Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Mountain music.

When I went to the annual Mountain Man Rendezvous in Ft. Bridger, Wyoming this past holiday weekend, I didn't quite understand what it meant or why it existed. Why people would want to dress like old prospectors and indians in loincloths and bear trappers and the like was simply beyond my way of thinking. I went simply because I thought it'd be some of the best people watching I'd ever see ... and because I felt that my having a beard would allow me to fit in with the rest somehow. (And, because, well, my friends were going, too.)

I was right about the people watching (the best you could imagine, multiplied by about a-thousand), but the beard barely won me a passing glance from the diehards. It was a trip back in time, really, to a simpler way of life. This went beyond role playing or wishing. There was a rich authenticity to it all that was hard to shake. These were people who played mountain music about crosseyed toothless women on their guitars and ate Dutch oven breakfasts and sold homemade root beer in an array of glass bottles. They peddled mismatched beaded necklaces and told wild-eyed hunting stories and had church services in the cool clouded outdoors (a rare treat that included dogs and blankets and wandering bonneted children). People were congenial with one another and remembered faces and friends from years past. I was ever the outsider looking into this. And, over the course of two days, I marveled plenty.

I went away from the experience wondering why I didn't wear moccasin boots and the hide of an animal across my back, because I wanted to belong to this way of life, too. I wanted to have slept all weekend in a teepee. I wanted this to be as real as it had felt. I'd imagine that I wasn't the only one to walk away with such thoughts, either. I'm sure that, years before, some of the good folks here and felt then exactly as I do now. You have to start somewhere, am I right?


jess said...

hate to break it to you but your shirt is too hip for such an occasion. you did look like an imposter (sp?) it's a good look though, now you know how to dress for next year :)

plainoldsarah said...

i'm pleased to brag that i have an aunt and uncle that attend religiously. they're even working on creating a little "colonial town" of sorts in provo where people can come visit on a regular basis. cool i say.

Dainon. said...

I hope they actually call it Colonial Town. Pass that on to them, would you?

Sherpa said...

I saw your picture on Facebook and KNEW you went to the Rendevous but forgot to ask. I figured I'd here on your blog about it eventually.

My grandpa is from Fort Bridger area so I've been to the Rendevous several times as a kid. We'd also get the mountain men wearing only loincloths coming down through Vernal around that time every year. Good times.

My parents had a teepee..one out of canvas, but a real teepee that needs lodgepole pines for its poles. I have good memories of that thing. In fact, I bet they have it. You should show up sometime and ask them about it. ;)