Here are two videos that will reveal something of what went on in the Pioneering Area up on Garden Ground Mountain at the Summit. MUCH better when viewed in Full screen!
Of the four display towers featured in Peschke Field at the 2013 National Jamboree, the Stilt Tower was the second to be constructed, hoisted, and anchored. It gets it’s name because it stands on only two legs, and hence it’s dependence on four essential guylines to hold it up.
The tower presented somewhat of a building challenge to the crew assigned to undertake the task. They had never built one before, and all they were given was a drawing and a sketchy list of materials.
The Stilt Tower exhibit turned out to be both good-looking and novel. For a procedure and instructions refer to Pioneering Made Easy: Stilt Tower.
For those familiar with the traditional Double A-Frame Monkey Bridge design, a couple of noticeable modifications will be apparent from the outset. (Click on the photos for larger views.) Scout Engineering is a fluid undertaking, and frequently variations are necessary. Just as frequently an alteration or change can be deemed a desirable improvement. In the case of this double A-frame design, the consensus of opinion is these modifications are really neat, and I’m sure Adolph Peschke would concur.
- Instead of separate shorter ledgers for each pair of adjoining A-frames, connect four legs with one longer ledger. The length can actually be the same as that of the legs, e.g. four 8-foot legs and one 8-foot ledger at the bottom, or for a larger structure, 10 or 12-foot legs and ledger. (A spar longer than the legs does yield more flexibility when lashing together the four legs.)
- Ladder rungs! Lashing a couple of cross pieces between the legs of the left A-frame cancels the need to climb on board the bridge using the foot and hand ropes! Same thing of the other side. Crossers use the rungs and have a safe and easy way to get on and off the bridge, AND eliminate the often awkward balancing act on the ropes between the A-frames and the anchors. There’s an added advantage too: no more excess stress and strain on the ropes near the anchors.
Ropes. For thirty different pioneering projects and structures, plenty of rope had to be measured, cut, and whipped for lashings, anchors, and guylines. We had plenty of manila and appropriate synthetic fiber rope in a variety of diameters on hand, and thanks to a well-organized storage arrangement and experienced quartermaster, ongoing supplies were readily available.
“We’ve got spars!” Of course the spars for our pioneering projects were a major consideration. Where would they come from, and how would we get them? By emailing this photo (on right) with the simple statement, “We’ve got spars!”, our director, Jim Keller let us know that spars for our projects and structures had been delivered to Garden Ground Mountain! Naturally, before we could build anything, they’d have to be skinned!
Skinning Spars. Starting full swing on the 11th of July morning, and continuing through the end of the 12th, amidst pouring rain with steadfast purpose and draw knives, a full crew persistently and methodically set upon the pile of heavy, hardwood spars. In spite of the tedious and often bent-over, backbreaking work, sloshing through mud in water-logged boots, spirits were high! There was something about working hard up on that mountain along with a like-minded, jovial crew that kept us going in fine form up to and after the very last spar had been relieved of its bark.
After spars were skinned, they were transported to central locations throughout the pioneering area and selected by crews in accordance with their length and diameter to meet the material requirements for specific pioneering structures and projects. Most often, they’d be sawed to the desired lengths before being carried off to various construction sites. The total pioneering area was later dubbed: Peschke Field (named after pioneering legend, Adolph Peschke).
Why skin the spars? Basically, there are three reasons:
- If tied on top of bark, lashings are prone to slip, if the bark shifts or loosens under the strain during use.
- Skinned spars last longer than those left with the bark on. Unskinned spars are more subject to rotting from moisture and more susceptible to weakening from insects.
- Pioneering projects with skinned spars look really nice.
Transporting heavy spars. An extra long spar for the flagpole and larger-diameter spars for the climbing area had to be moved by entire crews. The 30′ poplar flagpole was dragged by tying butterfly knots for handholds in the dragging line. The uprights for the climbing area were lifted and carried by joining the ends of a rope and threading it under the log so that a series of two carriers grabbing a hold of the rope could walk the spar along on either side.