Monday, June 13, 2011

zomg Denmark part 2: The Bicentennial Tree

After the Treetop walk, we went back to our chalet for another delicious dinner (satay lamb kabobs, omg so good) with good wine and really great stories of Y's encounters with ghosts and spirits in Indonesia. Apparently Indo (as Y referred to her home country) ghosts are very firm on the rules of the rainforest; for example, DO NOT under any circumstances take eggs with you into the rainforest. The spirits really love eggs and will keep you from leaving the forest until you give them the eggs. Also, don't walk around at dusk or dawn, as the twilight hours are when the spirits like to take visible form. I earned a little cred by telling Y about my own ghost experience in Aunt Vi's house in Santa Barbara, which is haunted by a particularly evil and chauvanistic male ghost who murdered lots of women and has to be kept in line by strong women like Aunt Vi. Y is an excellent story-teller, and it was a wonderful to way to spend an evening with a glass (or several) of wine.
Once we were done with dinner and cleaning up, we all jumped into the car and drove back to the swamp-thing place we'd visited in the morning in order to get a good view of the night sky (too many trees at the chalets).
It was incredible. It's all different down here -I didn't recognize anything at all. I mean, I'm definitely no astronomer, but I can usually pick out Orion, Cassiopeia, and of course Ursa Major and Minor, but the sky looks completely different. Of course the Dippers can't be seen from here, but I have a hard time even finding Orion because it gets blurred out from the brightness of all the other stars, on top of me not even knowing in which part of the sky to start looking. There was a storm coming in from the south, so unfortunately I didn't get to find the Southern Cross, but another time for sure.

Time to head back to Perth. However, we definitely took the meandering way home. We stopped off at a chocolate factory (mango truffles!), a lovely winery (I'm the unsophisticated bogun who swallows all the tastings, but I pretended it was okay since D, S and Y all bought wine), a meadery/honey shop (honey-passionfruit and honey-hazelnut = Best. Ice-cream. EVER.).

We also climbed the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, which is a 70-ish meter tall karri tree that has been "pegged" with 130 giant steel nails that allow you to climb up to the top.

The warning sign on the ground. Apparently this -plus people actually being intelligent and not climbing int he first place- counts as insurance.

The giant steel nails form a ladder you can climb.
Climbing this tree was definitely one of the more terrifying experiences of my life.
I'm not even entirely sure why; I don't mind heights particularly, and I love climbing trees. I've scaled all the big trees on our land more than once, doing stupid things like hanging upside down by my knees from dead branches in gale-like winds. Maybe it was the fact that these pegs were so spaced out; it seemed precariously easy to slip into the spaces between the bars (especially for little girls like me). Maybe it was the fact that there really wasn't anything to break the fall other than your own neck; at least when you climb trees with actual branches you have the sense you can catch yourself on the way down. Whatever it was, I could only go up two bars before I had to stop and concentrate on not hyperventilating. Seriously.

Only sheer force of will from the desire to not be a total wimp got me to the halfway platform (about 30 meters up, which is about 90 feet), where I stayed until my hands stopped shaking.

The view looking down from the halfway platform. That's S sitting on the bench, being intelligent.

View of the other karri trees from the halfway platform, which was not scary in the least.

D, on his way down from climbing to the top like a pro.
The sign at the halfway platform. Rwar.

Getting back down was scary, as I had to go backwards off the platform onto the pegs.

However, once again sheer stubbornness helped, along with some soothing words from D, and getting down was surprisingly easier than getting up. On the ground, I had to sit for a while to let the shakiness go away, but after D suggested S go partway up the pegs for a photo, I earned a tiny bit of cred back by climbing up the pegs on the bottom side and showing them how to properly hang from your knees.

Yep, I don't make much sense.
I feel the strong need to go back and do it again.

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