Articles / RMFT Trip Planning Camp -2017 (NEW!)
Category: Camps, Treks & Adventures
It started in the spring of 1816…2016. The question “You guys wanna go to the Rockies next year?” was dropped from nowhere. From a theoretic yes-reply to actually wetting your moccasins in the US takes a little money saving, a little spouse convincing and a little planning. With most of those tasks settled we decided we still might have to meet in a primitive camp and simply talk it all through. Bertil Wockatz, a mountain man veteran and good friend was invited to share the warmth of fire and friends.
Jens, Bertil* and myself (Char) rendezvoused at my place for a quick change of clothes and repacking all our gear into one iron mule destined for the wild. As afternoon was turning into evening we parked by the trail head where Mike was eagerly awaiting our arrival.
With bailed and rolled up camp gear strung to our backs like being freshly robbed of our mounts we walked the rather short distance to the designated camp spot. With early summer weather and a brilliant forecast, camp was made simple. Different combinations of appishemores, robes and blankets were folded inside oilskin tarps for bedding. A kettle was filled with buffalo meat, rice, water and put over the fire. An hour later we lay scattered around the fire with pipes glowing, and the last remnants of trader’s whiskey from last year’s rendezvous passing from mouth to mouth. Stories were told, plans for the trip…could wait one more day.
Woke up with a filled up bladder and cold feet. The clear night made temperatures drop below freezing. Luckily Jens had already got the fire going and coffee brewing. Although the evening had been lazy, we had actually managed to roast and pound some coffee beans to save us the trouble come morning.
One, two or maybe three cups later Mike and I decided it was time for work. We set out pealing trap stakes and medicine sticks, threw a five-pound trap each across our shoulders and walked down to the nearby creek to make our sets. Jens and Bertil walked along to supervise and document our efforts. As always we made sure to follow Swedish hunting laws by pulling the traps out of the water before there was even a remote chance of animals getting near.
With soaked moccasins we all walked to an old abandoned trapper camp about a mile away. With a natural shooting range in the vicinity we just couldn’t resist the urge to simply shoot at something. A poor tinder fungus became bulls eye, and Jens made the rest of us look like amateurs. But that was to be expected.
Without anything to show for our efforts other than a lead ripped piece of fungus we walked back to camp for some combined trip planning, pantaloon stitching and some genuine loitering with coffee cups in our hands. I think Jens even manage to get some shut eye time.
As evening was closing in we refilled the water and firewood supply. The camp kettle was filled with venison and sundry victuals found on the bottoms of our possibles sacks to create yet another gut filling stew.
Another fine (and a bit warmer) evening spent in great company soon came to an end, and we hit the blankets quite early.
BOOOM roared Jens' rifle …“Blackfeeeeet!”….! screamed Jens with a smoking rifle in his hands.
“ !💀 🔪?#! 💀 🔫!” Replied the three tired trappers peeking out through the blanket folds.
As always Sundays in camp means early morning and breaking camp. After packing our backs again we soon found ourselves back in civilization… or at least something resembling it. Our little trapping party for the weekend was just about to split up when Jens, or was Mike that said “Next time I’ll see you in the Rockies!”
Follow our Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journey this summer through the journal found in the menu to your left.
*Jens and Bertil should be cherished as two of the guys who brought buckskinner rendezvous to Scandinavia in…was it 1984?