” A man finds himself when he finds his history.”c e hollis
They were a peculiar lot. Men who loved the forests and woodlands, the lakes and rivers, who could live and work alone and survive the rough life of the wilderness. Some followed the Native American’s cue and dressed in deer hides and fur hats. Once a year or so they gathered up the hides they had cured and headed to the Rendezvous to do their trading and get supplies.
The mountain men were trappers and hunters. They hunted beaver, rabbits, wolves and coyotes, skunks and otters, deer and bison, and bear. The sold the furs and hides to merchants. They slept in tents and teepees by their campfires and cooked their meals there too. They dried meat jerky and made pemmican to sustain them while traveling.
The merchants and traders traded furs for beads, knives and guns, pots and pans, tobacco, coffee, cloth, and many other needs of the wild life. I love to go to the meet up every fall to photograph the mountain men in their costumes and see their handiwork. There is always a blacksmith set up to show off his work at iron works: campfire hooks and racks, horseshoes, wagon wheels, pots and kettles.
It is fun to see how they lived and how they managed their campsites. Spread on the ground on blankets are things to sell: beadwork, clothes, powder horns, simple toys, and guns, moccasins, blankets, quilts, and other needful items.
If you get the chance don’t miss a visit to the Mountain man camp. There is much to see and learn in this step back in time. You’ll love the clothes and the wares for sale, everything from moccasins to oil lamps, toys and tools. You’ll love to watch a hatchet throwing competition, a black rifle contest, archery, the falconer, and the campsites. You’ll love to watch the men work and listen to their fireside tales.
Come sit and have a tin cup of hot coffee and talk a while. You’ll be glad you did.
“A day spent in the past helps a man succeed in the present.”c e hollis