Climbing to new heights


Cailee King perches on a tree on Oct. 19. Photo by NOREEN KING


With my knees on the unstable tree limb and my hands just grabbing the weak branch, I heard a snap. Many people have told me of their crazy tree climbing experiences, but due to having a growing fear of heights, I could never join in on those hilarious conversations. I always felt left out of those discussions, especially two years ago when I went to Marine Biology with many of my friends, and we were surrounded by climbable trees, so I decided to suck it up and climb a tree.


Rocklin is not exactly the easiest place to find a good tree, but where there is a will, there is a way. I went to Johnson Springview park, and after dodging through many games of frisbee golf, I found the perfect tree. By perfect I mean dizzyingly tall for someone who is afraid of heights, way too many thin branches, and long leaps without very many handholds and footholds.

On this particular day, I had decided to wear jeans; which was a good idea because bugs were climbing with me and it prevented scratches on my legs, but it was bad because there was less mobility in my legs.

The first five-ish steps were easy and tricked me into a state of false confidence. After that, there was a little nook where I ridiculously sat down because I thought it would be easier to shimmy up the tree; it was not. I had to get up which sounds easier than it is because the tree limb that I was sitting on was about a foot wide and my jeans would not let me up. I never got completely on my feet but I did get to my knees which was good enough for me. So with my knees on the unstable tree limb and my hands just grabbing the weak branch, I heard a snap. Luckily it was a small twig my hand knocked, but it was still pretty nerve racking.

Finally after just starting to enjoy myself, I had to get down because I could not go any higher and I was starting to lose feeling in my arms. I made my way pretty easily to that nook again, but again that is where it got tricky. I could not turn around or reach the nearest foothold; I was seriously wondering how I had gotten up there. Of course the only option left for me was to jump, and with a little screaming at and complaining about the tree, I landed safely amongst the leaves.


Do not be afraid to try something that scares you because with my tree climbing experience, those few seconds before I had another panic attack, I was confident, proud, and content; I had done something that frightened me, and I was going to be alright.