Well, here is some of the story:
Horace Greeley famously said, "Go West Young Rogue" and so I did, first to meet my son in Tucson.
We drove down to the El Picante Biosphere Reserve in Mexico with seven botanists and ecologists, most from the University of Arizona,
some from as far away as Shanghai and Denmark. We camped both in the desert and on a beach to study the amazingly robust Spring Bloom in the desert.
With all this rain it was literally a carpet of flowers.
After that I flew up to San Fran, was met at the airport by Oak and we headed up to Occidental and a number of climbs in Redwoods and Douglas Firs.
Friday evening we shopped for food, made and ate dinner and talked equipment and climbing technique till late.
Saturday morning we hauled out all our gear and went through several practice climbs using different methods of SRT and then packed up and hiked up the valley.
We climbed a redwood (first-time for Oak, too) that sported five top reiterations, but the remnants of two are so old and riddled they'll soon be gone,
leaving "Triceratops", as we named it.
A fun climb, but not too much roam-around room in the crown. Then we climbed a nice Douglas Fir.
Sunday morning we refined our gear and techniques and practiced an SRT rescue
(Oak was quite talkative for an unconscious climber
but that is likely due to the fact that I kept talking to him and he's too polite not to answer, conscious or not).
Then we went up Fusion Giant (the tree Oak took David, Joe, and Bill up), which was great fun. We stood on the very top and grabbed a picture of ourselves against the sky.
Later we went to the Armstrong Grove and stood 'under' a giant in a goose pen tree. Those are the two pics above.
Monday we first climbed a Douglas Fir that had a Blue Cheese smell about it. The multitude of red ants, which once crushed smelled like blue cheese, alerted one another that two humans had breached their forward lines by ascending right around their perimeter and we were met in the top of the tree by a strong force of the 'cheese-smell-ant defenders' who succeeded in driving us out of their tree.
Oak wanted to name it "Pain in the Ants",but we realized looking at the tree that it already had experienced a difficult life and that name might be a little too negative.
Oak then came up with a super name: "Ants in our Pants" and the name stunk, errr, I mean stuck!
After the Douglas Fir we headed over to another old master Redwood with a whole lot of dead in it, but we only climbed up to a wide horizontal branch where we hung out for a while.
Sam hung one of his self-designed, self-manufactured hammocks to try it out.
After a good time we rappelled down so I could pack and after a nice Indian dinner Oak dropped me off at the airport shuttle to catch the 11:59pm red-eye home to the East Coast.
I had a 40 minute layover in Atlanta but that was hardly enough time to get outside and scramble up a tree.
I am back in Delaware where the tallest tree in the state is not as tall as the Poison Oak that is growing up the side of the Parson Jones Redwood
that 'vine' is the poison oak, about 200 ft tall!
Almost all of my gear has been through the washing machine now, due to the Sudden Oak Death nemesis (Phytophthora ramorum).
When I soaked my Petzl helmet in a bucket o' sudsy soap and scrubbed it I found out the straps were really grey, not black!
The water came out dark, very dark indeed... maybe I'll get a dedicated rec helmet and leave the work helmet on the tree truck...
I can't wait to get back out there and find some more interesting trees to climb.
Thanks Oak for a great experience and all your generosity; a true 'Rogue' in the best sense of the title