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Adventure 1 : Whipping, Fusing, and Trestling

February 2, 2012
When I was five, my household consisted of me, my nine-year-old brother, and my mom. Though it was just the three of us, we always got along great and had a lot of fun. Every now and then, however, we’d run into a little boy-related problem that us girls couldn’t quite figure out.

One day we were getting ready for a fancy function that required my brother to wear a tie. Since it wasn’t of the bunny-ear bow variety (nor a clip-on), we had to find a Plan B. To whom did we turn? The Cub Scout Handbook! All the instructions were printed nice and neat with pictures and everything a girl could ask for!

I remember that book as a fountain of knowledge (granted, a five-year-old’s opinion isn’t necessarily worth much). I never did join the Girl Scouts, mainly because I quit Brownies after they made us sell those stupid cookies. But, new blogger that I am, I finally had a reason to hit the library for…Dun dun! The Boy Scout Handbook!

It only took a moment to realize the necktie was only the beginning. Boy Scouts take their knots very seriously. It took me an hour to master the square knot, two half hitches knot, taut-line hitch knot, timber hitch knot, and clove hitch knot.

They all looked nice and neat except for those damn frayed ends. How would I fix such a thing?

…check handbook…

…ten minutes and fifteen matches later…

I’m a rope whipping and fusing machine! No frayed edges, no unraveling ever again! I was thrilled with my new skills and riding the adrenaline high (or something like that), and started flipping through the pages for a project that would use a knot or two. Finding the North Star, no…Using a compass, no… Tying a sling, no… (although it was fun to splint my husband’s arm with a magazine and scarf — He’s a good sport.).

Aha! THe perfect project! Trestles!

A trestle is basically a bunch of logs tied together with rope (using the clove hitch knot, mind you) in a triangular formation to strengthen or build structures. Last night, I prowled around the woods looking for a few perfect branches. Unfortunately, I do not own a hand saw or hatchet (yet), so searching for wood the right size took a while. I hit the jackpot with a pile of sliced up pine trees, took a few branches, and hid them for my project the next morning. I returned home quite dirty and completely covered with sap. Excellent.

Early this morning, I dragged my butt out of bed before the sun had a chance to get warm and headed out with a few lengths of rope, a pocket knife, and some matches. And…tada!

Though the actual trestle building wasn’t a long process, it was refreshing to watch the sun come up with the scent of pine in the air and more than a little dirt on my hands. I even had to disassemble the trestle as soon I finished (couldn’t leave all that synthetic rope in the woods), but I still feel like I accomplished something.

You might ask yourself, why do you need the ability to build a trestle? I don’t have immediate plans to build a monkey bridge or a single-lock bridge. I’ll probably never trestle again. But it forced me to pull out the old pocket knife, which is really fun to carry around. I even used it twice at work today! And if I should ever run into MacGyver in the middle of the woods, and he asks me if I want to build a trestle, then damn it, I can say, “Sure. I tie a mean clove hitch.”

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