Sunday, January 8, 2012

A January weekend

When I signed up for the tree climbing workshop I thought I would probably like it, but didn't really anticipate that I'd get crazy about it. When the weather forecast for Saturday looked warm and the word spread that a climb would happen I got so excited I had almost trouble sleeping.

In the city of Milton, MA, lies a small unknown public wood with great oaks and beeches. Last time we were there we saw the beautiful deer family and a turkey flock. Yesterday we headed out there with a vague plan of making a traverse between two trees to swing on. The two great beeches on the photo above seemed a good distance from each other.

I love tree climbing, but I'm still at a point where I constantly need assistance from the others, which is really frustrating. At more than one moment I found myself staring at a rope or a piece of equipment trying desperate to remember what I was supposed to do with it, and I had to ask for help again and again. The good thing is that when I finally get self-sufficient at this there will be opportunities for me to give back, at one of many volunteer teaching sessions that my instructor gives.

Here three of us are on our way up, the fourth is holding the camera. Nancy on top, Paul in the middle and I am just getting started. I didn't set my own rope this time, I tried to throw a line a number of times but this tree was taller than anything I had done before. Andrew Joslin, my instructor, got lines up for me and Nancy, and then he used a slingshot to throw one for himself.

Here is my self portrait from about 60 ft up.

And here is Andrew's picture of Nancy and me and Paul in the other beech. Andrew has reached to the very top of the tree, perhaps as high as 90 ft. I am already on my second rope, higher set than the previous one.

Boston skyline from my 60ft perch.
 We saw two Cooper's hawks flying and vocalizing. A pack of coyotes howled not far away, and a flock of starlings in the marsh did that thing they do - Murmuration. The flock moves in quick waves as if it was one single body controled by one mind. This was a small flock, but I have seen movies of tens of thousands of European starlings, and it's an unforgettable sight.

Here is Andrew fiddling with one of his slingshots trying to get a line over to the next tree. In the end we realized it would probably get dark soon and we never climbed between the trees.  Not this time.

Dark fell eventually and while we got down, Paul was having trouble with a stuck rope in his tree.

The lights from I-93 
 Although not the same warm temperatures today, we decided to drive to an Audubon Sanctuary on the South shore of Boston, which promised both boardwalk by the shore and woods. I wasn't too impressed by the water front area and the boardwalk through the red maple swamp - it was so overrun by invasives and trash that it was difficult to enjoy. But the sumacs by the meadow had nice red seed heads and the alders had the little conelike seeds that I remember from my childhood.

In the woods area, an interesting deformation of a tree.

I know nothing about fungi. This was soft and floppy where I expected it to be hard. For some reason it looked good to eat.

Clubmoss, like little trees.


This massive oak fell in a recent storm and brought four other trees down with him. 

Emil climbing towards the light!

I've always loved trees and enjoyed looking at them, but as a tree climber I now look at them with renewed interest. This oak was full of poison ivy but the shape and height looks really good!

At home my Amaryllis is finally flowering, about two weeks after Christmas. Worth the wait though.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great report of the climb. As it turns out on our woods walk today we nibbled on some winter green leaves, same as your photo above with red berry.