Sunday, July 26, 2009

Totem Pole Is Finally Retired... but not forgotten (RIP:1997-2009)

Gone but not forgotten is all that I can come up with eleven years later after I carved this 12' totem pole for our mountain camp near Hendersonville, North Carolina. During Thanksgiving of 1997 I was asked to carve a totem pole that would overlook a huge mountain top lake about 100 yards forward. I used a nice pine pole that we had hauled more than half way across the state from Vance county just north of Raleigh so I was careful to get all the carving right the first time around.

The camp director wanted to have a thunderbird on top followed by a frog, an owl, then a bear on the bottom. Their staff came up with an interesting story about their camp that went along with these characters but I personally have since forgotten. Working on the porch of the dining hall I spent about a week carving the pole, then at least another week constructing the wings from laminated pressure treated lumber. Finally the time came to get the tractor and lift it into its resting spot with a long piece of 4" galvanized pipe attached to the rear side, then sunk into about 4' of concrete.

Unfortunately this camp closed it's doors on July 1st and they shipped those magnificent wings back to me as that was the only part of the totem pole that survived the test of time. I suppose that pressure treated lumber has its advantages. The pine pole itself had finally deteriorated far beyond the point of saving but those wings appear to have many years of service left in them so perhaps there will be another life for them some day.

Anyhow, I thought that I'd post some pictures of this grand pole during its hey-day in glory several years ago. Yes it is gone, but not forgotten.

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