Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Operation Squirrel-My First Night in the Tree...EEK!

"Some people helped me set up in the tree, affixing gear to the haul line. Now they have gone.

It's dark and the shadows of nearby leaves look like some of Goldsworthy's holes in the ground 40 feet below. Well, sort of dark- the school's flood lamps burn bright for no one.

It's sort of quiet, too, except for Belding Road traffic. This is how I've imagined living along an interstate must be.

A deer snorts several times, to my left. An owl, to my right. My bedroom may be both darker and quieter, but not so alive. My gear includes a hammock- complete with mosquito netting- strung between an oak and a cherry; 200 feet of tubular webbing fashioned into 15 slings of varying lengths; a 60 meter static line for ascending, anchored at 50 feet, a length of garden hose protecting both rope and bark; a 60 meter dynamic line, anchored at 70 feet, for swinging from tree to tree and for rappelling; 15 carabiners; alpine ascenders with five-loop etriers; a bosun's chair; a haul line; a gear bag, food bag, and trash bag; an ATC device for rappelling; climbing shoes and harness; sleeping bag, inflatable pad, and piece of foam for the cold spots; a dromedary bag filled with 6 liters of water; a small L.E.D. lantern; a headlamp; journal, pencil, and books- John McPhee, Edwin Way Teale.

Another deer snorts repeatedly to my right...the highway traffic noise wanes...my eyes are heavy.

The word of the day is Arbornaut (n): A person who ascends into the forest canopy and remains there for days at a time with no assistance from the ground, using only what can be carried in a backpack and fixing nothing permanent to any tree.

Tuesday Morning: Voices wake me from a deep sleep- Sharon has brought me hot cocoa and a cinnamon bagel. I have accrued a pantry of food- sent up in a kitty litter bucket- that I can't finish in a week, and I have only two more days.

The deer last night rose like a mist from the ravine behind me, and advanced like an army- they had me surrounded! While I couldn't see them, I felt there must have been dozens- and they were tense, curious. If I rolled over to peek toward them, they would bound off but return in minutes."

1 comment:

  1. You must be a fine teacher. Good luck. I'm pulling for success.