(This article was written 2011. it was moved from the menu to articles in 2015)
This is the story of how the Scandinavian Mountain Men came to be. It's sort of a love story actually, or at least a passionate one.
In 2004 I (Char) met a guy at a fairly large Swedish rendezvous, his name was Mike Nilsson and after a few minutes together we knew we shared something special. He showed me his incredible Crow beadwork and I how to make fire with flint and "bright oval" fire steel. There was simply something about the details I think. We didn't just wear or use something. We could both tell a story about the objects origin and why that made it a part of our outfit.
One year later at another rendezvous our trails crossed once more. This time I lost my ability to speak. The dude stands in front of me fully dressed as an 18th century longhunter. After catching my breath we soon started to discuss what to do about our common love for American frontier history. A quick conclusion was that rendezvous are fun, but spending time in the forest putting our historic gear to the test... even better!
Some time after that we decided to start a brotherhood for people who shared our passion. We named it the Scandinavian Mountain Men, perhaps a bad choice for a brotherhood covering much more frontier history than the mountain men. But some how it felt right.
Since we were only two members we both kept our eyes skinned for others that might share our obsession. And in the spring of 2006 we found what we were looking for. I ask a guy about a pannier (a very rare occurrence in Sweden) and he turns out to be a first grade horseman that identified himself with no other than Hugh Glass. Charlie Blomqvist was his name, but now we call him Muleskinner. A third brother was a fact.
Our first official S.M.M. event occurred a rainy November weekend in 2006. Charlie had invited Mike and me to his place for a weekend on horse back. A wet event indeed and Charlie’s runny nose and coughing developed into pneumonia. About the same time Mike created what is now this official S.M.M. website and the world had a chance to read all about us.
About the same time we decided membership would be accomplished through invitation only. It wasn’t enough to just be a fellow re-enactor, you would also have to fit socially in the group.
That was the beginning. At the time I write this five years has past. We are now five brothers as Richard and David tagged along, both members because they are loveable guys that share a passion for the history and lifestyle of American frontiers people.
We all re-create both clothing and gear using available documentation and re-search for historical accuracy. We try to get together at least once every season of the year to camp, ride, canoe, trap or spend a weekend on snowshoes. Between those precious moments we visit a rendezvous or two to boast about our adventures, have a drink and enjoy the company of our fellow buckskinners outside the S.M.M. We also make an effort to share our knowledge and other historical information on our website as well as journal notes and pictures from our adventures.
Hopefully we will be along for quite some time to come. New adventures are always being planned. So keep comming back and you will hear all about it!
A decade of S.M.M., the love story continues.
This year, 2016, the S.M.M. has been active for 10 years! But years are not the only thing that has been added as we now consist of 11 grand S.M.M. brothers and sisters from both Sweden and Denmark!
If you don’t like bragging you should probably stop reading about here.
As written above, this group started out with two guys driven by the urge for a somewhat different trail than that chosen by many other buckskinners in Sweden. With rendezvous still being the center of the hobby for most, the S.M.M. was to a large part created to bring these wilderness characters back to their source, both in appearance and lifestyle out in the wild.
Today others who share our passion have joined us on our trail as brothers and sisters. Our combined efforts has enabled us to do things first discarded as foolish dreams.
Although not often enough, we have lived up to the original ambition, and still manage to get our moccasins wet more or less quarterly. Rides, canoe trips, treks on foot, colleges and snowshoe treks out in the Scandinavian forests with the addition of a few rendezvous have all become cherished S.M.M. traditions. A few of our members have had the opportunity to visit the original stomping grounds across the Atlantic. Travels to other European countries has also occurred in the name of our passion
As research is a natural part of the path we have chosen, we have also managed to both find and share a wealth of information. Some known to others but new to the Scandinavian buckskinning arena, and some unique to the entire world of fur trade enthusiasts.
In our search for authenticity, experience, skills and materials we have learned a lot over the years! Beavers have been skinned, traps have been set (all according to our hunting laws), camps have been erected and taken down, fire from flint and steel has been lit, food has been found, foundations for scars have been laid, horse wrecks has been known to happen, knife cuts are standard procedure, millions and millions of stitches have been made by hand, patterns have been developed, skins have been tanned, moccasins have been worn out, rifles have been broken by the power of a horse kick. We have been wet, fatigued, cold, tired, warm, pissed and hungry. But most of all enormously happy that we are able to do what we do!
In fact WE are unique! Perhaps not in a worldwide perspective. But in our part of the world I dare to say we have accomplished something quite extra ordinary. The trail leading to this point has sure been tough sometimes, and we have changed and developed both as persons and as a group over the years. With a growing number of members the range of special interests and skills has widened our horizon. Combined with a sharing mentality it has made us all the better at what we do.
Being one of those guys who intimated our first steps onto this trail. I can only say that I am proud. Proud of what we have done, what we have accomplished and for calling these men and women my brothers and sisters.
Hopefully we will be around for another decade and stay true to our ambition. I for one look forward to that time, the time we will spend out in the wild together, the new knowledge we will gain, the new brothers and sisters yet to come.
I love you guys!