I got the chance to take a little ride up into the mountains the other day on Peaches. I can see why people keep horses. Pretty cool to realize that I was riding on the same trails that many of my heroes, the mountain men, rode on back in the early 1800’s. Men like Jim Bridger and Tom Fitzpatrick came to these valleys without the intention of subjugating the native populations or bringing their white man cultures with them. Instead, it seems pretty obvious to me that they were trying to escape from what they could already see was the insanity of American obtuseness and obsequiousness. Anyway, if I were to stay in the U.S., I think it is pretty likely I would get a horse and become a true saddle tramp. I’ve been wondering if there are folks who ride horses all the way across the United States or Canada. North to South I know there is the Pacific Crest Trail, but it bears some looking at to see if there is a non-stop East to West trail.
James or Jim Bridger (March 1804 – July 17, 1881) was among the foremost mountain men, trappers, scouts and guides who explored and trapped the Western United States during the decades of 1820-1840. He was also well known as a teller of tall tales.
Jim Bridger had a strong constitution that allowed him to survive the extreme conditions he encountered walking the Rocky Mountains from what would become southern Colorado to the Canadian border he had also once said. He had conversational knowledge of French, Spanish and several native languages. He would come to know many of the major figures of the early west, including Brigham Young, Kit Carson, John Fremont, Joseph Meek, and John Sutter.
Jim Bridger began his colorful career in 1822 at the age of 17, as a member of General William Ashley’s Upper Missouri Expedition. He was among the first white men to see the geysers and other natural wonders of the Yellowstone region. In the winter of 1824-1825, Bridger gained fame as the first European American to see the Great Salt Lake , which he reached traveling in a bull boat. Due to its salinity, he believed it to be an arm of the Pacific Ocean.
Supposedly one of Bridger’s favorite yarns to tell to greenhorns was about being pursued by one hundred Cheyenne warriors. After being chased for several miles, Bridger found himself at the end of a box canyon, with the Indians bearing down on him. At this point, Bridger would go silent, prompting his listener to ask, “What happened then, Mr. Bridger?” Bridger would reply, “They kilt me.”
Well, just like Bridger to them greenhorns, some of you might be wondering if I am going to be settling in here or if they kilt me yet. Nope. Stay tuned.