Climbing an Exotic "Tree" in the Thai National Forest
From "Diary from Asia" Monday, November 27, 2006
Photos courtesy of Sandra Stirnweis, COMS
Click here for the story in the Diary that relates to these pictures.
While in the Thai National Forest, we saw a "tree" that grows from the top down. Its seeds catch in the top of a tree and it drops its roots down, which grow and widen until they surround the host tree, which then dies and leaves a large hollow at the base.
Climbing this "tree" was exhilarating and a little scary. There weren't many "branches" and you kind of pushed yourself up between vines or trunks. It was a lot like trying to work your way up a pile of tiddly-winks, with random openings between the sticks.
[below] I wanted to climb through to the hollow inside, but the "branches" were close enough that I could get myself stuck. I found an opening I thought looked big enough and put my legs and part of my hips through it and sure enough, I got stuck! The opening was narrow at the bottom where the "sticks" crossed, so I lifted myself up while my legs dangled inside until finally there seemed to be enough room to lower myself again, and BOOM! I was inside!
[below] Stephan was unable to find an opening big enough to go through,
but he got a lot higher than I did before he had to come down.
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