3rd QUARTER 2014



CoHT National Gathering

The Coalition of Historical Trekkers' National Gathering was held at Fort Atkinson,  April 23 – 27, 2014. Many thanks to Chris,  Linda,  John Slader and the staff of Fort Atkinson for all their hard work to prepare the fort for our arrival. The fort had been scheduled to open the weekend after we left but the opening was moved to 2 weeks before we arrived so the staff had time to prepare for our arrival. I shared a bunk room with our President Tom Cissel. It worked out fine. However with eight folks, the number of bunks, it would have been crowded. We cooked our meals in the fireplace. After the kiva styled fireplaces at Bent’s, it was shear luxury. Also there is “real” wood there. Throw a log on the fire before retiring and there were coals to start the fire the next morning. At Bent’s the only way to do that is to feed the fire all night. On Thursday morning, a few of us went to the steam ship Bertram exhibit at the Desoto National Wildlife Refuge. It is a steamship that was sunk on April 1, 1865. The museum is filled with recovered goods. In the afternoon we had a tour by John Slader, the park’s superintendent. He started working at the park as a archeological laborer during the early days of the excavation and has been there since. The tour included the surrounding area as the Army had purchased a 15 mile by 15 mile square property centered from the flag pole. A shooting match was held in the afternoon.  A handful of shooters participated but Nathan showed everyone how it is done. He was shooting Kiwi’s 25 cal flinter. The hole is less than a ball diameter from the center along one of the arms of the X. Two years ago, Tod and his wife were top bidders for  an 18th century 3- course meal prepared by Tammy. It was presented this year. A course in the 18th century consisted of a main dish with sides and a dessert. Here is the bill of fare for the meal.



Irish Farmhouse Cheese

Smoked Salmon Pate

Cranberry-Onion Relish

Apple-Pear Chutney

Cocktail Rey Bread

Scottish Oatmeal Biscuits


First Bill of Fare

Paddy Burkes’ Pepper Soup

Steak and Mushrooms

Grilled Asparagus

Poached Pears

Red Wine


Second Bill of Fare

Pumpkin Cider Soup

Apple Sage Pork

Black-eye Peas with Relish

Walnut-Date Pound Cake

With Caramel Frosting

Irish Cider


Third Bill of Fare

Game Hens with Brandied Peaches

Corn Bread Mushrooms Stuffing

Pan-seared cucumbers

Ambrosia and Wassail

 Needless to say it was a lot of food.  They took 3 hours and 45 minutes enjoying it. Long walks between the courses helped. On Friday the business meetings were held.  Tavern night was held Friday evening in the Council house. Tracy Smith debuted some new songs he’s preparing on for a new CD. On Saturday the auction was held after the evening potluck. Tod prompted spirited bidding earning good income for the CoHT. As the auction was breaking up it started to feel like rain. The rain almost held off till after I left, which was fairly early (not as early as Tom though) It was starting as I left. I heard it really poured later in the morning. As I entered CO, I stopped for lunch and over heard some folks who were driving from Denver say that the hail was a couple of inches deep a few miles down the road. I noticed that even though most of the storm had passed, it was still really windy. I could tell by the pickup truck with a camper trailer that passed me when it started to fish tail. I slowed to give him plenty of room and sure enough not to much further the trailer was blown across the lane and flipped the truck on its side. The driver was OK, another motorist got him into his car to make the appropriate phone calls. Within a mile there was a state trooper heading toward the roll over.


Santa Fe Trail Rendezvous


Santa Fe Trail Rendezvous was held June 8th through the 14th at Coal Canyon of the Wittington Center in Raton, NM.  I visited on Wednesday. The turnout was about 38-40 camps but 2 more camps move in while I was there. The participants were enjoying the shooting program Hands was running. It is “learning” rendezvous so slack is given to folks who don’t have a correct kit, even if they have been in the game for 20 years.

Bent’s Fort Santa Fe Trail Encampment

June 7, 8th   Bent's Old Fort Santa Fe Trail Encampment – This year the event included the Military weekend. We had approximately 50 volunteers in various rolls.  Many were members of the military encamped in the ”cottonwoods” however  the fort was well staffed. On Saturday we had a heavier than normal flow of visitors through the carpenter shop and the blacksmith shop. Park Wood and his assistant, Stuart Shirley worked and interacted with the visitors in the blacksmith shop, Gabe Hanratty worked on the carretta in the wagon shed, while I manned the carpenter shop. Greg Holt, the NPS volunteer coordinator, spent most of his time “in the cottonwoods” but when he did visit the fort on Saturday afternoon, he reported that there were approximately 30 folks in the Hunter/Trapper camp while at least that many were watching the 3 different military groups ( Dragons, Infantry, Mo Volunteers) drill and the Topographical Engineer display. When the gate count was complete the fort had set a record as to the number of visitors for one day.

Sunday the Santa Fe Trail walk was held. Many of visitors from Sat. participated in that event which is held off site along the Santa Fe Trail. The activity at the fort was pretty slow but we still had some visitors. I had time to finish the tortilla press requested by the domestics and they had time to give it its inaugural run. After fixing a minor implementation flaw, it worked fine.


Rocky Mountain National Rendezvous

I attended the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous the first weekend in Gunnison Co. At the opening ceremony, it was announced that there were 310 camps. The horse camp was the largest of the past few years, with about 12-14 head of horses and mules plus another 6 or so in the Indian camp. There wer lots of both large professional traders and smaller blanket traders including 2 kitchen/cafes. My camp was on the edge of short term camp the horse camp, the other end of the camp was about 1/2 mile away.

Upcoming Activities at Bent's

Dec 5,6  - Bent's Traditional Christmas Celebration – celebrate Christmas at the fort with candle light tours on Friday and Saturday evening and a full schedule of events on Saturday.








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