Viewing Portland from a tree

By Chelsea Schuyler

What’s it like to be nestled in the canopy of a tree you climbed yourself? Inspiring, a little nerve-racking, and totally exhilarating. All I can say is the pictures don’t do it justice (but check ‘em out anyway!).

Friends of Trees teamed up with the Pacific Tree Climbing Institute (PTCI) and Irvington Community Association last Saturday at Irving Park. PTCI offers guided tree climbing expeditions to give people a whole new appreciation for the value and beauty of our forests.

While I awaited my turn, the kids ahead of me living out Tarzan fantasies, I asked Debbie Seppa, office manager and chef for PTCI, what kind of people typically come to climb with them.

She responded that lately they’ve been getting a lot of ‘bucket listers,’ folks wanting to do all the crazy, inspiring stuff that makes life great before they kick the bucket. I was surprised to hear this; I hadn’t considered climbing a tree to be on the great To Do list. Then it was my turn.

Hauling myself sixty feet up in the branches of a 100? 200? (ish) year old Red Oak, I couldn’t help but take in a deep breath. There was something about touching the bark of the upper boughs that I will never touch again, with a view I will never see again; I was indeed moved.

Really, get to know a tree like this and you’ll get just as cheesy. I can see why these guys do this for a living—who knew you could get away from it all, just by going up!

My climb was just scratching the surface of what PTCI can do. They host overnight trips, where you actually sleep in a hammock 250 feet above ground Never Never Land style, and are served organic breakfasts and dinners made in an outdoor kitchen. (Not a trip where you’d want to forget the fork.)

Thanks again for taking us up there Nick, Rob, Jason, Debbie, Katie, and Jesse. We all had a blast!