Treehugging as an Extreme Sport

tree-climbing for sport photo

It's not an Olympic sport yet--but who knows... Tree climbing, as in scaling 40 metre high trees for fun, has become a hot new wilderness activity. We all remember the wonder that we felt as a child, sitting on top of the world on a tree branch. Now adults can re-live that moment. There are organized climbs popping up in Ontario, B.C. and the United States. It is considered to be safer and more accessible than other outdoor sports since there are no falling rocks and you don't need a lot of stamina. It is easy to learn the rules: the first thing that you have to do is tell the tree your name and hug it. The treehuggers are harnessed into a "saddle" and there is a guide rope and instructor. The real danger is not plummeting from the top; it's putting your foot into an ant colony or hornet's nest.

Calling it "vertical meditation", climbing seems to have a spiritual aspect to it. Says one instructor: "trees have healing energy, and the climbers themselves feel energized and powerful at the top, as if they've overcome something really huge." Since it takes place in the countryside, the views are spectacular and you are close to the sky and circling birds. Some are predicting that it will surpass rock climbing in the next ten years. Given its growing popularity, what this means for the poor trees is another story which has not yet been addressed. :: The Globe and Mail
More on Tree Climbing
:: Kids Need Risky Sport
:: Kids Have Fun on Trees

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