The whole Rabuchin family ventured out to try recreational tree climbing this past Sunday (yes, the beautiful 55 degree day!) with Katie Oakley of Tree Time L.L.C. Did you even know there was such a thing? This is not the way you traditionally think of tree climbing (like a squirrel scurrying up some branches), this is getting harnessed in and being suspended from a rope while inch-worming your way up a magnificent oak. Our kids (11,11, and 9) seemed to be perfect ages to join in this activity. They were able to follow the simple directions and delight in their 50 foot ascent to the upper canopy of the tree. The kids favorite part was the canvas hammock perched in the tree that they climbed over and into and they enjoyed a snack and took in the scenery. My favorite part was laughing at Steve because the kids figured it out more quickly than he did. Katie does a great job of verbally walking each climber through the steps and giving suggestions of how to maneuver in the tree once you get up in there. We didn't have to bring any equipment. Helmets and harnesses were provided and fitted when we arrived. I borrowed a pair of gloves which was really helpful for my (soft ladylike?? ha) hands on the ropes.
Are you scared? Don't be. In over 30 years of this method of tree climbing there have been zero accidents. Even if you have a fear of heights, it's very serene and a slow moving process where you are mostly looking upwards. Katie (photo), who has a UW degree in Ecology and multiple certifications from Tree Climbing Planet, leads her climbs at a special arborist-approved tree in Marymoor Park in Redmond. She's a longtime Kirkland swimming instructor at Angelfish Swimming, so was hopeful to stay in Kirkland. But when she approached the city with her plan, they weren't interested. Maybe if enough Kirklanders love it as much as she does, there could be some future tree climbing at Juanita Bay Park? Sounds like there are a few perfect trees there. ;-)
A typical climb takes 1.5 hrs and she offers different dates for scheduled climbs, so you just schedule a time that works for you. On our day, she was set up to accomodate 4 climbers at a time. The fee is $25/climber or she also does private parties. It was gorgeous out when we went, but you can climb rain or shine. $1 parking was easy just across the street. Upcoming climbing dates (helloooooo Earth Day!!) are on Tree Time's website. Questions??? 206-948-9935 or firstname.lastname@example.org. See you at the top? ~j