Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ft. Bridger Rendezvous

About 35 miles East of Evanston there is a small community of about 150 residents called Ft. Bridger. Once upon a time it was a Fort and a trading post named after James (Jim) Bridger - Mountain Man Extraordinaire. Once a year over Labor Day weekend Ft. Bridger's population swells to 150,000 (according to some experts) as chronologically displaced mountain men and present day bikers and hippies congregate to the valley for a rendezvous. Wanting to enjoy and experience all the local events we took journey ourselves to Ft. Bridger today to take in all the sights, smells and sounds of the rendezvous which did not disappoint. Tee pees and RV's pack the otherwise vacant pastures of the sleepy old town out of which traders and craftsmen peddle the pelts of nearly any North American animal, knives, clothing, beads, black powder guns, metal works, wood works, leather works, food and beverages. The Fort rings with the sounds of blacksmith pings, Indian drums, the echos of black powder rifles, jovial mountain men laughter and bargaining as though it were a Bombay street market. Hygiene is low on the list of priorities among the mountain people as their scent can be observed readily amidst intermittent wafts of marijuana, leather, campfire smoke, manure and moonshine. The event is not lacking for colorful characters as the participants include the skankiest of all trailer trash, casual everyday folks along with the most legitimate of mountain men in the West and quiet observers. After about 3 hours of perusing the goods of the rendezvous and purchasing some we got back in to our air conditioned steel steed and let the horses run us all the way back to Evanston for a warm dinner at Grandma's house taking with us both the treasured memories of the day as well as a longing for the gathering at Ft. Bridger in 2009 as we are now approximately 364 days away from being able to fill that empty space in our hearts left by the conclusion of today's events.

4 comments:

Shelley said...

My grandpa used to tell us Jim Bridger stories at bedtime when we were growing up. I will have to tell him about the festival!

Ryan & Danielle said...

OMG! we are totally coming to this indian/mountain man fest next year! how cool! haha! that is pretty crazy that all those people come in to town to do this! we cant wait to see you guys!

Brady and Taryn said...

That looks like fun! Substitute Hippies for the Mountain Men, and that looks exactly like our trip to Oregon :) Isn't it fun to see the natives in their natural surroundings!

The Jeppsen 5 said...

Looks neat! Lots of history. My dad used to take us to things like that when we were little...Native American festival type of things. It was always interesting. Looks like Jack liked it too :)