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The greatest memories of my childhood, one way or another, all have to do with tree climbing. When I was 7, the tree-swinging Curious George lighted up my evenings in reading after reading. When I was 11, repeated viewings of Tarzan of the Apes and The Adventures of Tarzan forever changed me. I dreamed of sailing from vine to vine with Elmo Lincoln for years—until I heard that he once killed an aging lion with his bare hands during filming. When I was 13, tree climbing became my greatest passion, surpassing even soccer and baseball. Since then, I have dreamed of a world in which tree climbers would be valued for their artistry. Now, it seems, there may be hope: During today’s 2000 Tree Climbing Championship, entrants will compete in speed climbs, throw-line events, and even simulated treetop rescues. Head into the trees from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (registration begins at 7 a.m.) at Gunston Hall Plantation, 10709 Gunston Road, Mason Neck. Free. (703) 550-9220. (Andrew Katz)