I’d been looking at this baobab tree for two days now. I have to admit I still carry with me a childhood desires to climb just about everything I see and since I’ve been here I’ve sought after no greater prize has than the massive Baobabs that dot the landscape. What caught my eye about this tree specifically, other than its immense size is I thought I could actually make it up.
A little bit about baobab legend and anatomy: The back story goes that the baobab was the most boastful of trees. As punishment for its vanity God placed them upside down with their branches in the Earth and their roots stretching out to the heavens. At least that’s how the local people explain the uniquely awkward shape. From the tree climbing enthusiast’s perspective this unique shape is exactly why they are so challenging and rewarding to climb. A Baobab is mainly a massive trunk (not all wood though its hollow, but more about that later) that normally stretches a good ten to twenty feet from the ground before branches start to jet outward. This of course isn’t all baobabs; there are some that have braches nearly touching the ground or others that time has tipped over providing its own unique characteristics. But part of the appeal is the challenge and it’s the stereotypical form that inspires.
So what caught my about this tree specifically, is it wasn’t just one tree. Another tree, perhaps a type of fichus, had managed to grow from where its seed landed half way up the trunk. If it weren’t for this slight chance of fate, its bigger counterpart the baobab would be nearly impossible to climb. Today the root system of the fichus provides a solution to the baobab’s first twenty feet and a morning’s adventure for me.