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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Fort Bridger Rendezvous; Great Place to For Homestead Finds

Daniel, had never been to a Rendezvous. The Rendezvous is something I grew up with.  My uncle and aunt were participants and sometimes ran the Rendezvous, so it was a required family activity.  My aunt has been Knife Woman (winner of knife throwing in Women’s division) several, times; which proves, it is self preservation to not tick her off.  My uncle tells tall tales to children about getting stuck in a bear stomach.  He was only saved by his resistance to taking a bath more than once a year.  Hence, this was an adventure I wanted to share with my dearest.

Hand manufactured  by River Traders Knives
If you have never been to a Rendezvous, the word translates from french to 'meeting place'.  Which, sums up what it is.  Mountain Men and Indians would hunt and trap all spring and part of the winter.  Their pelts were a premium back east.  Eastern merchants, Indians, locals, and mountain men would meet at either a Fort or a town to trade goods.  These Rendezvous took place during the vogue of city-gentrified fur; between, 1824-1840.

Children's toys form Clear Creek Trading Co.

A week before the Fort Bridger Rendezvous, we went to the Evanston, Wyoming Rendezvous.  Evanston Rendezvous is much smaller than the Fort Bridger.  Evanston is more family and children oriented as the activities are geared towards children.  There are a fourth of the merchant tents but it is small, no entry fee, and it still has a good variety.

Travel Vanity from Windy River Trading
We found several hand made objects, such as knifes, clothing, and antiques/replicas from the time period.  This convinced Dan that Fort Bridger would be worth the trip.  We arrived before most tents were set up.  I wandered around explaining to Dan the historical and family importance of the Fort to me.

When the tents, lodges and tepees were open for business, we were not disappointed in the selection of goods.  While, we had hopped to buy a very rugged pair of moccasins for Dan (the lady I got mine from no longer travels), we ended up finding several homestead tools and ideas.  There are looms, coffee grinders, butter churns, sewing equipment, and tools from blacksmithing to carpentry.
The Rendezvous era, was a time when you could go a year without seeing another human . . . until you seeked civilization.  Homesteaders and wilderness survivors had to be completely self dependent.  I love this age of toilet paper, and medical advances; but, I highly, respect people of the earlier centuries, perseverance and self reliance.  While, toilet paper will be included in my quest for self sustainability, I do hope to take pages from early western settlers book of knowledge.

Other great finds and pictures
Best Cookies- Bakery Fresh
Snippers by Beathe Knives
Bow Wax by Bows and Such

Mecham Pottery, Bud and Malawna
Coffee Grinder - Unnamed Trader
Husband Beater by Blue Creek Traders
Raw filtered honey - Bear River Powder