Overcoming (high) obstacles

For many people, tree climbing is a childhood hobby that becomes less attractive as they grow older (and more risk averse). For me, (Rock Chalk) the opposite happened. I grew up in an area without big trees, and played games that kept my feet on the ground. As an adult, I discovered geocaching and the thrill of trying something new: tree climbing caches.

Some climbing caches are more accessible than others. Those that require ropes, harnesses and other gear can be fantastic, but may be beyond the reach of non-technical climbers. However, geocaches in trees are often suitable for a wide variety of ages and abilities. So what makes for a great tree climbing geocache experience?

  • The right tree: It should be sturdy enough for an adult to climb. If the limbs are too thin, it can be hazardous for the geocacher and the tree. (Never damage a tree or other wildlife while attempting to find a geocache.)
  • The right equipment: Even if you don’t need ropes or harnesses, you must wear the correct footwear and other apparel. Flip-flops are a no-no!
  • The right day: Don’t attempt to climb in wet, icy or otherwise dangerous conditions. And be sure to bring a friend. Not just to keep an eye on you, but to take great pictures!

Tree climbing geocaches are a blast. For me, it’s a combination of adrenaline rush and natural beauty that’s hard to beat. On that note, I can’t stress enough the importance of safety in your pursuit. If at any point you feel you’re taking an unnecessary risk, just stop and return to terra firma.

I could talk all day about my personal favorite tree climbing experiences, but just a few that come to mind are “Bird House” (Fort Myers, FL) and Secret Squirrel Society (Seattle, WA). I’ve only been up in a few trees outside North America, and the most spectacular of those required special equipment. That’s an entirely different blog post!

Have you ever climbed for a smiley?