Ryan Jordan

Monkeyin’ Around at Window Rock Cabin

We spent last weekend with our Boy Scout Troop at the Window Rock Cabin, another one of the rentals on the Gallatin National Forest.

It rained, it snowed, it blew, it was generally sort of a cold and pleasant misery.

This was our weekend to work on the Pioneering Merit Badge, so it seemed pretty appropriate to do other pioneer things, like sleep in an old log cabin, cook in cast iron pots in a wood stove, and realize that the pioneers didn’t really take off bad weather days to work.

So we set out to build a monkey bridge* on the morning of our second day, and finally completed it after dark, once we whipped and spliced rope ends, taught the boys how to do lashings and knots, and set good enough 3-2-1 anchors for the block and tackle du natural so nobody would be taking a whipper at the wrong time. Whippers involving Scouts tend to get mothers of Scouts excited, and requires a little bit of explaining on the parts of fathers of Scouts, and we all know how risky that can get.

I was sharing our monkey bridge building experience with a friend, who lives a long ways east of Montana. She was horrified that we’d expose young boys to this weather, even more so that we’d think about “making them” build a monkey bridge in it. I was confused. Different cultures, I guess.

She asked me how I’d feel if they all got sick?

I replied, “then I’d guess they’d need a few days to recover at home.”

“Ack! What about school?!” she asked.

“What do you mean, ‘what about school?’ They just had a whole weekend of it, a little break couldn’t hurt.”

* The origins of the rope-and-log monkey bridge are fuzzy. But, it does appear that it definitely came before the slackline, which some say is the result of a monkey bridge unfinished, by a slacker, of course.