Most arborists are aware of tree climbing as a work activity, and a few climb trees as a form of recreation. James Aldred has made a successful career out climbing trees for exploration and filming, and his book provides a gripping read. Many of us know the hard work involved in getting into a tree and can appreciate the blood, and sweat, and dirt that often comes with the task. Aldred’s narrative adds a few layers of additional horror as he describes setting up camera placements and platforms for filming all sorts of nature documentaries for well-known luminaries such as David Attenborough.
His adventures encompass many places throughout the tropics and elsewhere. The horrors include botflies, snakes, bees, ants, rampaging bull elephants, bizarre diseases, an assortment of skin issues, and attacks by a harpy eagle. His adventures include watching the local natives climb trees with no ropes or equipment as they help him out, or documenting construction of tree houses that use no nails or screws, just planks, lianas, and home-made ropes.
All in all a very good read and inspirational for any arborists dreaming of the big trees in exotic places. The one drawback is that there are no pictures. Perhaps there will be a follow-up book to deal with what must surely be a fascinating set of images in areas most of us will never see. A good book to add to the Christmas present list!
I did find one Youtube link that gives some sense of his travels: