People who rock climb seem to have a sort of willingness to test fate. They chose a sport that kicks in the endorphins. They get a high from being in the air, and choosing to go mano-a-mano with the patient, omnipresent, and unforgiving law of gravity. Gravity; treacherous, tyrannical and the bane of beautiful, yet constantly concerned ageing people everywhere. Who in their right mind would chose such a foe for a weekend competition?
In the same vein, who in their right mind would chose to fight this stalwart foe every day, without much more than a crazed glint in their eye, an up-armored bike helmet and a 3/4th inch nylon rope. An arborist, that’s who. Not that guy on the Discovery channel, the guy next to the monkeys in the tree. The monkey in the Carhartts with the helmet on.
I’ve been privileged to see several wild-eyed fruitcakes doing things that probably would best have been left un-done, but if I were to chose the single job that rated high in OSHA’s ‘Oh, that’s just too dangerous‘ file, the madmen in the trees take the cake. Oh, it’s not that they’re nuts, they get out everyday, do their endorphin spiking labors, and when they return to terra firma, the rest of life is on level ground. Without the lunacy, which is a constant, I’d imagine things might be kind of a let down on hard ground. I think they deserve that cock-eyed grin, the twitches and the wacky swagger. I’ve never seen any of them call off a days work due to inclimate weather.
Constantly up in whichever tree beckons, with a trusty chainsaw and the alertness that allows them to watch each others back and get the job done. These guys hang from a tall tree for hours, wielding, with one hand, a machine that has the soul purpose of severing things. In the other hand, they’re holding the string that keeps them aloft. It is a bit crazy, but the guys who do this are great to have a beer with. They revel in their comradery, their tree work and their tools.
These are the folks who introduced me to the gas powered drill. Apparently, some tree trunks have two seperating forks that might split. To hold the split together bolts are driven through them to keep the split from expanding. This requires a large drill bit to be driven through the tree limbs in order to install the bolt. And drilling that hole, often through a foot and a half diameter limb, takes quite a drill. No cordless drill has the capability needed to perform such a task, and only a very large household drill might work for their needs. Alas, extension cords aren’t a good idea at an off-ground work site. That electrcal cord, along with the rope that serves as a life-line against falling, could get mixed up. If a climber were to grab the wrong line, it might be a quick ride down with dire results, so any power corded electric drill is frowned upon.
That’s why this crazy tool exists, and I can say without provocation that I’d buy one if I were building a back-woods forrest treehouse. Oh, it is bit large, but I used one to drive an eight inch screw through two oak planks two inches thick. That requires a lot of chutzpah, and this thing was all over it. Since the back-woods treehouse is still a long while off, I guess I’ll have to keep my memory strong with the image on my MANVIL cards. But I’ll relish the opportunity I’ve had to meet some pretty wacky people who live their lives in trees already.