STORIES FROM THE WOODS XVII ~ HIGHLINING is Happening

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“HANGING OUT WITH FRIENDS “ – Definitely takes on higher meaning when HIGHLINING ! Still a very new and evolving outdoor sport – it’s what’s happening in Joshua Tree National Park !

I’ve been traveling to each National Park in the West for many years now and I’ve seen Rock Climbers of many ages conquering their summits. What I was thrilled to see at Joshua Tree was so many 20 to 30 year olds – interacting with each other and having a blast – Outside in their National Park !

Started my visit in this national park in my usual way – going immediately to the Visitor Center to check out what was happening this season. The Front Door appeal to this park is a little dusty but the deeper you delve into its many areas of intrigue – the more you will discover the colorful facets of this diamond in the rough. There are vast views of open land you can meditate on or there are Gigantic Rock Piles from prehistoric time to be conquered !

As soon as I hit the parking lot of Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree – I was struck by the sight of a human being suspended in the sky !

My eyes couldn’t see the nearly invisible rope that was sustaining the figure nearly 150 yards away. I stood starring in awe – till suddenly he fell off. Fortunately he was retrieved by the climbing harness that acts like a leash springing him back up to the main line, before he could fall down more than a few feet. Thank God for this safety device because there is No Net below ! These quiet and intensely focused individuals are Sky Walkers – as they pull themselves up to a vertical standing position – then proceed to tightrope from the tip of a huge boulder to the top of a giant pinnacle – on a 1 inch rope ! Personally, I’m not going to do it but I did enjoy observing and photographing the human figure suspended !

When I asked John at NOMAD VENTURES – (the local mountain equipment store ) – “Why Highlining /Slacklining over Rock Climbing ?” There is a real special Oneness like surfing – that takes place between the individual and the source of all – while Highlining. You must unite with being suspended and you have to remain in such total concentration while balancing that you can’t think about your problems – so its a release from daily tensions. You can come of it with a huge sense of well being ! ”

I was amazed that some of our National Parks were cool enough to allow Rock Climbing and Highlining/Slacklining. Happy 100th Anniversary and a pat on the back to our National Park Service – for having the mastery to set free new outdoor enthusiasts who have found new ways to enjoy their park.

I decided to ask Dan Messaros – National Park Service Law Enforcement – “ How do you feel about these activities and are there many accidents ?
Dan was glad to respond “ We haven’t had very many problems. There seem to be less injuries with Highlining than Rock Climbing really. We haven’t had many emergency calls in the last 5 years that I am aware of. We ask all Highliners to wear their climbing harness leashed to the main line for their safety and that of our park.”

Do You want to Hang Out – literally ?

Do You want to try Highlining ?
Before you buy the gear – I recommend you go check it – watch it live in Joshua Tree National Park ! Can you see yourself Hanging Out there?

Joshua Tree National Park asks You to –  LEAVE NO TRACE !!     www.LNT.org
( Learn how to minimize your impact on the fragile desert soil. Keep it alive so You can keep enjoying it ! )

2016 is the Fourth Year on the QUEST – to paint ‘live’ in every National Park in America !
Now having totally committed my life and talents to help promote and protect the Parks, I am traveling by truck and trailer to each Park. Then hiking, kayaking and horseback riding in search of the ultimate scene. Finally setting up with portable easel and oil paints, I set out to capture in paint, the wonders that make each National Park a treasure to Americans and all the people of the world !