A Treasure in the Forest
I knew that this Tree Climb was going to be special from the Start.. On the way to climb I couldn't believe the tiny little Car that I found in the parking lot.. The little old Japanese lady was even more surprised than I was to find a Foreigner in her little town.. We ended up both taking pictures of each other.
Today I was going to be climbing with the Local Education Officials, Environment Officers, The owners of an Ancient Oak and some small kids and their parents and friends. The Katoh Family have had this old tree in the middle of their Hinoki Forest for as long and the family history.. NO one knows how old it is just that hundreds of years ago their ancestors wanted to cut it down but that it was too big at the time and too knarly and knotty to be worth anything so they left it.
The Tree Had some Dead wood and They had ask me if I would climb and Cut it out..So off with the chainsaw and a camera to document the tree. It was quite a climb up to the Tree.. And the trail was steep and wet after 20 minutes of steep climbing we turned a misty corner and there she stood like a Dragon in the mist.. Bearing down on us... Her roots were boring into bare stone and her branches were spreading over 100 feet in all directions.. She was beautiful... And Huge..
She was beautiful from the ground but as soon as I set up ropes with my assistant Nobu for myself, Katoh san and a few others I started up.. It was a wonderful climb because she had some much personality and Character. Hole and cracks, dead wood with other plants and fungus.. I wasn't but a few minutes into the climb that I sent my chainsaw back to the earth... I could feel her saying... I don't need your Help..... Leave me wild and Dignified....
I knew I couldn't cut her but at the same time I hoped that the others including Katoh san would understand my feelings. Katohsan is a forester by heart and I anticipated him balking at my decision.. But as soon as he came up I could see the awe and appreciation in his eyes for such a wonderful Tree. This was Katohsan first Climb but we made it up right away.. He said how glad that his ancestors had left this tree. And once he climbed he would never look at a tree the same.. He said he had to make a living cutting down trees but that he was so glad that they were all new growth planted buy his grandfather and not old growth.

It was a wonderful climb.. The other men and Children all had a chance to climb and enjoy the special tree...I can't wait to go back and visit this wonderful tree.. I know that next time I will trade my chainsaw in for a better Camera. For what I hear Katoh san is doing the same... The Japanese Forests are full of these special treasures...