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Spring Has Sprung

Author: jmaher
Date: April 21, 2005
The first day of spring may have officially presented itself more than a month ago but it has not been until today that I have fully accepted its coming. The previous two days have been spent putting children into the treetops at a Spring Festival climb in Sharpsburg, Georgia, and today I have spent more than two hours simply sitting in the top of a large white oak, surveying my treetop kingdom and feeling the sun and warm breeze as they pamper me. Day after tomorrow I'll be leaving for Virginia and the spring climb at Bob Wray's Blue Ridge Parkway Climb-In. Spring is definitely here.

I noticed a thread the other day on the message forum talking about the first climb of the year. It must be rough having to wait until April to make your first climb of the year. The first climb of the year for me came along on January 1, 2005 and took me upwards to one-hundred-and sixty feet in a large rainforest emergent in a tropical forest. The seasons have little meaning in the tropics. There are only two-the wet season and the dry season; everything else is pretty much the same. I will have to allow that it is rather nice being able to experience the transition from the cold of winter to the warmth and re-birth of spring.

Not everything about spring is sweetness and light, however. There's the pollen. After my climb in the white oak I notice that my graying hair is no longer gray, it is yellow. There is also a fine coat of the yellow dust all over my harness, my clothing, and on my skin, held in place by the glistening sweat of a difficult ascent followed by a cooling off that allowed the yellow stuff to remain glued in place. I haven't begun coughing yet, but the runny nose is in full flow.

The warm weather also brought out a large crowd of youthful climbers for the festival climb in Sharpsburg, so many in fact that it will take me a few days to recover from the two long days of assisting the budding canopy explorers on their way into the seldom visited world above their heads. An exciting but tiring experience!

Time to start packing my gear for the drive up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Climbing equipment, camping equipment, and a few changes of clothes. A few warm clothes might still be a necessity so I'll throw them in too. What else? Nothing! Time to go climbing.

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