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Extreme Tree Climbing

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In a February 4 republication of a column from retired humor writer Dave Barry, the Gem State made a notable appearance. If you missed this column the first time around, it tells the story of one of Barry's trips to Idaho (which according to Barry boasts the "official motto: 'Nobody Knows Where It Is'"), in which Barry and host, novel writer and former Spud State resident Ridley Pearson embarked on a recreational adventure of questionable safety that morphs the seemingly harmless childhood pasttime of tree climbing into something worthy of the Summer X Games.

Why does BW deem an old Barry column Rec News worthy? Because Barry opines on Idaho's outdoors and the residents' obsession with said outdoors, and suggests an intriguing new sport. Barry claims that Pearson's proclivity to such "insane" recreational activities as tree climbing stems from the fact that Idaho residents "are able to enjoy year-round interaction with the natural environment, which gradually drives them insane." And, given Idahoans' tendency to ski, board, climb, jump, paddle, bike and otherwise affront our environment daily, perhaps he is onto something regarding the slightly psychotic mental state of the state. Bearing that in mind, Pearson's idea of tree climbing may be just the sort of recreational activity you'd find yourself reading about in BW's Rec section. For now, we'll introduce you to the mini-version: Find a large, seemingly unstable tree (preferably one growing out over a suspect body of water filled with animals known for their nasty temperament or one dangling by a root over a gnarly canyon), climb into a makeshift harness which clips to branches as you climb and then rappel down once you've reached the tree's top. Extreme tree conquering ... we dig it.

Read a republication of Barry's column on the New York Daily News Web site at www.nydailynews.com.