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Hi and thanks for landing here. It might seem a bit backward, but I decided to start blogging only because I've been enjoying Twitter so much. While I love the 140 character limit of tweets, I realised that a blog would give me a place where I could have the luxury of saying a bit more. I've also set up here because I have a blogging project in mind... but more on that later.
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Photo of one of the world's tallest trees, the President in northern California
Snapping a tall tree

Posted on 11 January 2013, 23:10

I was a bit late to this story, but just before Christmas, National Geographic announced that one of the world’s tallest trees, the 247 foot ‘President’, a giant sequoia in Prairie Creek, California, has had its picture taken. It’s a composite picture actually, stitched together from 126 separate shots.

I only mention it because I’d like to recommend one of the best books I’ve read recently called The Wild Trees, by Richard Preston. It’s about one of the last unexplored places on earth – the forest canopy – and tells the often hair-raising story of how the huge trees of northern California were first climbed in the 1960s and 70s.

The story is poetic, quixotic and often dramatic, with people climbing and then falling out of trees and trees themselves being felled by high winds. Since reading it, the book’s stayed with me and I still think about it.

Biologists were slow to realise that to study the canopy they would need climbing skills. According to one early climbing scientist: ‘People said, “What do you mean, you’re going up into the trees? There’s nothing up there. That’s just Tarzan and Jane stuff.” She believed that she was on to something. “I felt like, Wow, here’s this new place nobody’s been to.”’

I grew up climbing trees myself, so the book had extra appeal for me, but I recommend it for anyone who enjoys an unexpected and well-told story and wants to know more about one of the world’s last frontiers.

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Thanks for the recommend of Robert Mcfarlane’s book, Ange. I’ll look forward to reading it. And thanks Sara. You can borrow my copy!

Simon, Sat 12 Jan, 05:46

Love this Si! Amazing photo. I’d like to read the book xx

Sara elsarrag, Sat 12 Jan, 04:12

Sounds like a good read, and reminds of a very inspiring book I read recently – Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places. (‘Wild’ is obviously the quest of the moment.) Macfarlane visits a number of remote and wild places in the British Isles and writes movingly and imaginatively about not only the places, but the inner journey too.

Angela Reith, Sat 12 Jan, 00:34

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