I climbed a tree!
Not just any tree … a 72 metre karri tree … that’s right 72 metres high, straight up stepping on a ladder made of metal spikes inserted into the trunk of the tree.
It’s a couple of years now since I returned home from a trip across the Nullabor Plain that included driving down through the south of Western Australia. The trip was as I recall, filled with sheer wonder. I can only describe it as a once in a lifetime experience.
Now about the tree. It’s called the Gloucester Tree, a giant karri tree near Pemberton in the Gloucester National Park. I had been told about it and read some information before deciding to find it and climb it. The tree is 250 years old and has a man-made platform near the top that is used as a fire lookout for the surrounding area. Once a month an engineer checks the steel rods used to climb up on and once every three months an arborist climbs the tree and checks it’s health. You can see the steel rods in the photo.
The way to the top is by stepping up onto steel rods inserted into the trunk in a slightly spiral fashion. There is some flimsy wire attached to the outside of the steel rods which is there to stop people climbing out onto limbs, and the sign at the bottom notes that you climb at your own risk. There is nothing to stop anyone from falling down.
I was particularly confident, as it was my choice to climb, however after a few minutes chatting with the ranger at the base of the tree I began to wonder if I had made the right decision. Without any further thought, I embarked on the climb.
Half way up I could feel my heart rate increasing to a point that I decided to stop and catch my breath. I didn’t feel anxious about the height; it was more about realising the impact of what I was doing and how taxing it was on my body to lift my weight with each step. It was similar to climbing a ladder that had the rungs much further apart than normal. So it was monkey grip with the hands and the feet following. I climbed exactly as the ranger suggested making the climb as easy as possible.
When I reached the top and was enjoying the view I reminded myself to take in the experience. I had climbed a 72 metre karri tree. Something I may never do again and something I will always remember.
We stayed up the top on the landing for about 20 minutes taking in the view and then returned to the bottom. This was a little easier coming down as we had gravity on our side. Other than that the risk was equally as high.
There was clapping from onlookers as we reached the ground. I took another minute to think about what I had just done. It was exhilarating.
That was not the end of it!! Three days later I was suffering as my muscles told me they had well and truly been given a work out.
It is like anything in life … challenge yourself every day to do something that you are not used to doing, something that tests and stretches your body or mind. Sometimes the after effects will be painful, like the first day snow skiing for the season, your very first workout at a gym or the effect of learning something new that challenges your mind.
Anytime you really stretch yourself you may feel pain.
I am not going to continue to climb trees everyday, but I will continue to stretch myself to make changes in my life and my business and to learn and grow.
Challenge yourself to do the same. Continue to grow, to learn and to stretch yourself in any area of your life you can, knowing that you will feel uncomfortable out of your comfort zone, but with the knowledge that it will be worthwhile and absolutely rewarding.
Leave a message below if you have climbed the Gloucester Tree or similar, or have had an experience that is memorable in a similar way.