it.  So I walked up to the top of the hill.  It was an appealing spot for its view over the park.  I chose this one oak with limbs starting about 20 feet up. 

One bent down to where I could grab a small end of the branch and pull it down till it held my weight.  Then I hooked my heels over and began to crawl along upside down and backwards.  But this tree had so many suckers growing from every inch of limb that it was a struggle.  I had to go very slow to maneuver through the pointy obstacles and my arms began to tire.  I kept having to unhook my heels so my whole body would hang and it took more and more effort to lift it back up.  In severe fatigue, when I was really worried my arms would fail, I would hook my right arm around the limb and grab my right wrist with my left hand.  My breathing was heavy and I began to become desperate for this part of the climb to be over.  This was the point where I had to force myself to look for options and act fast before falling.  I was high and hanging horizontally with my back to the ground.  I dropped my legs, rotated around a half turn and reached for another nearby limb.  I hooked my foot and lifted myself up… and finally I could rest.  I then began to snake through the thick of the limbs and was sweating as I did so.  I decided to shed my jacket and hoodie andleft them on a limb to grab on my way back down. 

The rest of the climb was easier but took a lot of time.  I was tired and some passages were difficult and took some strategy.  But I pushed it upwards and ignored the fact that my parents were waiting for me in the car.  I tied a pink ribbon and took some pictures. 

Being such a mountainous region the view at the top of this hill did not provide the view I usually expect back in the Ohio Valley. 

Also, being so grey, I wasn’t moved by the shots. 

I stood on the high limbs, felt the few rain drops and watched a couple frisbee golfers before climbing back down. 

I got back to my coat and hoodie and threw them to the ground and then returned to the low limb.  I crawled outward making sure to go fast and to keep my heels up and hooked as much as possible.  It helped to keep a lot of the weight off my arms.  Then I hung and dropped.

A very good challenge that pushed my limits.  Plus it was really nice to climb a new tree. 

3-5-09:  As you can see, the date on the above entry is February 17th 2008.  This means I about a half a month behind.  I was afraid this would happen on my month long trip to NY.  But I am back in Louisville and ready to pump these entries out and catch up.  So get ready.

So just to catch you all up to speed on the old entry above… I was visiting my sister in Clarksburg, WV.  I was climbing some old trees on the tripthere and back and climbing some new ones while I was there.  That is the reason I have no small pictures on this one and why I tied a new ribbon.  In the first year of this project I climbed 199 trees in total.  This is why all new trees were in the 200’s.  Make sense?

I will now reach back into my memory and tell you about my climb on February 16th 2009.  This would be my second Monday in New York City, staying with my brother in the West Village.  It was Presidents’ Day and Scott didn’t have to go into work.  Our plan for the day was to go to an art supply store, buy paints, brushes, and canvases and I was going to teach him how to paint.  We got some food on our way to SoHo then spent much time in the 4 story art store choosing our supplies.  Then we walked back to the apartment and I set up two spot in the kitchen to get started.  After about 5 hours straight I painted one small painting on a gesso board and one larger canvas.  Scott painted one large canvas, a medium gesso board, and a small canvas.  I did my best to teach him color theory, mixing, applying, layering, etc.  I had a good time and I think Scott did too.  I was totally planning on taking pictures of the paintings to post but completely forgot before I left.  They’re something to see, so I guess, if you are ever in NYC look my brother up and pay his apartment a visit. 

Later that day we decided to get dinner in SoHo.  When we finished I really needed to find a tree and my brother wanted to get home to do some work.  So I headed south towards Ground Zero.  They have covered fences all around the big hole where the towers used to be and you can’t see in.  I was hoping to find a tree nearby and get some shots.  There was an old church with a small grave yard with some trees but there were too many people and it just didn’t feel right.  I assumed this area is highly monitored and I’d be taking a great risk in doing anything suspicious.  I walked on and made my way all the way to the tip of Manhattan at Battery Park. 

It was dark but I recognized the Ellis Island Ferry building and the Korean War Memorial that I had seen on my last trip to NY in 2006.  There were trees all around and no (few) people.  It was perfect.  I walked around for a while looking for the right tree.  NYC park trees are well pruned and make it hard to find trees with low enough limbs to get started.  I finally found a sycamore that wasn’t huge, but it was climbable and that is all I was looking for at this point.  I scanned for people and then up I went.  It was a quick and easy climb and I didn’t get to the top. 

I was so nervous, as I have been in all the tree in New York, and I took pictures as fast as I could.  A few people walked past near the road and many cars zoomed by. 

I had a pretty incredible view of the huge buildings


and I could hear the cars going into the tunnel just paces from my tree.  There is a big grate where all the sound was coming from. 

I looked back and could see the Statue of Liberty. 

I did my best but the wind was blowing and I couldn’t keep still. 

I finished shooting and shot back down to the ground.  I ran away from the tree to get a shot from the distance.  As I made my way around the fence I saw a cop car cruise up to the park and stop quick by my tree.  I shoved my camera back in my pocket and walked on away like I was an innocent pedestrian.  I didn’t even look back to see what thecop did next, I didn’t want to take a chance.  I just walked along the water all the way to my brother’s apartment.  It was a long walk but I didn’t get caught. 

It is impossible to climb in peace in the big city. 

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