Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Forest Bathing fifty feet up a Redwood

Today was a real day of wood things. After a couple of hours of learning more amazing stuff about ash in The Man who MADE THINGS out of TREES I pulled on big boots and stomped a path up through the crusted snow. The sky was cloudless and blue and the sun shone so bright off the snow. I headed to the woodshed: I felt the urge to chop wood, to feel the immediacy of handling wood in the here and now, the rawness and age-old tradition of sawing timber for firewood. The bow saw made short work of the big old apple limbs from last week and standing up to take a breather, I looked across the valley. Towering over most of it's neighbours was a tree I've had my eye on for some time - today would be the day to go for an investigatory vimble!

The fav Black Diamond Haulbag was quickly packed and I hiked out to S2, the as yet unclimbed Giant Redwood (aka Giant Sequoia). Took a little figuring out as to how to get up as most of the branches slope and curl DOWNwards; this is not great when you want to run a rope safely! An hour of fun problem solving later I found myself in a tasty little spot, only 15m up, but WHAT a gorgeous place to be: the curves and twists of the limbs, the deeply incised red bark, the clusters of fat cones, the nearby sounds of birds calling, of a woodpecker drumming; and the soft, evening light of a sinking sun on my face: happiness, my form of forest bathing or shinrin-yoku.

15m up and wished I could stay up for hours more but that would have to wait for another day. My toes had got pretty cold as the sun lost all warmth so I zipped on down, landing on the forest floor just as the sun dropped below the horizon.