After our Tree Week adventure, we couldn't wait for all of our tree climbing gear from New Tribe to arrive so that we could start climbing trees in Hawaii. Well, it finally arrived, and last weekend we made it out to The Sentinal. The Sentinal is a tree that we have been admiring since we moved here, 7 years ago. As you can see from this picture, it's huge and sprawling, but it's off trail, so it's very easy to miss if you're not paying attention and looking around. We call it The Sentinal because he has such a commanding presence and seems to be standing guard in the forest, making sure everything is as it should be.
The Sentinal provides some challenges. For one thing, he's a lot taller than we thought! The lowest living branch is probably about 55' up. We each have 120' of rope, and if we climb DRT that means we can anchor to a branch that is up to...oh, about 55' high! (DRT-double rope technique-one end of the rope is on the ground, the other is thrown over a branch and fed back down to the ground, and that loose end gets tied to the rope that is going from the ground up into the tree. These knots are what you clip onto your harness and what you use to ascend and descend. This is also where you lose about 5 feet of length off your rope.) Once we are in the tree, we can throw our rope up to a higher branch, but the trick is being able to get back down. If you're not being careful, The Sentinal also has a propensity to swing you around to the opposite side of the tree, where the ground drops off and you can easily find yourself in a situation where you don't have enough rope to get all the way back down to the ground.
You can see my husband in the bottom right corner of the picture (gives you some perspective on the tree, doesn't it!)-he is anchored to the branch directly above him. We would have used the other branch that is directly across from it but the ground is lower on that side and, also, that branch that is right underneath it is completely dead, and you don't want to be climbing up under something like that. The one that looks like it is sticking straight out, toward the camera, is also dead, and it's just a nubbin, where a previous branch broke off. So, only one of us was able to climb at a time, which was a bummer, but we still had a great time getting up into the tree and checking it out. It is seriously cool! We are definitely planning a return trip, and we will try some single rope techniques which should allow us to get up into some higher branches and move around a little bit. This also looks like it will be a great place to hang some treeboats! I'll keep you updated.