Bronze's Expedition Log

Expedition Log

Sutter’s Fort Mountain Man Traders Faire

I spent the weekend in Sacramento where I attended the above event to acquire some missing elements of my equipage.  Purchased were the following items:

  • Hudson Bay/Whitney wool point blanket, red, 72″x48″.  8″ L-shaped slice on the interior, partially sewn shut.  To be used as horse blanket, converted into a poncho, or cut into strips for breechclout.
  • Wool fabric, black plaid, 2 yard strip.  Likely to be used as breechclout.
  • Wool poncho, red and tan, fringed.  A little small but a good price.
  • Cotton crepe, unbleached, 1 yard strip.  Good for bandages, sacks.
  • 4 Extra flints and 1 steel striker.
  • 2 Glover’s needles, 1 hooked leather needle.
  • 10 beeswax candles.
  • Small clippers.
  • Small deerskin poke sack w/ draw string.
  • Small tarred leather powder flask.
  • Small folding knife with leather sheath and cord; to be hung about the neck.
  • Oilcloth satchel; to contain journals and other items deemed sensitive to moisture.
  • 4 rabbit pelts.
  • Extra sinew
  • Small awl
  • Small steel shovel head, on which is affixed a tapered steel tube, in which one could inset a strong branch for a handle.
  • Iron picket pin, for grazing of stock.  May also be used as a handle for the above shovel head.


All in all a very satisfactory showing.  I found the faire sadly lacking in the remaining clothing I seek–a woolen flannel pullover and linen pullover.  I had also hoped to find an oilskin tarp.  However I also saw things I had not even considered, such as the shovel head, and purchased a few things as backup due to the favorable price, such as the woolens.

Wandering inside the historic walls of the fort, browsing wares, was a exceedingly pleasurable experience.  The docents were preparing a sizable repast of fajitas, and the smell of them on the skillet over an open fire gave the air a savory flavor.

For the long drive I downloaded to my ipod the unabridged journals of Lewis and Clark.  I found this passed the 6 hours rapidly, in fact I was hesitant to end my journey, such was my level of engagement with the narrative.  It’s really helping to inspire me, and build my excitement level.

I’ve found, over the course of about the last month, that the repetitive nature of many of my preparations had begun to take on a toilsome air.  Bake hardtack, grind pemmican, load and unload Bootsie.  The vast majority of my free-time devoted to running various errands,  and the remainder spent pondering what I’m forgetting, what might go wrong.  Sometimes it all feels like so many chores.  It’s important to remind myself that all these actions are in service to the greater adventure to come, and indeed someday I will look back on these chores with nostalgia and perhaps satisfaction.  I try and envision Merriweather Lewis running all over St. Louis trying to make last minute arrangements and secure all loose ends.  I will henceforth view my duties with the same anticipation and glee with which I read of his.

I took this opportunity away from home to subsist on pemmican alone; thereby also saving myself the expense of 3 meals a day eaten out.  The taste of the stuff is agreeable enough, but I could only consume it in small bites as the texture and greasiness are unpleasant.  It’s hard to imagine being able to force down a volume sufficient to sustain my health, but I suppose the necessity will be driven by my hunger.  I could perceive no ill-effects on my system, internal and otherwise, though by the end of the weekend I was feeling mildly queasy and craving some kind of fresh fruit or vegetable.

2 Responses to “Sutter’s Fort Mountain Man Traders Faire”

  1. jane barr shelofsky says:

    Bronze, I can squarely see the influence of Mr. Lewis upon you! I actually believe you may be channeling him and he is oh so pleased!

  2. Kenrick says:

    yeah who needs fiber when you’ve got greasy pemmican to eat all day!