Family Adventure to Maine: the Zero-Foresight Treehouse

The fam recently acquired a plot of land in Maine. Le sis and I decided to put it to good use with a little Engineer’s Vacation.

Earlier in the summer, when I heard the plot had been bought, I called up le sis and told her we should go up there and build a shack. Sis was traveling, so the plan got put off until later. But then, on August 21st, she texts me and says “hey I’m free lets build this thing” and so the wheels began to turn.

August 20th. Plans are set: Le sis picks me up that night and we drive to Lincoln, and load up the car with supplies. Morning of august 21st, we drive up. Build all day. Build all night til we done. Sleep in the structure that night and chill out the entire day of the 22nd. Somewhere during this discussion the word “treehouse” comes up and the plan changes to “build a treehouse” as obviously everything is way more fun when its elevated too high to have an easy time building it. Anyways.

Night of the 20th. We both get lazy and decide to go to Lincoln tomorrow at 9am.

Morning of the 21st. As I haven’t even started packing yet by then, I quickly grab a bunch of random nails, my drill, and some gloves from da frat closet. Shove some bagels in my mouth and to Lincoln we go, bright an early at about 9:30am. At Lincoln we load up a chainsaw, some tarps, a shower curtain, and a couple 2’x4′ sheets of plywood. Leave Lincoln around 11am.


Stop somewhere in someplace to pick up sausages and, of course, refreshe (the secret casing for 12s4p A123 packs).


3:30pm: get to the property!!!


We drove around a bit, but unfortunately it looked really brushy at first. No easy time sawing stuff up in there.


We decided to try a different area of the forest and had great success. The brush thinned out and gave way to a lovely coniferous forest. Here is the view from the road.


We jumped out and began to explore. We had previously planned on roughly building a triangular treehouse, but plans were not set in stone.


We found a place with four trees arranged in a kite shape. Close enough to a triangle and a square? The treehouse would be formed with some weird structure between all of these trees.


The site of the future house.


Time to start building!! First we decided to tie up some rope to a nearby tree with more branches than the four main trees. The plan was to tie the rope to this tree, winch it over toward the main trees, and then use the tree/rope as a kind of ladder.


This plan went out the window as climbing this small tree was really hard. So we just sort of ran the rope around the four main trees and made a ropes course where the main beams of the treehouse would go.


Le sis tests the ropes course for strength. It was found to be satifactory. The ropes capstaned around the trees enough to hold up quite well.


We chainsawed up a random tree to use as a side. The plan was to use it between the largest tree (farthest to the right) and the closest tree in this pic.


However we just kinda put it where it fit and that was where it went. I hammered a big nail into the tree to stand on and then climbed the tree mulan-style with a piece of webbing. I then hammered in some nails to hold the beam in place.


Le sis tied on the other side with a piece of webbing.


I then put up another smaller cross piece and le sis drilled a pilot hole for nailing/screwing in the big piece.



Unfortunately I don’t have too many pictures after this point and everything starts to get a bit hazy, as we were rushing really hard to get things built as night fell.

After the first main beam, it was time for the second and the third. The second beam was not quite as challenging as the first. We first tied up one side, then tied up the other side, then nailed up both sides. Then we put up the third shorter beam of the triangle. Once we had these three pieces down we laid down our first floorboard, a piece of plywood. This piece of plywood was only like 3/8″ thick and reeeeaaally flexy, so I decided it was time for some crossbeams. As complete darkness fell we laid down the rest of our plywood floor. We used a combination of nails and screws to hold everything down. What we did was for sure, not considered safe, in the slightest.


We got the ladder up but it was kind of a pain to climb up and down because it swung a lot.


Floor laid- this is a view from the bottom.


Sitting on the floor I was able to better secure (secure at all) the third beam.


We put up some sketchy side beams and nailed on some sketchy side panels.


And put up a sketchy tarp roof:


Then we took some crazed selfies and went to sleep!!


TLDR, I woke up to this view:


whoa is that a legitimate railing? who built that? Took me a second to get my bearings amid the mess.


huh what is that?


Looks pretty derp but hey we slept in it so couldn’t be that bad eh?


Not bad eh? Turned out to be really high off the ground, le sis for scale…



We took off the tarp and hung out for a bit.


Top-down view.


Not bad!!!!


After that it was time for some cleanup. Le sis threw down the air mattress off the treehouse, and of course it landed on a stick and got stabbed. We didn’t waste any time and patched it with duct tape. We did some good mattress boating on the nearby pond.


After that, we packed up. We took down all the climbing rope, webbing, and the ladder, ensuring no one could get to our lovely house unless they were a skilled tree climber. The house still stands in the woods. Overall, great success. Good engineering adventure.