[Illustration: Wichita Indians Building a Straw Hut.]
A Path Up the Fissure.
[Illustration: Fig. 133. The Jacob’s Ladder.]
It was up this fissure that we decided to haul materials for our tree hut. Our first task was to build steps and ladders in the steepest parts. We had no tool for cutting out niches in the rock, but wherever natural depressions were formed we wedged in sticks of wood between the side walls to serve as ladder rungs. If no such niches appeared for considerable height, we would stretch a rope ladder to the next fixed rung. In most places the natural formation of the rock was such as to afford sufficient footing.
[Illustration: Fig. 134. Rope Ladder.]
[Illustration: Fig. 135. A Ladder Rung.]
[Illustration: Fig. 136. The Derrick.]
The rope ladders were made of two parallel side straps, tightly stretched between the fixed sticks, and then at intervals of fifteen inches we inserted the ends of the ladder rung between the strands of the rope. Below and above each rung the rope was bound with cord. The rungs were notched at the ends to prevent them from slipping out.
After providing a means for scaling the cliff (we called it the Jacob’s Ladder), we were still confronted with the problem how to cart our building materials to the top. It was a very hard task and you couldn’t have hired us to do it under any other circumstances. First, Bill planned out on paper just how the house was to be built, and we cut all the pieces to the right size so as not to carry up any superfluous matter. When all was ready the boards and sticks were loaded on the scow, and ferried over to the cliff. Then we carried them on our backs, three or four at a time, up the slanting hillside to the first ledge. From there up, owing to the steepness of the ascent, we had to employ different tactics.
[Illustration: Fig. 137. The Derrick in Use.]
A derrick was constructed of two sticks 10 feet long, which were bolted together at the top, and secured about five feet apart at the bottom by a cross piece, as shown in Fig. 136. The derrick was then taken apart and with some difficulty hauled piecemeal up to the next ledge above. Here it was put together again. The fall and tackle used in our aerial railway was attached to the apex of the derrick, and the latter was then erected with the legs set into depressions in the ledge and the upper ends slanting outward but kept from falling over the edge by a rope tied to one of the fixed rungs set in the fissure. With this derrick we hoisted up the boards in a few hauls. The job was a very ticklish one, but Bill used the greatest care to prevent accident. The derrick, rope and tackle were carefully tested before used, and as soon as the load was attached to the lower pulley block the two who did the loading were