Monday, October 15 , 2018, 7:53 pm | Fair 65º

 
 
 
 

Captain’s Log: Tree Climbing Has Its Ups (Mostly) and Downs

It's great fun, and a little dangerous; share your experiences with going out on a limb

Tree climbing is great for kids. Well, maybe kids of all ages, since I still occasionally find myself drawn to forks and lower branches of large creek bed trees.

But for kids, tree climbing is pure adventure, complete with thrills, danger and, best of all, a sense of accomplishment. It’s also excellent physical training.

Is it dangerous? Yup, and I’ve fallen out of a couple of trees in my time. It hurts. I’ve had friends fall and break a limb — their own, not the tree, though the two mishaps occasionally happen together. The pastime doesn’t come without dangers. Climbers (and their parents) must accept those dangers or institute a draconian no-climb rule. Personally, I’m glad my parents encouraged me to climb.

Along our local creek beds you’ll find hundreds of trees just perfect for climbing. Some are even perfect for a treehouse. Tree climbing is one of the most fun activities when taking kids to the creek bed. Well, that and slogging through the water. For safety I must advise against going in the water when it is running fast and deep from rains. Otherwise, it’s a blast.

Many lucky kids don’t have to go beyond their own yards to find good trees to climb. That sure worked for me when I was a kid. I recall that whenever my parents invited people over who I didn’t particularly enjoy, I became very hard to find. Sure, my mom and dad knew where I was, and sometimes they would even stand right below the tree and comment to the guests that they wonder where their son got off to. That was their way of telling me it was OK. They usually just let me be, at least until dinnertime.

Come to think of it, I often went up the tree even when I did like the guests, but I’d invite their kids to join me. It was great fun, and the parents didn’t mind because the activity kept us entertained and the parents had an opportunity to chat or play cards.

Climbing a tree is great fun, but climbing a tree to free a cat is ill-advised at best. At the worse it is like sending a kid to do adult work. Cats are made for climbing. We aren’t exactly well-designed for it, which is why it is such an adventure for us. If cats really needed help getting down from trees, we’d be finding cat skeletons in trees.

Just give a cat time, or better yet, put a bowl of milk below the tree where the cat can see it. I don’t mind confessing that I tried a couple of times as a kid. After watching my relatively clumsy climb, each of the cats I tried to “rescue” decided they were better off on their own, and I end up with scratches on my arms and hands as reward for my heroism.

Share (with comments) your own best and worst experiences with tree climbing when you were a kid. If you’re still a kid, that’s OK; share your story anyway.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.