These daring individuals survived starvation, dehydration, harsh cold and burning heat. They had to steer clear of wild, predatory animals in the wilderness. It was a lonely life of extreme isolation.
Their lives were full of danger, considering they lived in the wilds of America's Old West. Fur trapping was their trade because fur was in great demand back east for fashionable clothing and gentlemen's top hats.
Mountain men made very little contact with the outside world, except when they visited remote trading posts or attended rendezvous. Jim Bridger was one of the most famous mountain men, along with Jedediah Smith.
The above photo was taken in Riverton, Wyoming, located in the historic 1838 Rendezvous site where mountain men met to trade animal pelts for supplies. The site lies at the confluence of the Big and Little Wind Rivers. The area has also been a meeting place for Native Americans since pre-history.
Every year in July, members of Riverton's Chamber of Commerce put on a rendezvous re-enactment at this river sandbar. During the annual gathering, they offer seminars on fur trapping methods, demonstrate Dutch oven cooking, flint knapping, fire starting, and much more.
My visit was in August, so the area was deserted, yet it held silent historic significance. Signs tell visitors the area has been left much as it was back in the past.
If you can plan a trip to Riverton in July during the rendezvous, you will get to see and experience some amazing things!
If time allows, plan a visit to the Wind River Heritage Center Wind River Heritage Center - Travel Wyoming where you'll get to see an actual trapper's cabin, a 1908 homesteaders' cabin, along with a display of Wyoming's wildlife and a wax museum featuring historical characters who were pivotal to Wyoming's settlement.
Would you have wanted to be a pioneer of the Old West?