Swallows section of the Arkansas River


The last day of June 2020, Bruce Day, Bill & Lee Bailey, and myself set out upon the upper Arkansas river near the town of Florence, Colorado. We had Bruce’s Buffalo boat and Bill’s wooden pirogues. Bruce’s boat was constructed at the 2015 western territorial rendezvous. This boat is built on a frame of willow sticks. A ridge pole along the bottom center about 3″ in diameter with cross ribs of 1″ sticks bent and tied together to create the frame. Three raw buffalo hides were stretched over the frame, tied on and stitched together. Then the seams were sealed with pine tar which is a mixture of heated pine pitch and charcoal. We had to sew the hides twice and touch up the pine tar every day.

Bill’s craft consisted of a 12’ wooden boat with a smaller 6’ boat lashed to it as an outrigger. He built these a few years ago and used them on the Green river in Utah November 2017. The larger boat was used as a dingy behind his keelboat on his Missouri river trip in 2019.



This river has very few calm stretches. It is one riffle after another with a few class II & III rapids thrown in. Prior to launch, we saw a sign warning of the trees, stumps, and other debris that was cluttering the river. There was a lot of debris to be sure. According to a local outfitter, no commercial companies and very few individuals travel this part of the river at this time. The access points are too far apart for most people. We were prepared to camp one night and ended up staying two due to high winds.

A mile and a quarter from the launch we had our first mishap. The river split around an island and there was debris in each channel. Bruce and I elected to take the deeper right channel with the upturned root ball in the center of it. We slipped on by and looked back to see Bill’s boat catch on it. As we got to the island to land, Bill & Lee’s larger boat swamped after the smaller boat hung up in the root ball. By the time we got back upstream to them, they had all of their gear in the smaller of the two boats. We stretched a rope to shore and started transferring gear to the island. After the boats were empty, we started to puzzle on the problem of how to get them off of the snag. Bill untied the lashings but could not get the cross pole to budge. I got my tomahawk and an extra rope and Bill climbed aboard, tied off each boat, and commenced to cutting the wooden reinforcements that were holding the cross pole in place. Once he got that loose, he was able to use the pole as a lever to pry the smaller boat loose and Bruce pulled it to shore. Bill’s larger boat came loose with him in it and full of water started downstream. Thankfully, the current helped me to pull him to the island. After bailing it out with my large brass kettle we got them tied back together and ready to get back on the river.IMG_5423


Before re-embarking on the river, Bill trimmed the cross pole so it would not catch on anything. A good thing, as we later proved. We spent almost 3 hours at this, and it was after noon before we resumed our journey. We worked our way downstream to an area of sand bars around Hardscrabble creek. As we negotiated the downed trees (known as strainers) we pulled ashore to portage around a very tight place. Bill and Lee had been swept into a strainer a few second earlier and I was afraid they would swamp and be pulled under. Bill had the presence of mind to step up on the boats to prevent swamping and because he had trimmed his cross bar they bounced off and whirled away downstream. We spent some time hiking around to see if we could get off of the river here as it was proving to be much more difficult than we had expected. We decided to proceed and after portaging the boats and gear around the last tree, we started out again. A few miles down stream we found a gravel bar to camp on. The sun was setting within an hour and we were pretty worn down from all of our adventures on the river.  We saw a lot of wildlife and sign along the river deer, ducks, geese, beaver, turtles, racoon, & elk tracks.




July 1st dawned cool and clear. We rustled up some coffee and broke camp. By my figuring we had travelled less than half way to our planned take out. We paddled down a river that seemed somewhat friendlier. There were fewer trees and other debris. Even the riffles seemed easier. We had a couple of 90˚ turns that gave us cause to pause and consider. We handled both the same way, a frantic crossing of the fastest current and then a leisurely walk down the shallower flow to avoid the fast current and strainers of the outside curves. We lined down several, maybe a dozen of these tree filled riffles and rapids. Going was slow but satisfying. Then we sprung a leak. We pulled up on shore, emptied our boat and commenced to sewing up the hides. After sewing, we applied some more tar and away, we went.


We lost our current as we neared Pueblo reservoir. We also lost our worry about riffles, rapids, and snags. As we neared our desired take out, a place called Swallows, named for an abandoned town, the wind came full in our faces. It was blowing whitecaps at us and we couldn’t gain distance. We pulled up and I attempted to pull the boat along the shore. The wind kept forcing the boat into the shore. As we were trying to tie another rope on the boat, the whitecaps started to fill the back half of the boat with water. We pulled it up on shore and emptied it out to dry. When Bill and Lee caught up to us, I told them we would have to wait it out. Maybe the wind would go down with the sun and we could paddle out at dusk or we could get up early and paddle out in the morning. Bill and Bruce decided to walk to a camp we could see across the bay behind us and see about arranging transportation for our take out. Lee and I set up a quick camp and set out wet gear to dry in the last of the sun and the still stiff winds. I put another coat of tar on the seams of our hide boat. Bruce and Bill were able to catch up with our contact and get our transportation set for the morning. They came back to camp shortly after dark and turned in.




Thursday, July 2 we broke camp and paddled to our take out without issue. This was an adventure in the purest sense. Swamped boats, leaking canoes, wading, lining down rapids, marooned by wind, cold and wet foods, bugs (a few), burning sun, lost maps, etc. It was great!



Posted in Historical Adventure, Historical Clothing and Equipment, Hunting & Trapping | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Edward Abbey

A while back, my friend and sponsor, Tom Karnuta, introduced me to Edward Abbey.  Although I was familiar with Kirk Douglas’ movie “Lonely are the Brave”, I didn’t realize it was based on Abbey’s story “The Brave Cowboy”.  So I have slowly been exploring the works of Edward Abbey.

Last summer I picked up some books at a garage sale in Minnesota.  Included in the lot was “A Canyon Voyage: The Narrative Of The Second Powell Expedition” by Frederick S. Dellenbaugh.  This is a book I had been looking for as a companion to Powell’s book on his first trip down the Green and Colorado rivers through the Grand Canyon.


As I pursued my new acquisitions, I was surprised to see this book had a nice dedication written inside the cover.  Apparently a woman had purchased the book for her “beloved husband” and had it inscribed “To Benedicto” by Edward Abbey.  The picture below is the inscribed page:


This prose sends a shiver down my spine as I recall my voyages down the mighty Green river through Labyrinth canyon in Utah.  For those of you who know Abbey’s works, I hope you enjoy this little piece of history.  For those of you who don’t know Edward Abbey, I encourage you to join me in exploring his works!

Posted in Historical Adventure, Liberty & Freedom | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sardis Camp


A couple of my friends joined me and two of my dogs for an overnight on my land along Lake Sardis in south eastern Oklahoma.  We paddled in and found a nice place to camp.  Curley used his harness and travois to help pull gear into camp.  Bruce Day and I scouted out the boundaries of the property and Ed Bradway got a fire going and cooked up a tremendous supper.  We saw plenty of deer sign, some squirrels, geese and even a bear bed.  Bruce found some droppings he is sure were from elk.  I hope so, because my lifetime hunting license allows me to hunt elk every year in Oklahoma!


Just after dark, the dogs alerted us to some deer moving through the woods just uphill of our camp.  The morning of our departure dawned foggy and overcast.  We did a little more exploring and canoed out on a lake as smooth as glass.  What a beautiful day!


I am feeling very blessed to have found such a great piece of land for my camping and hunting adventures!  Being on a good fishing lake makes it extra special!

Posted in American Mountain Men, Historical Adventure, Hunting & Trapping | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Aux Ark (Pronounced Ozark)

After Christmas, I had the opportunity to join 8 other adventurers for a river trip on an old-fashioned keel boat down the Ouachita river in southern Arkansas.  The boat is captained by Ed Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas and crewed by James Thompson and Tim Richardson.  Also joining us were Gary & Bryan from Texas, English Don, Don the Elder and Emily from Arkansas.


The Aux Ark is 40′ long and 8′ wide with 6 rowing stations and either a steering tiller or sweeping paddle attached to the rear.  We used the steering tiller on this trip.  Since we had 9 of us on the boat, we separated into 3 crews of 3 for the rowing.  Each crew would row for an hour, then rest for two hours.  During the rest periods, someone would man the tiller and keep an eye ahead for snags, other watercraft, trot lines, etc.  We camped two nights on the river bank and Ed cooked us some marvelous victuals.


Tim at the tiller during our launch.


James at the tiller as we travel


Ed, Bryon & Gary at the oars


Tim, Don the Elder and Emily at the oars


English Don at the launch

We put in at Camden, Arkansas and traveled about 21 miles to Locust Creek river access.  The temperatures were upper 40’s to low 50’s during the day and mid 30’s at night.  We saw very little sunshine with light rain, drizzle and fog most of the time.  The Ouachita river is controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers.  It has a center channel dredged in it and the levels and flow are controlled by locks and dams.  I’m guessing the current was less than 1 1/2  miles per hour.





At Locust Creek, the end of our trip.


We were not able to make 3 miles an hour due to the slow current, so we had to pull out sooner than planned.  We will put in here next time and continue on down stream.  What a great way to experience history on this 1840’s style keel boat.  This was another great historical adventure!

Posted in Events, Historical Adventure, Historical Clothing and Equipment | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Vox Audita Perit, Littera Scripta Manet ~ Ancient Roman Proverb

I’ve heard it said that “oral tradition and history is the most accurate history known to mankind”.

The sheer stupidity of this idea is almost beyond comprehension. Anyone who has paid attention to human nature or participated in the old game of telephone will understand this.  (Chinese whispers (Commonwealth English) or telephone (American English) is an internationally popular children’s game in which players form a line, and the first player comes up with a message and whispers it to the ear of the second person in the line. The second player repeats the message to the third player, and so on. When the last player is reached, they announce the message they heard to the entire group. The first person then compares the original message with the final version. Although the objective is to pass around the message without it becoming garbled along the way, part of the enjoyment is that, regardless, this usually ends up happening. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly from that of the first player, usually with amusing or humorous effect. Reasons for changes include anxiousness or impatience, erroneous corrections, the difficult-to-understand mechanism of whispering, …..(1)
The varying abilities of human listening, understanding and comprehension skills is one of the biggest factors in the unreliability of oral history and tradition. Everyone hears and understands the spoken word through a filter. This filter comes from our parents, our siblings, our environment, education, life experiences, trials and tribulations, even our grasp of the language being spoken.

The ancient Romans had a Proverb – vox audita perit littera scripta manet ~ “A heard voice perishes, but the written letter remains.” (2)

The English equivalent of the Latin sentence ‘Littera scripta manet’ is the following: ‘The letter once written remains’. The sentence is part of a proverb from the ancient, classical Latin language. The first part of the proverb is as follows: ‘Vox audita perit’, which means ‘The voice once heard perishes’. Some Latin proverbs preserve sayings from the earlier, ancient, classical Greek. Such may be the case here, because a version exists from the Greek also. (3)

It is amazing to me that the ancient Greeks and Romans knew the importance of written history and the utter fallibility of oral history and traditions and yet, some modern scholars think just the opposite. This is especially so when they try to validate the oral history of native Americans whether from North or South America.
Now, no one should infer that I am dismissing oral history and tradition outright. What I am dismissing is the mistaken belief that this type of historical record is flawless and superior to the written documents of contemporaries of the story tellers.

Listen to the stories, read the books, search out the personal diaries and journals, study the newspapers and other contemporary publications, then you can build an accurate picture of the past incidents, people, animals, life styles and material culture where your interest lies.

1) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_whispers
2) https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/vox_audita_perit_litera_scripta_manet
3) https://www.answers.com/Q/Who_said_%27Vox_audita_perit_littera_scripta%27

Posted in Historical Clothing and Equipment, Liberty & Freedom, Pet Peeves & Other Rants! | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Thanks Hank!!


Posted in As we get Older, Humor | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Green River 2017

Green River 2017
November 4, 2017, Aaron Griggs, Mary Sims, and myself arrived at Green River, Utah around noon. We met up with Ed Bevers, Bill Bailey and Todd “Pete” Peterson. Pete, Mary, and I set up camps at Crystal Geyser while Aaron, Ed & Bill shuttled vehicles. We drove in rain, snow, and cloudy conditions to get here and this afternoon it cleared off and approached 70˚. The desert is a whole different world than the high mountains where we live. Bill, Aaron & Ed returned before dark with supper and we ate, discussed emergency plans, built a short campfire, visited until after dark, and then turned in.

Sunday, November 5, Day One. We were up with the sun and Ed made coffee for us. We packed up, loaded our boats & set off. Mary, Curly, and I are in my 18’ Champlain by Wenonah, Aaron and his two dogs are in an Old Town Solo 119, Ed is paddling solo in a 14’ fiberglass canoe, and Bill & Pete are in a wooden boat with a stern oar and outrigger boat.

We traveled 12 ½ miles to a campsite near Dellenbaugh butte. Mary and I arrived just after 1 o’clock. The others were slowed by a stiff headwind at times. We had a very nice camp with lots of firewood in a stand of cottonwoods.

Bill & Pete are cooking beans and whitetail back strap this afternoon. We had a great meal, a nice evening and turned in early.

Monday November 6, Day Two. Up with the sun again. Bill & Pete did a little patching on the boats. We hit the river on another beautiful day with little wind. When we got to the Ruby ranch we saw several ducks and geese. Ed was hunting for waterfowl and when he went to the right of an island the rest of us stayed left so as not to interfere with his chance at a fat goose.

As we were watching two flocks of wild turkeys on the left bank, Ed was getting his fowler ready on a pair of Mallards. They flared off a little too far away and he set his hammer back to half cock and laid it on his packs in the bottom of the canoe. As he laid it down on the packs, it fired from half cock and shot a hole in the starboard bow of his canoe just above the waterline. The shot load put a 3” hole in the fiberglass just forward of the front seat. When the gun went off, I smiled. I was happy that Ed was able to do something I hadn’t accomplished on our previous two trips, i.e. Take a shot at live game. I started to laugh aloud when the turkeys on river left started to gobble and continued to gobble in response to Ed’s shot. When we rounded the island, we met up with Ed in a hurry to land. I asked if he needed help retrieving his game and he asked us all to land with him and he told us the story. He patched the outside with pillow ticking and some of Bill’s tar then we continued down the river. We fought a headwind for the next 9 miles and by the time we got to Three Canyon everyone was tired and ready to make camp. Bill and Pete cooked more beans with rice and venison. While the boys were cooking another party landed and came up to check us out. They were from Seattle and were quite surprised to find a group of 1830’s trappers encamped here. They camped on the sand bar downstream of the Three Canyon creek. We patched the hole in Ed’s canoe with my fiberglass repair kit and his boat is good as new and ready to go. Ed has earned himself a new name courtesy of Bill Bailey; “Keel hole”. We sat around the fire for quite a while after dark.

Tuesday November 7, Day Three. After coffee and a little breakfast, we all headed up canyon. Bill, Pete & Ed stopped to do some shooting. Mary & I explored a slot canyon on the right hand while Aaron continued up canyon. Ed, Bill & Pete tried their hand at fishing and managed to catch a few small Channel Catfish. Mary & I cooked squash, potatoes, & ham for supper.

Wednesday November 8, Day Four. After Bill cooked up the Catfish for breakfast, we headed out early and after paddling six miles, stopped to find some petroglyphs. We hiked more than a mile along the rimrock until we found them.

We launched again and paddled another six miles to Keg Spring Canyon. We hiked in to the camp and set up. Aaron cooked supper and we went to bed around 8 PM. It froze overnight. We were cold and sore throughout the night.

Thursday November 9, Day Five. We spent a couple of hours around the fire warming up and enjoying the coffee. Aaron, Mary, and I hiked up the canyon to see the petrified wood.

Aaron and I climbed up to an alcove that was 70’ deep and 100’ across. There were signs of life and historic use but nothing too recent.

Ed cooked supper of ham & beans with rice and I boiled up some dried fruit. We had a neighbor tonight, a young man from Pinedale, WY. He was attempting to travel the length of the Green and the Colorado rivers on a stand-up paddle board. He joined us around the fire and shared some boiled fruit.
Friday November 10, Day Six. We got up early and carried our stuff out to the river and loaded the boats. We hit the river and after a couple of miles stopped at the river registry.

We stopped to look for the May 16, 1836 Denis Julien inscription and again could not locate it. We continued down the river and around the Bowknot Bend and made camp right before dark on the shelf at mile 61.5. We paddled 17 ½ miles today with three brief stops. As this would be our last night on the river, nobody was in a hurry to bed down, so we sat up by the fire for quite a while. Ed shared a bottle of Tawny port, which was very good! Before we turned in we saw a helicopter fly in and land at a campsite ½ mile downstream at Two Mile Canyon. We never found out what happened but did recognize the boats of the Seattle party as we went by the next morning. Nobody hung any canvas tonight, we just threw down under the stars.

Saturday November 11, Day Seven. Up and on the river early again, we made the trip to Hell Roarin’ Canyon before noon. We made some coffee and went up to look at Denis Julien’s inscription from May 3, 1836.

We continued on down to the take out at Mineral bottom and once again experienced the melancholy feeling of finishing the trip. We loaded our boats and gear on the waiting vehicles, retrieved Ed’s truck from Crystal Geyser and headed home.
This is the third time I have made this trip. Each one has been the same and unique all at once. We met more people on the river than we had ever seen in the past. I would attribute that to the warm fall weather we had this year. Our group of six was very manageable and pleasant to travel with. The varied experience and knowledge of each person brought a strength to our group that would be hard to defeat in any wilderness situation.  To use an old phrase: “These are men (and one woman) to ride the river with!”  Once again, seven days on the river seemed like a long weekend. I call it “river time”. Time seems to become irrelevant much beyond sunrise and sunset. The days run together, and the experiences are so fine that life seems to change its pace just for us. We had a couple of miscues on this trip; Mary cut her fingers and ……… well, Keel Hole, but all went well and nothing, but good memories remain.

Posted in American Mountain Men, Historical Clothing and Equipment, Hunting & Trapping | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Missouri River Trip 2017

Day One – 6/30/17, Aaron & I left home about 6 pm and drove to Wheatland, WY where we got a room for the night.

   Day Two – 7/1/17, We traveled across Wyoming to Billings, MT where we stopped at a Walmart to resupply. We arrived at Ft. Benton at 6 pm, called Mike Nottingham and met him and his wife, Linda in Loma at 7 pm. We set up camp at Wood Bottom [Mile 20], rearranged our gear & settled in for the night.

   Day Three – 7/2/17, I awoke at daylight & was up by 5:15 am. We packed up and had some breakfast and were on the river around 6:30.

    We paddled 26.5 miles today. We saw Bald eagles, Golden eagles, osprey, northern harriers, many, many mule & whitetail deer, turtles, fish, beaver, fox, pelicans, Canada geese, loons or mergansers, Blue heron, goldfinches, carp and a King Fisher.

      At river mile 37.7, we passed an island where Lewis & Clark camped on June 1st, 1805. Before we reached Coal Banks landing we passed under the cables of the Virgelle ferry. We stopped at Coal Banks Landing where we registered and found out we had to pay $4 per day to float the river. We paddled on down to Little Sandy boat camp at mile 46.7 and set up camp about 2 pm. I washed up in the river and felt so much better for it. After the bath and a nap, Aaron caught a painted turtle. We examined it and made some sketches then released him into the river.        A family group of 11 landed near us and camped in the next site for the night. Later in the evening we watched a raccoon hunting along the opposite shore across the river.

   Day Four – 7/3/17, We paddled 21 miles from Little Sandy to Dark Butte boat camp, mile 68.75. We stopped to visit Jack Munro’s cabin where he lived in the 1870′ & 1880’s, trapping wolves and stealing horses. The movie “The Missouri Breaks” was loosely based on him.     We stopped to use the vault toilets at the “hole in the Wall” camp. We met up with another family group of canoers. We had a headwind up until this point in the day. When we made the corner at “Hole in the Wall’ it changed to a tailwind. Upon arriving at camp, we unloaded the canoe, hung up our hammocks and went swimming in the river. Today we saw an oriel, soft shelled turtles, a teal hen with chicks and coyotes hunting the far river bank and calling in the hills above camp. After swimming we took naps in our hammocks. Steamboat rock was above this camp.  2215 miles above St. Louis.       It was over 100 degrees today. The swim and the breeze down river felt really good as we rested in the shade of the cottonwood trees. Aaron went on a turtle hunt while I set my tent and studied our maps. We ate a cold supper and turned in early.    Day Five – 7/4/17, Independence Day! Today, Tuesday we arose at sunup and made it to Judith Landing by noon. Along the way we heard pheasants crowing and saw some Osprey as we did on Day Three. We saw many crows for the first time, this morning. It was not as hot today and we had a good downstream wind. At Judith Landing, we filled up with water, used the restrooms and paid our river fees.     We moved on down the river to Wood Duck boat camp at mile 96. Today was our longest day on the river at 27.25 miles. We had to chase the cows out of camp when we arrived. While we set up camp, a pair of Golden eagles circled us and flew back and forth across the river. We watched a deer on the shore across from us as we had a snack. We jumped in the river to cool off and retired to our hammocks to relax and stay out of the sun.     We saw a coyote on the rocks across the river and more deer. We had some freeze-dried lasagna for supper and turned in just before dark.   Day Six – 7/5/17, We arose after sunup, made coffee and broke camp. We stopped at the Hagedorn homestead and looked around. It is an amazing site, what with the old building, dishes, bottles and cans. Aaron caught a bull snake that I spotted in one of the sheds. We paddled on down to the McCormick-Stafford ferry and stopped to use the toilets. After only 15.5 miles on the river, we stopped to camp at Two Trees boat camp. While landing, and off-loading our gear, we saw a group of Bighorn sheep ewes and lambs on the far bank.     We strung our hammocks and rested through the afternoon heat. After a nap, we went swimming and I found a few rocks to bring home for Mary and many clam shells and even a few live clams. It was very hot today, over 100 degrees, I’m sure. We had a following wind today. The horse flies have been very bad the last two days. I think I have used more insect repellent on this trip than I have in the last two years.  We have seen nesting Bald eagles the last two days and have seen more eagles, both Golden and Bald than we can count. Ditto for pelicans, Canada geese, deer and coyotes.        I think this trip on the river should be a requirement for AMM membership. This stretch of river from Judith Landing to James Kipp Recreation Area is much the same as it was in the days of Lewis & Clark, Manual Lisa, Kenneth McKenzie, James Kipp, Jim Bridger, Thomas Fitzpatrick, etc., etc. The White Cliffs section is stunning, and similar to the canyons of the Green River, but these Missouri Breaks are the land of the mountain men, the traders and trappers we all try to emulate. To spend a few days here is to educate your soul into the true life of the beaver men. This area is so rich in history as to be overwhelming. Lewis & Clark, the fur trade, mining, steamboats, homesteaders, ranching, rustlers, etc., etc.    Day Seven – 7/6/17, we paddled 20 miles today to Lower Woodhawk campground. Upon arrival, we met a couple of BLM workers and visited with them for 30 minutes about the river, the campsites, their maps, etc. After setting up the hammocks I went for a swim. After my swim, I slept in the hammock for a while and Aaron hiked down to the old Nelson Homestead. This site was pretty buggy. In the evening, we had a rain storm which cooled things down quite nicely. It only rained enough to settle the dust and we sat in our hammocks in the rain and enjoyed the cooling effect. We saw a rabbit this evening after the rain and at dark the toads came out of the leaves and we saw several. Aaron caught one of them. Today we saw many deer and Bighorn sheep, crows, King birds and other birds. There were a pair of Northern Harriers teaching their young to fly on the hillside above camp and we watched them for quite some time. There is a large wildfire north of this camp. This morning we could smell the smoke and tonight we can see the plume.     We saw at least 4 different groups of sheep today as we paddled along. While traversing a back channel, we startled 3 deer and one of the fawns ran in front of us and jumped into the river and swam across right in front of us. That was pretty cool. There are many willows along the river here and much beaver sign. I saw a buck mule deer in velvet on one of the islands today.

Day Eight – 7/7/17, we paddled 18.25 miles today. We passed the Grand Island on the north side. We arrived at James Kipp Recreation Area a little before 1 pm, loaded our gear on the truck and headed south. Today we saw turkey vultures, many more turtles, deer, crows, geese, ducks, etc.

Posted in American Mountain Men, Events, Historical Clothing and Equipment, Hunting & Trapping | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Do you really need that?

I am just as guilty as the next guy when it comes to bringing too much stuff to a rendezvous, re-enactment or other historic event.  It seems we have so much cool stuff and so little opportunity to use it that it is easy to over pack in the hopes of getting to use our toys during our outings.

There are some modern items that we bring as well.  Medical necessities and cameras are the most common.  Some rendezvous even allow the use of propane stoves to cook on during a fire ban, rather than cancel their event or force the participants into having cold food during the entire event.

There is one item that I have been seeing way too much of and that is the cell phone.  They are everywhere in our daily life and it seems we have gotten so addicted to the damn things that we can’t put them down for a few minutes, let alone a weekend or week long event!  I am as guilty as the next guy about cell phone usage, however they are completely inappropriate for any and all historical re-enactment!

The past two years I have taken two wilderness trips for 5-7 days each.  During these trips, I have not had a cell phone or any coverage, if we would’ve had one.  None of us has missed it.  In fact it has been quite the opposite.  We have reveled in the fact that we were in the wilderness with only ourselves and each other to rely on.  What would we do in an emergency, you might ask?  Well, we would do just the same as our fathers and grandfathers would have done.  We would’ve handled it!

From this point on, I am committed to leaving as much modern stuff as I can behind, not to over pack my historically correct stuff, and to leave that God Damned cell phone in the car!DSC05749


Posted in American Mountain Men, Historical Clothing and Equipment, Miscellaneous, Pet Peeves & Other Rants! | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Wolf Eared Hat

I have been intrigued by the wolf eared hat since I first started studying Alfred Jacob Miller’s paintings.  They most certainly are a hunter’s hat and an early form of camouflage.  I have seen many attempts at re-creating these unique hats and have even tried my hand at it.

The following links have great articles about the hats of the fur trade and delve into the construction and patterns of the hunter’s hoods aka wolf eared hats.



These hats range in style from a true wolf ear to horns and even some that Batman would envy.

However, there is one hat I’ve seen that I really don’t understand or care for.  I refer to it as the bunny eared hat.  I guess the bunny is one of the most harmless creatures on the prairie and in the mountains so the wearer should be able to sneak up on anything or anyone without raising an alarm.  I personally think the wearer looks absolutely foolish, stupid even.  But, to each his own.  If the shoe fits, lace that bitch up and wear it!!!

Posted in American Mountain Men, Historical Clothing and Equipment, Pet Peeves & Other Rants! | Tagged | Leave a comment