Transcendentalists

“A man in debt is so far a slave” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the early 1800s a philosophical movement took root in the Eastern United States. It began due to the disapproval against the intellectualism and spirituality during that time.

It’s characteristics were:

1) Self Reliance

2) A connection to nature

3) Free-thought

4) Nonconformity

5) Confidence

They believed:

To transcend the real world one must contemplate nature.

Everything is a reflection of God.

Instead of being a follower one was better off entertaining the idea of individualism and self-reliance.

True feelings and intuition were superior to book knowledge.

Instinct would give one a better understanding of God’s Spirit.

It was an American literary, political and philosophical movement. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote about Transcendentalism in great depth. Other noted authors were Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Amos Bronson Alcott, Frederic Henry Hedge, and Theodore Parker.

Transcendentalists believed one should cut ties with organized religion and politics and become an independent thinker in order to achieve their best. It was also believed that organized religion and political parties led to the corruption of the purity of an individual.

“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

However Transcendentalism relied heavily on an individual’s cognitive ability or intuition. It was thought that those trying to yield to conformity at the time, became unhappy and dissatisfied.

Is Transcendentalism still in existence today?

That is a good question. There are those that say yes and there are plenty of no votes. It obviously isn’t as popular as it was in the nineteenth century.

Simplicity can be seen by acts of individual kindness and honesty. The importance of nature has not faded through the years. It is alive and well in today’s world. The beauty of nature still inspires and awakens the spirit of many individuals. Self-reliance and confidence isn’t as prevalent as it used to be but still exists to some degree. As far as nonconformity it is pretty much nonexistent but can be found in the “preppers” and those who choose to sell everything and live off the grid and become self reliant.

If you would like to learn more about Transcendentalism I urge you to read Essays and Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Be kind to everyone and spread the love.

True Friendship

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” Woodrow T Wilson

Friendship is the glue that binds people to each other. True friendship can bring happiness into one’s life.

Fair weather friends tend to give friendship a bad reputation. They cause heartbreak and create a stormy relationship.

“A friend is someone who understandS your past, believes in your future and accepts you just the way you are.” – Unknown

True friendship is when you both realize there are certain topics you have to avoid talking about.A silent understanding that sometimes you just have to agree to disagree. It’s respecting each other’s believes and ideologies so as not to jeopardize your friendship.

“The friendship that can cease has never been real.”- St. Jerome

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

Unfathomable Determination

The rain has pretty much settled in for the night. I sit here with my eyes closed listening to the raindrops dancing on the tin roof creating a soothing symphony.

My mind focuses on those brave men and women, the pioneers, who settled the west. They had no idea of the challenges they would face. The only idea they had of where they were going was the tales they had in there minds put there by the adventurers who went before them.

There were stories of feast and famine. Massacres. Whole wagon trains who died and didn’t fulfill their dreams. Disease and prairie fires. Yet these people had a dream that so obsessed them they were willing to sacrifice anything and everything to follow their dream. That profound dedication my friends died with them and no longer exists in this country anymore.

I don’t know if you have ever been camping in the rain but I can tell you from experience it can be very miserable.

I sit here in the coziness of my cabin listening to the rain and I have a vision of men, women, and children huddled together under the rain fly of a wagon trying to get their nourishment so they will have the stamina to do another 10 to 20 miles beginning at dawn. One can only imagine the sore muscles they must have been nursing. Wondering how much further they have to travel. How many more river crossings and broken wagon wheels they will have to endure. Will it be their wagon that breaks this time? How many more of their possessions will they have to leave behind so they can lighten the load on the wagons so they can get them over the mountain?

With these things dancing through their minds it had to be difficult to sleep. Knowing all to well they needed to sleep so they could get the much needed rest to complete another leg of their journey.

The fingers of dawn ascend on their camp. The rain has stopped and the day promises sunshine to dry things out. They begin packing the wagons, hitching the teams and checking the wagons so they can start out once again. They have to battle the annoying suction created by the mud delivering another hardship for them to deal with.

Guts and grit kept them pushing toward their destination and failure was not an option. True representation of determination and faith. They not only needed faith in God. They had to have faith in those leading them and most of all faith in themselves. There were those who celebrated and those who endured heartbreak. So many died along those trails who never lost sight of their dream and died trying to bring their dream to reality.

People could learn a lot from these pioneers and use it in their lives to achieve their dreams. Don’t ever stop believing. They didn’t.

Spread the love and be kind to one another. It doesn’t cost you anything.

A Day in the Arcadia Valley of Missouri

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Welcome Center Fort Davidson Pilot Knob, MO

My long time friend David Tripp journeyed from Texas to visit his parents and he got in touch with me and we decided to take a trip to the Arcadia Valley in Missouri.  The temperatures were bitter cold but we didn’t let that stop us.  We decided to start our day with lunch at the Fort Davidson Restaurant in Pilot Knob, MO.

After an excellent lunch we headed to the site of Fort Davidson. The only thing left of the fort is the earthworks of the fort, surrounding the huge hole that was caused by a powder explosion.  The site is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The Civil War Trust (a division of the American Battlefield Trust) and its partners acquired and preserved 41 acres of the battlefield that are now a part of the state historic site.

The Battle of Fort Davidson, also known as the Battle of Pilot Knob, was fought on September 27, 1864.  It was the opening engagement of Price’s Missouri Raid during the American Civil War.  Price had the Union army  outnumbered by more than 10 to 1 but Thomas Ewing’s men held off Price’s Confederate army during the day and when night time fell they were able to slip away leaving the Confederates with possession of the fort.

On the site is a granite monument that marks where a mass grave is.  Maps are available at the Visitors’ Center that can be used to do a self-guided tour.  The visitor center offers a narrated version of the battle and its context within the Civil War.

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Dam of the Iron Mountain Lake  in Missouri

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Wooden bridge spanning the creek that handles the overflow.

After visiting Fort Davidson we headed over to see Iron Mountain Lake in St. Francois county of Missouri.  It is located in the city of Iron Mountain Lake whose population was estimated in 2016 to be around 736.

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View from the top of Taum Sauk Mountain in Missouri

Our next stop would be Taum Sauk Mountain which is a part of the St. Francois Mountains.  It is the highest natural point in the state of Missouri coming in at 1,772 feet.  It is believed that Tom Sauk Mountain was named after Sauk-Ton-Qua a Piankeshaw chief.  The view on top is quite breathtaking in the least.

There is a state park on Taum Sauk that is made up of 7500 acres.  There are a series of trails in the park including a portion of the Ozark Trail.  There is a 12-site basic campground and a special use area for non-profit youth organizations.  For day use there is a picnic area.

The park has its own legend.  It is a Native American “Romeo and Juliet” story.  The daughter of Piankeshaw chieftain Sauk-Ton-Qua’s daughter Mina Sauk fell in love with an Osage Indian warrior.  They met secretly and one day she was caught in his arms.  There was a trial and he was found guilty and he was executed.  Mina Sauk was so heartbroken she plunged from a cliff and took her own life.  This tragedy unfolded at a place on the mountain now called Mina Sauk Falls.

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View on top of Tom Sauk Mountain

We loaded up and headed to Elephant Rocks State Park, a geologic marvel. The park encompasses an outcrop of Precambrian granite in the Saint Francois Mountains.  The name comes from a line of large granite boulders that resemble elephants.  Recreation is available in the form of picnicking, rock climbing and trail exploration. It is managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.  The land that makes up the park was donated by geologist John Stafford in 1967.

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Elephant Rocks

 

The last stop was the historic Caledonia, MO., a small town located in Washington county.  The town was laid out in 1819 and was named after the Roman Empire’s Latin name for Scotland.  The town has had the presence of a post office since 1819.  The 2010 census showed a population of 130.  The town is also known for its annual Pumpkin Festival.

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Two historical homes of  Caledonia

It was a good day and there is so much to see in the Arcadia Valley.  There is also Johnson Shut Ins, Royal Gorge, Marble Creek Recreation Area and Immanuel Lutheran Church 1861.  There are places to camp or one can choose to stay in one of the many Bed and Breakfasts, Inns or motels.  The towns of Arcadia, Ironton and Pilot Knob are located within the valley.  It is a great way to spend the day or weekend.  I highly recommend Fort Davidson Restaurant if you are looking for some great cooking.

Spread the love and be kind to each other.

 

Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, MO

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On March 4, 1826, Major General Jacob J. Brown, Commanding General of the Army, issued Special Order No. 13 which he instructed Bvt. General Henry Atkinson, Commanding Officer of the 6th Infantry Regiment , and Bvt. Major General Edmund P. Gaines, Commander of the Western Department of the Army,”…to select some position near the mouth of Missouri River [net exceeding a range of 20 miles] which in their judgement may be deamed [sic] the best for the establishment of an infantry school of instruction.”That was the inception of Jefferson Barracks Military Post.  It was an important and active U.S. Army installation from 1826 through 1946.  It is the oldest operating U.S. Military installation west of the Mississippi River.  It is presently used as a base for the Army and Air National Guard.The first conflict that the soldiers of Jefferson Barracks were involved in happened in 1832 and it was known as the Black Hawk War.  During the Civil War it was used as a military hospital for both sides as well as a recruitment center for the north.  By the end of the war they had treated well over 18,000 soldiers.The Jefferson Barracks Military Post Cemetery was established in 1826.  The first known burial was Elizabeth Ann Lash, the infant child of an officer stationed there.  In 1866 it became a United States National Cemetery.DSC_0007July 31,2018, my daughter in law, grandson and myself visited the Missouri Civil War Museum located in Jefferson Barracks located in the old Jefferson Barracks 1905 Post Exchange Building.  Since its opening in June 2013, it has become one of the largest Civil War Museums in the U.S.  Its focus is entirely on Missouri’s role in the American Civil War.45.The 22,000 square foot museum is filled with over one thousand artifacts and several films are available for your viewing.  Each gallery and exhibit tells a story of Missouri in the American Civil War, from guerrillas and jayhawkers to life on the home front.  There are also galleries on Jefferson Barracks history and the post-war era.6312Pics above are of some of the displays located inside the museum.Personally I think the museum is well worth the visit.  Inside the gift shop is a fine collection of books written about the civil war along with souvenirs.My hat is off to the Missouri Civil War Museum group that was formed in 2002.  They managed to raise 1.7 million dollars for the restoration of the building.  When you see the before and after pics you will see what an enormous undertaking it was to restore the building.  A big thank you to everyone that made this museum possible.The museum is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  You can find out more at mcwm.org.

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My daughter in law who really enjoyed the museum.

Memorial Day

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This grave is located in the Masonic Cemetery in Farmington, MO.

Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” – Franklin D Roosevelt

Memorial Day is upon us.  I know some of you out there aren’t going to believe this but there is a real purpose and reason for Memorial Day other than going out and seeing how hard you can party for three days.  It is a holiday with true meaning and really shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Memorial day was first observed on May 30, 1868 and in 1971 by an act of Congress it was declared a national holiday.  The day of observance was also changed from May 30 to the last Monday in May.  It is also referred to as “Decoration Day”.  The practice of decorating soldiers graves has been a custom for some time even before the Civil War.

In 1868 Memorial Day ceremonies began at Gettysburg National Park but wasn’t known nationally until 1913.  That year veterans of the United States Army and Confederate Army converged on Gettysburg to commemorate the most famous and bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

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Picture taken by me in the Masonic Cemetery located in Farmington, MO.

There will be a special ceremony at this Revolutionary Soldier’s grave tomorrow but I am sorry I don’t know the time.

“For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.” James A. Garfield

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My office at K of P Cemetery located in Farmington, Mo.

As I sit here writing my mind is taken back many years ago when I was a child and we would go camping upon the banks of the St. Francois River at a place we dubbed “sandy banks” located just below the Lake Wappapello dam.  There are a lot of great memories on those banks.  It has been at least 45 years since I have been there but it just seems just like yesterday.

War brings so many casualties and adds to the populations of the cemeteries.  This is the day that was designated by Congress to remember those that lost their lives while serving in the military.  To all you party revelers out there, you have had two days to play and party hard.  I ask that you take one minute of your time today and have a moment of silence for those brave men and women who paid the ultimate price with their lives.

I mow three cemeteries and know for a fact that a lot of graves never receive flowers or visitors.  I would like to see a movement in this country where folks adopt one of those soldiers graves and decorate it with flowers.  You don’t have to know them to place flowers on their graves.

 

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My great grandparents headstone located in Arkansas.

Many areas of the country also decorate the graves of their family members regardless of them not being a vet.

In closing I want to wish everyone a safe holiday and if you are traveling be careful.  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.

 

Goodbye Winter; Hello Spring

 

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Soon winter will lose its grip and spring flowers and plants will brighten this area.

“March is a month of considerable frustration – it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activities in our yards seems light years away.” – Thalassa Cruso

The seasons will soon come full circle once again.  In a few days winter the winter season will be over and spring will be the new sheriff in town.  Mother Nature will begin a rebirth and the countryside will be filled with flowers, tender young plants and newborn forest critters.

Baseball spring training camps will become a hive of activity.  Farmers will begin preparing their fields for planting.  The hillsides will come alive as Mother Nature paints them with the colors of the wild plum, redbud and dogwood trees.

Mother Earth will once again renew herself and the circle will begin anew and once again end with winter.  Here in the Midwest I can remember when spring lasted for awhile.  However in the last 5 or 6 years it seems like we go straight from winter to summer with just a smidgen of spring in between.

“Behold, my friends ,the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” – Sitting Bull

With the spring comes the spring rains and the flooding.  Man has done a real good job of causing historical floods by building their levees.  The floods use to clean out and remodel the riparian area of the river which was good for the river.  With the levees the water backs up and stays put for a longer period of time and I think this makes the flooding less effective at clearing out some of the debris.  Oh well that is my story and I am sticking to it.

We have had some big snows in March.  I remember when I was a youngster, one Easter we woke up to 6 inches of snow on the ground.  We have a couple of sayings here in Missouri though about the weather.

“Don’t like the weather you say.  Stick around for it is sure to change in a couple of hours.’

“Here in Missouri you can experience all 4 seasons in one day.”

 

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A Sign of Spring

Here they are calling for high of 50, low of 36 and Sunday high of 39 and low of 37 with a chance of rain or snow.  Winter is still holding on.

“The coming and going of the seasons give us more than the springtimes, summers, autumns, and winters of our lives.  It reflects the coming and going of the circumstances of our lives like the glassy surface of a pond that shows our faces radiant with joy or contorted with pain.” – Gary Zukav

I don’t know if we will have a lengthy spring or the scaled down version but I hope it takes a while to give in to summer.  Time will tell and we will have to take whatever Mother Nature deals us.  That is part of what makes life interesting.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Remember to share the love.

 

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A March sunset in the Midwest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerson, Politics and Myself

 

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I call it “The Rock of David”.

“The teaching of politics is that the Government, which was set for protection and comfort of all good citizens, becomes the principal obstruction and nuisance with which we have to contend… The cheat and bully and malefactor we meet everywhere is the Government.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson writes in his essay on politics that an ideal government, advocated for the growth of the individual and would be able to protect one’s individual rights.  Once an individual became completely independent and self-reliant they would be ready for democracy and the government could be abolished.  The richest asset one could have is the mind and the intelligence needed from each individual would triumph over politics and business interests.  He also valued personal rights over property rights.

He tells us that “The law is only a memorandum.” and his most popular quote was “The less government we have the better.”  Emerson had complete faith in the individual but he does a turn about on his views toward nations.  He goes as far to write, “Every actual state is corrupt.”  Political parties are “made out of necessity” out of the time period and not of any underlying theory.  He was not satisfied with either party at the time and hinted to the natural inequality the system adhered to and its effects.  Even back then he didn’t trust the pulpit and the press.  This is from Essays: Second Series published in 1844.

Now fast forward to 2017 and hold on to your arse.  Less government is certainly out of the question and there is very little trust for the press and the pulpit.  Our government has become enormous.  The thing that fascinates me is that we Americans put our trust in a group of people who steal from us (i.e. Social Security) and unless you have a rather large sum of money to invest in a campaign you aren’t going to get elected.  The majority of most of these elections are won by the person who had the most money to spend.  No, I didn’t say always I said most.  The average John Q Public has no way to be successful in a bid for a US Senate seat or House of Representatives.  The qualifications are easy enough.

Senate: 1) at least 30 years old  2) a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years at the time of election to the Senate  3) a resident of the state one is elected to represent in the Senate.

House of Representatives: 1) be at least 25 years old  2) have been a resident of the United States for the last 7 years  3) be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the state they represent.

Wow!  We trust these people to do what  is best for us?  Not even a high school diploma or GED required.  The real kicker, why would someone spend a million dollars to procure a job that pays one hundred seventy four thousand to two hundred thousand dollars a year?

 

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I see the bad moon arising, I see trouble on the way………

 

“Every actual State is corrupt.  Good men must not obey the laws too well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don’t know what the future holds but I personally think trouble is on its way.  We are a country that instead of taking a problem head on we just pass another useless law.  Representatives that make promises and never follow through.  Both parties promise the moon and deliver nothing.   Both sides still refuse to acknowledge why the election of 2016 went the way it did.  Fact is that Americans are fed up with the whole mess and demonstrated that in the voting booth and democrats and republicans still refuse to acknowledge it.

In my heart I truly believe the framers of the constitution tried their best to protect us from the greed of politicians.  Greed however is hard for humans to overcome and very hard to defeat.  The corruption within our government and political system iseventually going to be the death of a once great nation.  It is been there a long time but it seems the new politicians are bolder than those before them or maybe they aren’t as smart as their predecessors, because they aren’t doing a very good job of hiding it.

I hope Americans remain awake and keep sending a message to politicians that we have had enough.  They work for and represent us and it is time we quit keeping them in office when they don’t have our best interests in mind.  Ok I will shut up now.  I know I am beating a dead horse.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I really don’t like to write about this particular subject however I just needed to get it off my chest.  I am tired of seeing my friends and family arguing over a bunch of thugs, yeah I called them thugs, that don’t give a rat’s patootie about them.  Be sure to spread the love.

A Little Bit About Henry David Thoreau

 

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Monsanto Lake

“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time.  To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating.  I love to be alone.  I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I think one reason that I find the work of Thoreau so magical is because of the many things I feel we have in common, I too love to be alone.  Is it indicative of a selfish person?  I would hope not.  I personally don’t consider myself a selfish person.  I would like to think of it as a trait of someone that is independent and a survivor.  I am not what I would call a very materialistic person.  I am just a simple man who isn’t fond of drama and keeps negativity at a great distance.

In 1845 Thoreau built a cabin upon the shores of Walden Pond, a lake in Concord Massachusetts.  For the next two years, two months, and two days he would record his experiences as he learned to eliminate the material and spiritual details that trespass upon our happiness.  I can’t help but think what conclusion he would have come to today in a world dependent on modern technology?  Would he have been able to pull it off?  Yes I think he could have.

Walden: Life In the Woods was published in 1854.  It was a reflection upon the two years he spent living the simple life as a way of declaring self-reliance and independence.  Some folks have even referred to it as a manual for self-reliance.  During this time he wrote his first book, “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers”.

 

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Monsanto Lake

 

I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.  I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.” Henry David Thoreau

I can’t emphasis enough, how envious of Thoreau I am.  In a situation such as he created, I would think that one would learn to love themselves.  I am a firm believer that if one wants to succeed in life they must learn to love themselves.  I have spent two weeks by myself in the woods living the “simple life” and learned a lot about myself during that time.  I can only imagine what one would learn in two years.

I suppose though that this “alone time” could be detrimental to some folks suffering from depression.  It is hard for those folks to be alone and some definitely don’t need all that time to think.  If those people could train themselves to live this time alone and at the same time deal with depression I think it would be very beneficial to them.  Maybe, just maybe it would be a good avenue to use to defeat their demons and learn how to keep them away.

Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you enjoyed it and the pics I shot.  The pictures are of Monsanto Lake located in the St. Joe Park located in St. Francois county near Park Hills, MO.  I could just see myself living in a cabin on the shores of the lake for two years.  Don’t forget to spread the love.

 

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Monsanto Lake

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”  Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Life in the Woods

 

 

 

Another Time, Another Place

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I defy the annals of chivalry to furnish the record of a life more wild and perilous than that of a Rocky Mountain trapper.” – Francis Parkman

Have you ever wished you were born in another time?  I have on more than one occasion.  If I could have chose when I was going to start my journey on Mother Earth, it would have been during the era of the Mountain Men.

Mountain men were most common in the Rocky Mountains from around 1810 to 1880.  They were male trappers and explorers who lived in the wilderness and were instrumental in opening various Emigrant Trails.  Most mountain men worked for a major fur company however a large amount of them chose to be free trappers.

Fur trading companies implemented a system for the mountain men to sell their furs.  It was called the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, founded by William Henry Ashley, and was around from 1825 to 1840.  James Beckwourth once described the Rendezvous as “Mirth, songs, dancing, shouting, trading, trading, running, jumping, singing, racing, target shooting, yarns, frolic, with all sorts of  extravagances that white men or Indians could invent.”  The Rendezvous is still celebrated yearly throughout the United States in honor of the mountain man.  There are black powder rifle shooting contests, knife throwing, tomahawk throwing and primitive archery contests.  Folks dress the part of the era and participate in primitive camping and cooking.

“A mountain man tries to live with the country instead of against it.” Louis L’Amour

The life of a mountain man wasn’t easy.  It was hard and many didn’t last very long.  They had to be knowledgeable about medicinal plants and be able to treat themselves when they got sick or hurt.  They had to contend with bear, wolves and mountain lions to name a few.  They also had clashes with the Native Americans in the area.  They had to know how to trap, hunt, fish, tan hides, make their own clothes, and build sound shelter.  They had to be survivors.

A few notable mountain men were:

Jim Beckwourth – (1798-1866)  African American who lived with the Crow and attained the position, “war chief”.

Jim Bridger – (1804-1881) Was among  the first non-natives to see geysers and the wonders of the Yellowstone Region.

John Colter – (1774-1812) One of the first mountain men and was a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

A few others were, George Drouillard, Sylvan “Buckskin Bill” Hart, John “Liver-Eating” Johnson, Joseph Lafyette “Joe” Meek, Jedediah Smith and William Lewis Sublette.

“The mountains have rules, they are harsh rules, but they are there, and if you keep to them you are safe.  A mountain is not like men.  A mountain is sincere.  The weapons to conquer it exist inside you, inside your soul.” – Walter Bonatti

There have been times that I was floating down the river and would imagine myself as a mountain man and try to imagine what it was like to look upon sites that no white man had ever saw.  They had to be blown away by some of the breath taking scenes they saw.  How they must have felt when they came face to face with a blizzard and endured a Rocky Mountain winter.  They had to feel great accomplishment and jump with joy when spring fell upon the mountains and melted the winter snows.  Pardon my “French” but they had to have “gonads” the size of Texas.  They had no idea what they would face.  No doctors to run to when they got hurt or sick and if something happened to your supply of coffee your were out for a long time and it was a long way to a store to get more.

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“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir

It would have been a tough life and quite a challenge but I would have loved to try it.  Failure during that time usually meant a loss of life.  Definitely the “ultimate challenge” that would separate men from the boys or should I say real men from the men?

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  Spread the love.