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The G’Morning Shot for April 17, 2012

A child’s dream come true.

Angel Oak, SC. Estimated 1,500 years old.

Photo credit:  Unknown


        • Ohhhh…. to be 31 again. (sigh) Let’s see, when I was 31, I had been living in Indpls about a year and was working as a mortgage banker. Making some great money and dating a PhD from Harvard working at Eli Lilly in breast cancer research. And was having the time of my life then. (double sigh) I had discovered rock climbing and was going to KY to climb nearly every weekend and camping at Miguels Pizza in the Red River Gorge. (triple sigh)

        • I never climbed seriously, with the gear and everything, but I loved to climb, since I was a kid. It is amazing I am alive really. I had climbed without gear way too many high things.

        • LOL… me, too! The higher the better. I’m lucky too as I was always on branches that were smaller than I should have been in. But then, I probably weighed about 50 lbs. I didn’t break 100 lbs until I went to college (I discovered delivery pizza). The only time I ever fell was when I was swinging on a vine. It was a nice long one from a rather tall tree. I had taken a hack saw and sawed the bottom where it had “attached” to the ground. The top where it came from the tree was pretty much over the center of the ravine. So I’d go to the top of the ravine on one side, slightly jump in the air like you would when swinging on a rope, then fly at an accelerating speed across the ravine. Finally, after hundreds of swings, the vine let loose at the top and down I went… into a nice soft pile of leaves. I was pretty lucky as there were many rocks around me. That was better than any swing set ever made.

        • That is awesome. We made some rope swings, but we didn’t really have vines. It has to be worth the risk for the memories. My kids climb the little trees we have, but they don’t want to climb the bigger ones. I would worry that they might fall, but still…I want them to want to try.

        • One thing that we have now that there wasn’t when I was a kid are indoor rock climbing gyms. Take them. You’ll have to have an adult, or at least a teenager, go along to be the belayer. Hmmm… but with your upper body strength, you may be able to. I’d recommend going to a gym when it is very slow. Typically people that work at the climbing gyms are really cool, so talk to them about setting you up on belay. You’ll probably want to anchor to the ground (hook your ride to the floor with webbing). But I’m sure they’d be willing to work with you on rigging you up. All you need to be able to do is put on a harness. I used to work at a climbing gym and I would have no problem with setting you up on belay.

          You know, that would be awesome! Since i don’t know what city you’re in, I’m not sure if there are any gyms, but if you’re in a city of any size, I’m sure there are. Possible a couple. Call them first and describe your situation. Perhaps schedule a time for them to work with you. You’d have a blast, as would the kids. And you’d really be an inspiration for others (including myself who can’t even see it, but I can vividly imagine since I’ve climbed for so many years).

          Only requirement from me… pictures. I want you to have someone take some photos of you on belay, and of the kids climbing. And upload those puppies.

        • Thanks! It sounds like fun, and I’m sure we have a few gyms with them. Actually, there is also a place with old grain silos that was made into an indoor climbing thing. I need to just check it out, and I will try to get pics for sure. 😉

        • Do it! Talk to the staff… most are really cool and will schedule a time to work with you. When I was in Yosemite years ago, I watched a paraplegic climbing El Capitan (that’s always been my dream climb). He had a lead climbing always in front setting up the route. And he followed climbing the rope, hand over hand with just his legs hanging beneath him. I saw him about 2/3rds of the way up. Nothing but a speck on the wall. I’m sure you’re strong, but work on arm strength and I can see you climbing all over the bouldering cave just using your arms. It will be tough, let me tell you. Very tough. But if you have the tenacity and drive to strengthen up, you can do it. You’ll have to fight your mind as you’ll discover you’re not as strong as you thought at first. Don’t let that tear you down. Accept the challenge to eventually beat that wall.

        • Now, one thing I want to be very clear and emphatic about… even the BEST climbers never climb alone (unless they’re those wacko’s that free-solo, meaning no rope). If they’re bouldering, like in the cave video I posted, they have spotters. If they’re on big walls, they have a belayer. NEVER EVER climb alone. A spotter will be best for you, even on the low branches next to the ground, or the low jug holds in the gym. HAVE A SPOTTER! If I find out otherwise, I will find you and you’ll be sorry! 😉

          Last thing I need to hear is you broke your other hip from climbing something without a spotter or help.

        • It would be so cool. I wish I could go somewhere by myself and just play, and try to see if I could climb with just upper body strength. I only weigh about 95lbs, so it shouldn’t be that hard to pull myself up.

        • Take the kids to a playground that is not very busy and has a lot of that padding stuff they put down now. At least sand or something softer than hard ground. Test it out there. If you’re able to cruise around climbing on something well enough, give the kids a mission – to go find a tree not unlike this one for you to go climb in. I don’t know where you live, but I’m sure there is something in a nearby park that’s just waiting for you to go have some fun.

        • That sounds good. We have a tree in our back yard that might work, but the bottom is actually in our neighbors yard, and then it starts leaning over the fence. My husband would kill me if I fell climbing a tree just for fun, but it might be worth it…

        • Don’t do anything alone. Work on pull-ups first. Don’t go for the gusto right away. Last thing you need is another broken hip. BTW… is that healed?

          Also, in climbing gyms, they have what’s called a “bouldering cave.” It is what is sounds like, a cave. Typically, the walls are not high, but severely overhanging. Call the gym first, explain your situation, and see if they’ll schedule a time to work with you. Ask them to put up some big “jugs” for you (large hand holds). And work on pull ups. Can you stand at all? Here is a video of a bouldering cave:

        • As much as the solitude of climbing by myself would bring me so much peace, as it would you, too. Please don’t go doing anything like this by yourself. Pushing the envelope and climbing something is awesome, but be smart about it…. anyone can fall regardless of using all 4 limbs or just two. You don’t need to lie there injured waiting for someone to appear.

          Same thing with rock climbing. Of course, I climbed with rope so it’s a mandatory partner sport. But those who would climb free solo (no rope) would at least either have someone with them, or a “check in” time with a friend – if the climber hasn’t been heard from by X-o’clock, then come looking.

        • LOL… I was born climbing like a monkey in a tree. My mother would come screaming out of the house, “Get out of that tree!” She had fallen from a tree when she was young and broke her arm. So I suppose I inherited her love of climbing. But eventually she gave up yelling at me because it wouldn’t work. We lived on a lot of 100 acres of woods…. I remember climbing all the way to the top of the highest tree I could find. I’d go as high as possible where the limbs were no bigger than my wrists. And sit there swaying back and forth in the wind looking down at all the other trees around me. I LOVED it!

        • I grew up in the country too, but we had friends who lived in a different area with great climbing trees. At our country house, we would climb haystacks, buildings, my dad’s piles of hoarded stuff, etc. At the friends house, they had great climbing trees, with thick bark that you could wedge your feet into and scale. We put a rope up there. Talked about making tree houses that would go from tree to tree, etc. I can almost feel it now.

      • I will have to work out more. My upper body is a lot stronger than before, but still probably more weak than I realize. My hip still hasn’t healed. I have a bone stimulator and stuff, but it makes healing slower since I can’t really use it. I am not great at doing all the excercises I am supposed to either. I can put some weight on it. The physical therapist said about 75% of my body weight, and I can use the other leg too, but both are getting atrophied more since I’m in a wheelchair a lot. I need to start getting better though, because deep inside I am still clinging on to a hope of skydiving for MS, and some other fundraising stuff. The better shape my body is in, the easier it will be to do the things I really want to do.

        • Tell you what, I have always wanted to go skydiving. You get in the shape you need to be in and I will join you, for the MS cause. Even though I apparently do not have it, I thought I did (still have something tho, symptoms are still there). So I have had a glimpse of what it is about. But one doesn’t have to have a disease to show support for the cause.

          Yes, your upper body must have strength, but more so endurance. Don’t need the strength to bench press your weight, but must have the endurance to be able to hold on. I’ll bet after your hip heals, go through some therapy, and building your upper body in the meantime, you would do pretty good climbing. Balance and technique is the key. But since your lower body will always be weaker, you can compensate by strengthening your upper body.

          And I’m serious about skydiving. Even though I’ve climbed thousand-foot faces and rappelled hundreds of feet (hanging rap’s, meaning I’m not against a wall, but free hanging coming down over the top of an amphitheater) I still have a fear of jumping off of high places. High dives, cliff diving (short cliffs, not even the big boys). I managed to bungee-jump, partly because I love the adrenaline, but also because of my fear of jumping from high places. Now, sky diving is my last of things I want to do to say “fuck you” to my only fear.

        • Lol, that would be wonderful! I don’t think I will be afraid, although I am sure I will have a huge adrenaline rush. I just have wanted to do it for so long. Okay, so I will try to improve my endurance and strength, and I will let you know if/when we will go. Thanks Michelle!

        • I just need enough time to tuck money away for either the drive or flight – depends on how far you are from me. I have emergency money set aside which would easily cover any trip anywhere in the US – but I never dip into my reserves unless it is an emergency.

        • Smart thinking. I am an idea person, and not much of a planner, but I will give you a head’s up when I get even close to thinking that I might be ready to go. The hardest part for me is going to be figuring out and then making it into a fund raising event. The MS society will help with a lot of those details too though.

        • If you need graphics or a website, let me know. I’m all over it. Happy to create a subdomain on my GoDaddy hosting account. I’m going to upgrade to unlimited shortly… when I have just about maxed out on my account as it stands now. Don’t need to pay the extra for unlimited until it’s time, ya know.

    • Oh, it is to me. If I had a tree like that next to me and it wasn’t illegal to climb, I would drop everything I have in my hands and scamper up that puppy in a heartbeat! I will never stop climbing so long as my legs can carry my body. I may not go on rock climbing trips anymore, but if something comes along my way – a brick wall, a nice tree when hiking with the dogs – I’m all over it. I don’t care how many years my body has been walking this earth. I’m still a kid at heart.

    • 😀
      Sheesh, I’ve been so busy. I have over 500 emails in my inbox and I refuse to delete them as I want to read – at least skim – all the posts.

      Been doing Lyn’s site, and actually getting some contract business doing websites and graphics. yay! Hopefully will work out more and more so i can leave my current job that I hate.

      Hope you are well.

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