Guest post by Mary Pendleton from our fantastic partner organization Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture. When she’s not on the ground caring for our trees, you can find her climbing in the treetops!
Spring has arrived, and what better way to celebrate than by trying a new hobby? Tree climbing! Are you a parent with kids that love to climb? Or is shimmying up into trees’ canopies already one of your favorite activities? Perhaps you’ve been looking for an exciting new way to discover and connect with nature? Whatever your disposition, I think we can all agree that it’s awesome to get outdoors and see the world from a different perspective. That’s exactly what tree climbing lets us do: get a literal bird’s-eye view into the beauty of our natural landscape.
Here at “Invest from the Ground Up,” we talk a lot about the many benefits of trees. We’ve discussed their health and economic benefits in the past, but what about the FUN you can have in a tree? As a recreational climber, I’ve discovered firsthand how exciting trees can be; here are my top three favorite things about tree climbing:
- I love feeling the branches sway with the natural currents of the wind; it almost feels like being in the ocean! The experience is so peaceful and awe-inspiring, that you can actually feel the gentle power of nature working around you.
- Tree climbing is a great workout! Using proper gear and techniques, climbing is truly a full-body exercise utilizing everything from your core muscles to your fingertips. It’s a great way to work up a sweat and I think everyone would agree that working out in nature is preferable to a stuffy gym!
- Finally, nothing beats the view of the world from the top of a tree. I’ll admit it can be a little scary, but climbing to the top gives you such a special, unique perspective of the world around you. Any fear you have is easily replaced by a sense of wonder. Whether you’re climbing the redwoods or just that maple in your backyard, the view you can get from a treetop is nothing short of inspirational.
Climbing like a Pro
I’ve been lucky enough to ascend a few trees with professional tree climbers. Although most of us can climb if we have the proper equipment and techniques, there’s something about witnessing the finesse of a professional tree climber that is jaw-dropping. You really have to see it to believe it!
On June 15 and 16, WCISA will host the annual Tree Climbing Championship at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. It’s open to the public, lots of fun, and a great way to see some of the top climbers in the region do their thing!
If you or your family has an interest in learning to climb trees in a safe, guided environment, I’d also recommend visiting our Green Dream TreeCircus exhibit at the California State Fair this summer, from July 12-28. We’ll have professionals on hand to teach kids of all ages how to climb trees safely and responsibly. The best part is it’s FREE!
As a final note, I’d like to remind readers to always climb trees responsibly, and at your own risk. Always be sure to wear the proper gear (helmet, eyewear, gloves); climb with a friend; and have a clear exit plan. But most importantly, remember to take your time on the climb, and enjoy the view from the top!