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.
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!
The Pulp Toss: Think horseshoes but with heavy logs.
Log rolling: Think lining up logs into neat rows for storage
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!
The other events included: Singles Canoe and Portage: think running with a canoe
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.
The president of the college did a crosscut competition with our team captain!
Bernie played the star spangled banner on the saw!
I competed in Vertical Chop with Annie Laurie: Think chopping down a tree
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.
Splitting: You need to quickly split wood small enough to go through a hole is a piece of plywood.
Other events include Birling: Think traditional log rolling in a pool
Chain Throw: Think coiling a surveying tape really fast
Ax Throw and Log Decking: Think log roll described above, but onto a truck.
H Chop: Think bucking up downed logs
Firebuild: A few matches and a hatchet – ready, set go!
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!