Climbing into the canopy

Understanding a rainforest by only walking through it is like visiting a new city but never leaving the tourist spots. You have only seen it from one perspective, when many others are available. The canopy of a forest can be an entirely different world. But how to get up to it, when the tallest trees may easily reach 30 meters in height? A canopy tower – a rickety construction of steel tubes, guy wires, and U-bolts, thrusting high into the sky. Here there are several towers, linked by a canopy walkway. You can see the ultimate reaches of one here – each level is separated by the better part of a meter.

Climbing up requires the use of your hands and feet – the metal is slick with algae and mosses, and there is nothing to catch you if you fall. The tower sways in the wind, and as you take each step.

Looking down on the way up is not a good idea – here, my rubber boot obscures the steps.

Finally, the top – all is suddenly sunny, and the canopy leaves of so many trees and lianas become visible. Birds and insects fly between treetops. The canopy walkway probably holds your weight, and you hope for no sudden gusts of wind. There are several weather instruments bolted to different parts of the steel frame, and leaves scattered on the walkway.

And finally, the view becomes expansive – instead of the dark mire of rocks and trunks and roots, you see ridgelines, and ocean, and the rough tops of the trees. It is beautiful!

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