Category Archives: Woodsmen’s Team

Woodsman’s Weekend

Every three years, Dartmouth hosts the spring woodsman’s meet, a huge spectacle of burliness originating in logging camps. Most years we travel to other colleges to compete, but this year was the home meet right in the center of Hanover on The Green.

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One imagines this would mean sleeping in, relaxing and casually cutting some wood. However, during the home meet we all woke up at 5AM to get setup for each day’s events. On Friday I competed in Double’s Canoe with Annie Laurie, where we race a course set around tight buoy’s. We won!

Annie Laurie Mauhs-Pugh and Laurin in doubles canoeing. Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
The A Team, Double’s Canoe

The Pulp Toss: Think horseshoes but with heavy logs.

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Log rolling: Think lining up logs into neat rows for storage

Leslie and Laurel? in log roll. Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.

Packboard: You tie a 25lb bag with a cast iron cooking pan onto a wood frame and sprint with it. It is as miserable as it sounds!

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The other events included: Singles Canoe and Portage: think running with a canoe

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The temperature was barely above freezing (there was ice in the pond), and as usual Dartmouth’s uniform of flair (wacky clothing) made us easy to recognize.

On Saturday, we built a pool on The Green.

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The president of the college did a crosscut competition with our team captain!

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Bernie played the star spangled banner on the saw!

Bernie Waugh '72 plays the Star Spangled Banner at the opening ceremonies for Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Bernie Waugh ’72 plays the Star Spangled Banner at the opening ceremonies for Woodsmen’s Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.

I competed in Vertical Chop with Annie Laurie: Think chopping down a tree

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Disk Stack: Kind of like Jenga with a chainsaw – the goal is to cut pieces and keep them ‘stacked’. If they fall off you need to start over, and there is a time limit. This was my first experience in this event, so I was pretty excited to get 8, especially when I ran out of gas halfway through and had to ask another team to borrow their saw before I ran out of time.

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Team sawing:

Lauren in Women's team bowsaw. Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.

Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Woodsmen’s Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Woodsmen’s Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.

Splitting: You need to quickly split wood small enough to go through a hole is a piece of plywood.

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Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Woodsmen’s Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.

Other events include Birling: Think traditional log rolling in a pool

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Chain Throw: Think coiling a surveying tape really fast

Chainthrow. Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Chainthrow. Woodsmen’s Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Annie-Laurie in Chainthrow. Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Annie-Laurie in Chainthrow. Woodsmen’s Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Annie-Laurie in Chainthrow. Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Annie-Laurie in Chainthrow. Woodsmen’s Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.

Ax Throw and Log Decking: Think log roll described above, but onto a truck.

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H Chop: Think bucking up downed logs

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Firebuild: A few matches and a hatchet – ready, set go!

Firebuild. Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Firebuild. Woodsmen’s Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Firebuild. Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Firebuild. Woodsmen’s Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.

By 11:00 PM, after 18 hours awake and nearing delirium during the cleanup, I was still grinning. What can I say? Was it due to the fact that we drove across the green? Was it due to hearing stories of alums stealing signs from events in Canada including a larger than life sign of a logger named Pierre? Naw, I think it is just because woodsman’s competitions are fun!

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Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Woodsmen’s Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Woodsmen's Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.
Woodsmen’s Weekend at Dartmouth, 2015.

Spring Meet: Woodsmen’s Competition

Every term the Woodsmen’s Team competes in Spring Meet – the biggest competition that of the entire year. I had planed on going all year, but my engineering Computer Aided Design class has been crazy, and I was running low on sleep. I didn’t finish a Solidworks CAD model until 2AM, so I skipped the team bus and drove up early in the morning joining the team. Running on little sleep the day passed in a blur of competition, throwing 40 lb logs and sawing crosscuts.

Later that day, after a well needed nap, I strolled through the NY campus where all the teams set up tents. Each time I rounded the corner, there was a new campfire, radio station and vibe. My team was jamming to some indie music and the next five minutes of walking throughout the campsites brought different varieties of country with a few teams blasting some classic rock.

The next day my lack of sleep caught up with me. I wasn’t quite as quick at the vertical chop, but the day was filled with fun, and I even ended up getting second place in scoot load!

Mud Meet

We make wood smaller, and this term, the Woodsmen’s Team has two meets: Mud Meet and Spring Meet. Mud Meet is our warm up for Spring Meet, and it sure lived up to its name. The

events that we competed in were pulping (horseshoes with heavy wood). In my CoZone Onesie of course!

V chop — if you were to chop down a tree old-school, this would be how you did it.

Single buck – if you wanted to cut up a really big log without a chainsaw, this would be you.

Disk stack – holding a chainsaw level is hard. Trying to cut pieces in a jenga like stack and not letting them fall is even harder.

H chop – chopping fallen logs.

Packboard – if you wanted to run through the woods (in a foot of slush/water and brambles) with a really uncomfortable backpack held together by a string with a hatchet. I know. I don’t ever really want to do that either. But hey, it’s a team event!

 

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On the woodsman’s team, we have a few quirks. We don’t

get to practice very often. We usually forget at least one or two tools, and we always have fun at meets, no matter the conditions. After getting back from Mt Katahdin, the temperatures plummeted, right in time to go to the coldest woodsmans meet that we do – McGill U in Motreal. We arrived in the great north and proceeded to the captain’s meeting on the Macdonald forestry campus. There sitting in a classroom were the other schools, all Canadian. Canadian woodsmans teams have quirks as well: line dancing, only playing country music, and being on average the size of two of me, but during competition they mean business.



So in we come to an intense woodsman’s meeting, tripping over our feet and trying not to show everyone how unprepared we were for this level of serious competition. Needless to say, after three years of being ‘the American team’, we weren’t changing our image one bit.

Per usual, our team dressed in crazy colors and outfits and put on a show. I competed in single buck and vertical chop, two of the most rigorous singles/doubles combos. For V-chop, one teammate chops one block then the other teammate chops another and the total time is the score. When I’m not chopping, my job is to tell Annie (Animal) Laurie whether she should chop down/up, near wood/far or to switch to the other side. It is an exhausting, but incredibly fun event.
For single buck, I need to cut a piece of log 2’ in diameter with a really really long saw. To do this, the sawyer gets in a really low stance and tries to use a rocking motion to keep the blade cutting smoothly. With the snow and ice on the ground, I used microspikes and two teammates holding my feet in place. Even with all that help, I was ready to pass out by the time I was through the wood.

The best part of the competition was some of the funny moments. A snowshoe race is a one of the singles events and our guys team ran out of his snowshoes three times over the course of the two miles. The same guy lost one of his spikes in pole climb (see a pattern forming?) and still tried to make his way up. I became known as the panda girl by other teams and we even got a red and green picture featuring the winning Canadian team in matching union suits.

After all of that? The McGill culinary school made us some delicious dinner!