The first rendezvous was in 1825, when William Ashley brought supplies to the trappers who gathered at Henry's Fork of
the Green River. Thus began a yearly tradition of resupply and hard
partying for the mountain men that lasted until 1842. For men who had
spent the whole year working in the lakes and streams of the Rocky
Mountains, isolated from all but their small band of partners and
occasional contact with the local residents, this was a time to renew
friendships and acquaintances, sell their furs, drink, play, gamble,
compete in marksmanship, horse racing, wrestling, and storytelling, and
stock up on everything they needed for the next year. Often, the trappers
left the rendezvous as broke as they were when they arrived, but there
was always next year to look forward to, and more stories to share. Today, we still rendezvous, more often, and in more places. All over
the country, people step back 200 years to relive those "Shinin' Times,"
gathering in valleys, forests, and fields to reenact these joyful
occasions, sharing stories,
competing in marksmanship, tomahawk and
knife throwing, archery, and various other contests of skill, and
joining around the campfire with music and camaraderie.
Right, JP at the 1838 Rendezvous, Riverton, WY.
Above left, Bob at Surry, VA.
Left, Port Angeles, WA
Tamer now than
those historic encampments, modern rendezvous are family events, and the
young participate and learn along with their elders, about history, outdoor skills, safe firearms handling, and respect for the natural
Flint knapping at the Eastern Primitive
Eagle Creek, Washington, above. Bob and Curley, Rimrock, WA, below
JP and Bob makin' music, Skull Springs, WA
The photos on this page are from various rendezvous in Washington State, Montana, Wyoming, Pennsylvania and Virginia. All bear similarities, subtle differences in style, but all share in common, a dedication to preserving skills and knowledge of the era of the Mountain Man and the history of our nation, and a respect for the people, those who were there before, during, and after the "Shinin' Times."
Left, Bill takes his shot, Surry, VA. Right, Julie does time in the stocks for some unknown heinous crime, all in fun, of course! Surry, VA.
Left, Kevin, alias "Mad Hatter" arrives in camp at Surry, VA., while fellow campmate, JL checks out his purchases from sutler's row, below.
It's a family affair, left at Surry.
Right, Kevin & Bob at Surry.
Bob and son, Ethan at Whidbey Island, WA, on the 'Hawk and knife trail, below left. Below, a comfortable camp at Whidbey Island, WA.
Right, a demonstration of Lewis & Clark's air rifle. Very cool! Below, we all took turns shooting it.
Far right, Hostages for trade?
These pictures and the ones below are from the Eastern Primitive, which was held that year at Muddy Run, Pennsylvania. Right, the Three Arts!
The archery walk was tough! Our camp, right. The highlanders were there to toss the caber, haggis, and other stuff! The younger rendezvousers had a great time, too! The sun sets on Surry camp, above and below. Right, a trio of tipis, Eagle Creek, WA
Our camp, Belle Grove, VA
Reprobates! Bob, Kevin, Bill, and JP
at Belle Grove, VA. (Right)
JP, Jeff and Bob at Skull Springs, WA Below, JP ready for the hunt Right, my shield. Waitin' on the stewpot, Surry. A special place of vision. My most recent camp at Surry, the Fall 2013 Rendezvous. The flag is the first
U.S. Naval ensign, flown by John Paul Jones aboard his ship during the
Revolutionary War. So why am I flyin' it high and dry? Well, John Paul is my
Great-a bunch of times-Granddaddy, I'm an old sea captain myself, and as
you can see, there's enough wind there to make my camp sail away!