How to Build a Tipi

How to Build a Tipi

We open in 10 days and our to do list seems to be growing instead of shrinking! 
Our have projects varied, of course. Aside from the whole business of hiring a new chef (DONE!), we had to clean the whole lodge from top to bottom and perform care on the grounds as well. This is what happens when a building is shut down through the whole winter and takes a beating from the weather. J & I are really good at divide and conquer, fostering our individual talents. While J climbed ladders, painted, restained almost every piece of wood around and other traditionally manly duties, I handled the computer-oriented communication end of things (marketing, reservations). 

But, the one project we have been tackling together is building tipis! If someone told me I would building tipis at the age of 35, I would have snorted my chocolate milk out my nostrils. But, here I am and I wouldn’t have chosen a better path for my life to follow … 
So, building tipis. RR has 4 tipis for rent, plus one where the cook will live. I know you are dying to know what this entails. So I will tell you, step by grueling step.
1) Spread a layer of gravel as the base.
Now, this wouldn’t be so bad if the gravel delivery truck would not have delivered the gravel on a day it was raining sheets, causing the truck to get stuck in the mud and have to drop its 2-ton load in the WRONG spot. Hahahahaaha. Ha. Ha. I get it. The joke was on us. J & I spent a good 3 days moving gravel. Not recommended for a fun family activity. 

2) Build a platform and stain it. We were not on this task, mainly because it would have taken us a good 37 days to complete this task, whereas it has taken a trained carpenter only a week or so. Although, it was wood, so on J’s task list to stain. 

3) Take a trip into the forest to collect lodgepole pine trees ranging between 18 feet to 27 feet. These are the same poles used by Native Americans for their tipis. Each tipi needs 17 poles, which equals 85 poles. RR had some poles leftover from last year, but we had to gather about 30 new ones. The tree huggers in us were a little miffed to be taking down trees from the forest, but we took dead and down when possible. Plus, the Forest Service welcomed us to thin the forest. In fact, the day we were out and about, we saw several controlled burns to do just that. But back to gathering and carrying 30 poles from deep in the forest to the truck. I never wanted some Oompa Loompas to appear more than in that moment. 
 on a side note, how cool would it be to be that guy who gets to go into the forest with a blow torch and set fires?
4) Strip the pine trees of knobs and branches and give them a fresh look using a draw knife. This was fun at first, but got old quickly. The dead trees were much harder to strip, while the greener trees baptized us with sap. We are still finding tree bark in our pockets. 
5) Stain the poles. More staining for J. Continuous motion over and over again. Mr. Miyagi would say, “show me, paint the house.” J only passed out 25 times from the fumes. 
6) Build the tipi!! This is about a 3-hour process involving a comedy of errors. In another life, J was not a star javelin thrower. For the record, I wasn’t either. 

And, that my friends, is how you build a tipi.

4 responses to “How to Build a Tipi”

  1. Jamie L says:

    This looks like hard work, I'm impressed! Maybe we should come see these tepees in person!?

  2. Mom/MIL says:

    I bet not too many people can add teepee building to their resumes. Your life path takes some pretty wild turns.

  3. Jason says:

    You guys are awesome!

  4. Camie Goffi says:

    Looks like a Native American barn-raising!

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