Friday, August 15, 2008

How to Set up a Tipi

I had always been mildly curious as to how a tipi is set up.
I got a chance to see a demo at Big Hole National Battlefield in Montana.
Three young ladies from the park ranger volunteer service demonstrated-
with help from the audience!
It was fun.

I had always thought that setting up a tipi would be a long and laborious process.
Not necessarily, unless you are out of poles
(in which case you would cut and trim young lodge pole pines,
which would be a bit laborious.)
But the process itself isn't too difficult.

This is a small four-pole tipi.
When I say four poles, I mean that the frame core is made of four poles,
because there are additional poles that go into this.
They were set up when we got there:
the four main poles lashed together and then tethered by a rope,
to the ground in the center interior of the tipi.
(I can just hear some Nez Perce mom telling her kid,
'Hey, stop swinging on the tipi rope!')

In the upper photo, you can see that there are two additional poles for each side,
laid out on the ground
(just two per side because this is a small tipi).
They are then raised up into place:

The secondary poles merely lean on the lashed four core poles.
You don't have to bind them again.
After that, the canvas is unrolled around the poles:

And it's loosely draped over the framework, for now.

On to step two: pegging.

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