Today, Catalina, Esteban's sister, and a guide for adventures in Costa Rica took me out tree climbing. We hiked into the rainforest to this giant Fichus tree named Abraham, so named because he watches over the entire forest. I would be climbing up 120 feet (think a 10-12 story building) to a large platform that would take me into the forest canopy.
Climbing up was like climbing the rope in gym class, but harder, as I weigh a lot more than I did then and don't seem to have a lot of upper body strength. There is a rigging system so that you use your legs and upper body to climb, which once you get the coordination of it all, is hard, but not impossible.
The hard part for me was that we were filming it, so I had to keep stopping and hanging in the air, while we got different angles, meaning that my legs got a little cramped. It also gave me time to look around and see this primary rainforest from a different angle. A howler monkey was right across from me climbing around in the leaves of a tree. It was so cool to be so close to this cute monkey, who Catalina said may have gotten ousted from a group.
Catalina and I hung out for a bit at the top, before we did the most fun part of the tree climb, rappelling down. You have to keep your feet on the platform and lower yourself down so that your head is below your feet before you let your feet go and begin the free fall. It was a lot of fun, though I didn't go as fast as I could have. I was holding on a bit to take in the forest and for fear of falling too fast.
Tree climbing in Costa Rica is on a whole other level from the small singular trees of my childhood, and boy is it fun.