"I'm surprised that thing is still standing, those Indians really knew what they were doing." Those were the words of my neighbor, greeting me as I returned from a weekend away from the tipi. It appears the tipi faced its first major test this weekend, and passed with flying colors. There was trash scattered about, a few inches of water (which was presumably snow at one point) in the pots and pans I had left outside, and my canvas door had been ripped away from the opening of the tipi and twisted multiple times around the wooden dowels, the force of the wind causing the rope to rip right through the canvas.
But the tipi its self looked as if nothing had happened. The bricks had blown off of my tarp where I am storing my bike and kayak, but the tipi remained stoic and strong. Not a single stake was pulled from the ground, not a single pole had been shifted. There was about 2 gallons of water collect in my make shift Ozan waiting to be drained. The design was improvised after having earlier trouble with leakage. I cut out a 6 foot circle from a painters drop cloth and tied it to the poles inside the tipi, about 8 feet in the air, to create a sort of inner roof, that would catch any water that might come through the opening at the top. I wasn't sure if it would hold up in a big storm, sure enough it did.
So the tipi has been test, but I haven't. I'm sitting in the tipi, in my sleeping bag, wearing my winter coat and hat, listening to the snow fall onto the canvas, stumbling to find the right keys as my fingers are half frozen. My test will come soon enough. What's it like to live in a tipi in the Montana winter? I'll let you know.