Talk of the Town - Getting high July 31 2003

Many a mother cautioned her children about the dangers of getting high, but certified arborist Peter Jenkins has found a way to make it safe. By using safe equipment and trained instructors, Jenkins encourages adults to get high — in trees.

Jenkins' hobby of tree climbing attracted his friends and clients from his rock climbing days in Colorado. They wanted new objects to scale. His clients finally convinced him to start taking them along on his tree-climbing trips. With the sport's popularity growing, Jenkins founded a club for recreational climbers called Tree Climbers International.

He also operates a tree-climbing school in the Candler Park area. "Two 100-year-old white oak trees are our classrooms," he chuckles. He's taught at least 10,000 first-time climbers and hasn't had any injuries so far. There are other schools in Atlanta and around the world including Japan, Germany, France and Taiwan — all run by instructors Jenkins has trained.

The treeman also offers overnight camping trips, where clients are able to spend the night on hammocks hung on the treetops. Weather permitting, there's also the possibility of tree surfing, which is riding the winds of the treetops.

Getting high never felt so good.

Tree Climbers International, 290 Arizona Ave. First and third Sundays of every month, 2-5 p.m. $12. 404-377-3150. www.treeclimbing.com.