Oregon is the land of trees. Because they were the building blocks of our history, we even put a tree on our license plate.

That sweet, fresh smell of pine and fir as you hike, fish, or hunt in our forests is one of the biggest reasons people like to live here.

Most of the time we're standing on the ground looking up through the trees, trying to see the sky. Seldom do we ever think of looking down through the tangled branches.

A few years ago the Pacific Tree Climbing Institute in Eugene and an outfit in Grants Pass called New Tribe changed all of that and began offering tree-climbing expeditions throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Their guided journeys can last a day or include overnight stays in "tree boats" — canvas hammocks, where tired climbers can rest while safely hanging in a tree.

Although the climb is physically challenging, the person in relatively decent shape shouldn't have much of a problem.

Winter climbs are few, but expedition reservations fill up quickly, so it's a good idea to call well in advance to be sure you can climb when you want to.

Reach Pacific Tree Climbing Institute at 866-OLD-TREE or www.pacifictreeclimbing.com. New Tribe can be reached at www.newtribe.com.

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@yahoo.com.