Step Back in Time at the Laguna Mountain Rendezvous
An important part of American history is kept alive each year at the 30th Annual Laguna Mountain Rendezvous in Santa Ysabel.
Historically, mountain men would emerge from the wilderness to sell their pelts and stock up on supplies at gatherings, a practice that first began in New England with the French fur traders. According to Laguna Mountain Rendezvous president Richard Emms, the first rendezvous west of the Mississippi took place in 1825, and provided the mountain men with much-needed entertainment as well as trade opportunities.
“They often ended up as broke as when they arrived,” Emms said with a laugh.
When civilization moved westward in the 1840s, the gatherings came to an end.
Participants of the modern rendezvous, with chapters found nationwide, strive for accuracy in representing the time by dressing in era-specific clothes, living in primitive tents and cooking over campfires.
While the rendezvous is a family-friendly version of the original gatherings, it offers plenty to entertain guests. Authentic goods are available to purchase at Trader’s Row, visitors can try their hand at shooting black powder firearms, and living history participants are more than happy to share their knowledge of historical and primitive activities, such as mountain man skills and fire starting. A skilled blacksmith will be on site, as well as professional musicians and food for hungry visitors.
The Laguna Mountain Rendezvous will take place Oct. 12 to 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Mataguay Scout Camp, 27955 Highway 79, in Santa Ysabel.
Day-visitor admission is $5 per person. Visit the “Laguna Mountain Rendezvous” Facebook page for more information.
Emms expects a big turnout this year, in the number of participants as well as spectators, and is excited for those looking to learn something along the way.
Music by the campfire can be heard in primitive-style camps of the Laguna Mountain Rendezvous.
Charlene Pulsonetti; Photos Courtesy of Richard Emms