The first group climb of the newly formed Piedmont Recreational Tree Climbers took place last Saturday at a beautiful sycamore tree along the banks of the Eno River in Hillsborough, NC. It was like a scene from Field of Dreams" as local climbers I only knew via the TCI climber finder map materialized out of the woods at the base of the 10', 7" circumference sycamore. There were 7 of us in all with the promise of three other local climbers interested in future climbs. Volker and his daughter, Lian, have been climbing for years. Susan arrived with a bright white hank of safety blue - she hadn't gotten up the courage to climb since taking the TCI basic course last year. Susan's two boys hadn't ever climbed, but with Volker's tutelage they were climbing like pros and racing their way up to their mom's position soon after getting on rope.
I had been out to the tree earlier in the week to set some tag lines so we could get right up on Saturday. From up in the tree there is a perfect view of a bend in the Eno that forms a small peninsula of land surrounding our sycamore. The tree is in a small, little-known, densely-forested park frequented only by fishermen and the occasional hiker. The only signs of human activity are a gravel parking lot, the trails, and one picnic table - just the right spot for a climb.
We climbed for about 3 hours taking turns on the 4 settings with the kids eating honey suckle, playing with Volker's dog, and exploring the crisscrossing trails when they weren't in the tree. At noon we brought out our lunches and had a picnic at the table.
As we were leaving, a woman and her teenage son came down the path toward us. "Did you see the tree climbers?" she asked. It turned out that they had heard about the group climb somehow and it caught their interest. Maybe they'll be the newest climbers in our group. If you build it they will come...
Here are some pictures of the climb with lots more at our group site and Facebook page.http://climbtreesforfun.blogspot.com/p/group-climb-pictures.htmlhttp://www.facebook.com/climbtreesforfun