CHIEF SEATTLEWe are inextricably connected to the spirit world around us. It is easy to forget ourselves and our purpose when we ignore the many messages, meanings, and symbols that surround us in our daily lives.

FOURMost episodes in nature come in fours. There are the directions (north, east, west and south), the seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter), the colors of man (white, black, red and yellow), and our guides (messenger, shadow, journey and life).

ANIMAL TOTEMAnimal totems offer us a powerful link to our inner selves. Pay heed when an animal spirit or totem enters your life. Understanding the distinct differences in the four totems is critical to knowing how to respond when one makes itself known to you.  Please first know that all guides are powerful.  Following is a brief description of each.  

DOVEA Messenger Guide
comes quickly and leaves once the message is understood. The time it lingers is relative to your speed of comprehension and acceptance of the message it reveals for your life.  The message may be spiritual in nature, or serve as a warning.  The message may deal with a seemingly mundane aspect of your life or it may jolt you awake to some important action you must take. The messenger may make a powerful statement, while other time it is a mere whisper in the wind.   A messenger guide can create delays or serve as unexpected help.  They may be negative or positive in nature.

SHADOWA Shadow Guide invades you with fear. It involves a lesson you have, thus far, refused to learn and have circumvented through anger, avarice, greed, insecurity, or other negative thoughts. A Shadow Guide is the equivalent of the movie Ground Hog Day in that it will return again and again bearing you strong feelings until you change for good. The Shadow Guide is powerful. It teaches that truth overcomes fear. If ignored, the Shadow Guide may become dangerous and have a negative effect on your life. The Shadow Guide lives in the spirit world and usually arrives during times of trial or testing.

FORKA Journey Guide appears when your are at a fork in the road of your life. When you make a decision to abide by a certain credo or direction, the Journey Guide helps you along the way. It may take months or years to complete. It can be a friendly traveling companion if the path is right. If you become lost, the Journey Guide helps you find your way back.  Unlike a Messenger Guide who comes and leaves quickly, the Journey Guide remains at your side until the current cycle in your life has changed.

LIFE3A Life Guide is also a Spirit Guide. It remains a part of you throughout your life and is a reflection of your innermost spiritual self. You may have more than one Life Guide. New ones may come at unexpected moments. A Life Guide rarely disappears and usually remains an integral part of your life. In the instance that a Life Guide is no longer needed it is usually replaced by another one.  Its powers are always there for you and serve as a constant reminder of your oneness with nature. If, for example, your Life Guide is Bear, you may be a well grounded solitary dweller and seeker of knowledge. A Life Guide may call upon other animal guides to assist by giving you moments of truth.

Mountain Man/Mormon Interaction

imageThe first segment of the Mormon Pioneer journey, from Winter Quarters to Fort Laramie took six weeks, with the company arriving at the fort on June 1, 1847.

imageThe company halted for repairs and to re-shoe the draft animals.  While at Fort Laramie, the vanguard company was joined by members of the Mormon Battalion who had been excused from service due to illness and sent to winter in Pueblo, Coloradoimage.

Also traveling in the new group were Church members from Mississippi who had taken a more southern route toward the Great Basin. At this point, the now larger company took the established Oregon Trail toward the trading post at Fort Bridger.

At a difficult crossing of the Platte, just before encountering the Sweetwater River, the company made use of their portable boat and were able to cross with comparative ease.

imageSeizing the opportunity to both help future travelers and increase the cash available to the migration, nine men under the direction of Thomas Grover were left behind to construct and operate a ferry at that location. Missourians and other travellers at the river paid the Saints $1.50 or more per wagon to help them cross.

imageDuring the last week of June, Sam Brannan, leader of the Mormon emigrant ship Brooklyn, met the company near Green River, Wyoming. He reported to Young about his group’s successful journey and their settlement in what is today San Francisco, California.  He urged the vanguard company to continue on to California but was unable to shift the leader’s focus away from the Great Basin.
imageBrigham Young met mountain man, Jim Bridger, on June 28. They discussed possible routes into the Salt Lake Valley, and the feasibility of viable settlements in the mountain valleys of the Great Basin.image

Bridger was enthusiastic about settlement near Utah Lake, reporting fish, wild fruit, timber and good grazing. He told Young that local Indians raised good crops, including corn and pumpkins, but that there was ever-present danger of frost.

The Collapse of the Fur Trade

As the 1840s approached, the fur trade began to collapse.  There was a lessening demand for furs in Europe.  Fur bearing animals had become over-trapped and there were no longer many to be found.  With the silk trade, fabric took a stronghold and furs were considered too expensive for the common person to wear.  At the same time, killing an animal for fur became less politically correct.
Mountain Man, Robert Newell, told Jim Bridger: “We are done with this life in the mountains — done with wading in beaver dams, and freezing or starving alternately — done with Indian trading and Indian fighting. The fur trade is dead in the Rocky Mountains, and it is no place for us now, if ever it was.”image

The final rendezvous was held in 1840.

As trapping became less and less lucrative, other means of earning a livelihood began a whisper in the ear of the weary mountain man.imageFortuitously, Manifest Destiny received a powerful push with two new international treaties in early 1846 and early 1848 officially settling ownership of the Pacific coast territories and Oregon Country to the United States.  This spurred an upsurge in America’s ongoing migration, in 1847-48, as it built rapidly from a trickle to a flood, largely due to the highly organized Mormon migration that exploited the road to the Great Salt Lake discovered by Mountain Man Jim Bridger.imageThe migration further exploded in 1849 as “The Forty-Niners,” responded to the discovery of gold in California in 1848.
image Many of the mountain men settled into jobs as Army Scouts, wagon train guides and settlers along the reliable mule trails through the lands which they had helped open up. The trails gradually improved into wagon capable freight roads. 
imageOthers, like William Sublette, opened up fort-trading posts along the Oregon Trail to service the remnant fur trade and the settlers heading west. During the summer of 1845 alone an estimated 5,000 immigrants went west. These immigrant trains from the east, and government surveying expeditions, provided a new realm of employment for the trappers.imageMilitary service was often the natural progression for trappers who guided for surveying expeditions. Sometimes the trappers joined the service out of loyalty to a particular officer, or because they were in the right place at the right time. Actual titles were not often needed and sometimes only given after long service.


The Countdown is ON!

LodgeExteriorKash and Margie Johnson began their rendezvous adventure in the early 1980s when they took on management roles at the rugged Spirit Lake Lodge near Flaming Gorge.  It was here that they met Two Eagles, who made his living selling bead work at nationwide rendezvous gatherings.

Kash attended his first rendezvous in 1982 and it did not take long before he caught the fever and mountain man blood pulsed through his veins. kashRendezvous quickly became a tradition that extended to Kash and Margie’s children, extended family and grandchildren and has been a huge part of their lives for over three decades.

If you ask Kash about his attitude toward learning history in school, he will tell you that he did not much care for it. At a museum, you find static history, with placards and displays. There is nothing to explain why or how something happened. Now, you could say he is some sort of fanatic, particularly about the fur trade era. school

The Bear Lake Rendezvous is LIVING HISTORY. It’s helping people learn about the rich and colorful moments of the fur trade era on the hallowed ground of 2 rendezvous past.

blr.2015.camplayoutThe 2015 Bear Lake Rendezvous is Aug. 21-23. Gates open at 8 a.m. and the event remains open until sundown.

Guests and visitors to the Bear Lake Rendezvous DO NOT have to be dressed in period correct clothing. Flip flops and shorts are fine. However, anyone wishing to enter free needs to be dressed accordingly and traders and primitive campers must maintain pre-1840 attire.

For a one time $40.00 fee, self contained trailer camping (tin tipi) is available for the week August 19-24th. Campers are free to come and go. This is the BEST value on the lake. Rendezvous Beach  is only 3 miles from our campsite.


  • 8:00 a.m. Flag Ceremony
  • 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. –  Fun shoots/Bring a blanket prize
  • 10:00 a.m. – runs all day –  Archery Fun Shoot
  • Archery Carp Shoot – all day/all weekend
  • Knife and Hawk – all day/all weekend
  • Women of the Fur Trade Demonstrations
  • Parfleche/Rawhide
  • Brain tanning
  • Quill work
  • Bead work
  • Trader’s Row – 8:00 a.m. to sundown

In addition to daily activities, specific event days and times are noted below:


  • 1:00 p.m. Pilgrim Shoot (public welcome)


  • 10:00 to 12:00 p.m. –  Children’s games
  • 1:00 p.m. – Pilgrim Shoot (public welcome)
  • 11:00 a.m./1:00 p.m./3:00 p.m. – Native American Dance Demonstrations
  • 7:00 p.m. – Council Fire (Shooting awards)


  • 11:00 a.m./1:00 p.m./3:00 p.m. Native American Dance Demonstrations
  • 12:00 Noon – Raffle

There will be information available under the canvas fly.  If you have any questions, give Kash a call at 801-451-1518 or email info@bearlakerendezvous.comIndians


Lewis and Clark

Lewis-and-ClarkWilliam Clark, and nearly four dozen men that made up the Corps of Discovery, started upstream on the Missouri River to meet up with Meriwether Lewis on May 20, 1804.  They had been commission by Thomas Jefferson, the year before, to find a water route to the Pacific and explore the uncharted West. Jefferson believed the team would find mammoths, volcanoes and salt mountains.  What their eyes actually beheld, during their journey, was no less boggling.  They interacted with nearly 50 Indian tribes, observed 300 species unknown, at the time, to science and then there were the Rocky Mountains!

keelboat_rapid_harveywjohnson1017x641Aboard a 55 foot long keelboat and two smaller pirogues, they charted, mapped, studied nature, and kept copious notes and journals of their experiences. By the end of that July, they had traveled more than six-hundred miles, all while not once crossing path with an Indian.  But things changed come August.

riverislandAs a precaution, the Corps camped on river islands when possible and had guards posted at night.  On the eve of August 2nd, Oto and Missouri Indians arrived at their camp.  This first encounter actually went well.  But, they had been warned, by President Jefferson, that the Sioux Indians would be another story.

The first and only death of a member of the Corps occurred on August 20th.  Sargeant Charles Floyd became the first soldier to die west of the Mississippi, most likely, from appendicitis.

At month’s end, the group had reached the Great Plains, which was well stocked with beautiful elk, deer, buffalo and beaver.  They were now headed into Sioux territory.  The first encounter was with Yankton Sioux, who were fairly peaceful, more so than the Teton Sioux a bit farther up the river.

tetonsiouxThe Corps were prepared to exchange gifts, but the Teton Sioux showed ill-disguised hostility. A Teton chief demanded a boat as exchange for passage. The Indians became further threatening until Clark pulled his sword and Lewis aimed the keelboat’s swivel gun on the tribe. As quickly as tensions mounted, they subsided, but the Corps never did achieve a friendly rapport with the Sioux.

As winter approached, they left their enemy behind them and headed further up the river. They continued to travel until the Missouri River began to freeze. Four days after the first snowfall, they reached the villages of the Mandan tribes. They wintered there, immediately building a fort to protect them from the fierce winter and potential attack by the Sioux. The expedition kept occupied by repairing equipment, trading with the Indians, and hunting for buffalo as their food supply began to dwindle. Lewis and Clark learned much from the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes.

sacagaweaIt was here that the expedition hired Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian fur trapper living among the Hidatsa who would serve as their interpreter. Charbonneau, his Shoshone wife, Sacagawea, and their baby son, Jean Baptiste, traveled with the expedition when it left Fort Mandan.

Lewis and Clark dispatched a dozen expedition members, 108 botanical specimens, 68 mineral specimens, and Clark’s map of the United States aboard a keelboat bound for St. Louis.  The items would eventually be presented to President Jefferson.

Using six dugout canoes and two larger pirogues, the remaining team loaded supplies and equipment and ventured where no American had ever gone. For the first time since the journey began, Lewis and Clark were headed due west and into grizzly country. Although warned by the Indians about the powerful grizzly, Lewis felt a bear would be no match for a man with a rifle.  But an encounter on April 29th changed his mind.Grizzly It was on that day that Lewis and several other party members spotted a pair of grizzlies. They wounded one of the bears, which managed to escape. But the other charged at Lewis, causing him to flee 80 yards before he and one of his colleagues were able to reload and kill the bear.

In early May a surprise gust of wind caught the sail of one of the pirogues, tipping the vessel over on its side. The quick reflexes of Sacagawea, who was riding in the vessel, preserved precious journals and supplies that otherwise would have been lost.

rocky_mountains1During the last week of May, Lewis caught sight of the Rockies for the very first time.  He was filled with awe – which was immediately tempered at the realization of what lay ahead – to traverse the amazing mountain range would be no small feat. Progress became slow as the group made its way along a bending and shallow river filled with sharp, jutting rocks.

On June 3, 1805, the Corps came upon a fork in the river. The branches of the fork were of equal size.  It was believed by the captains that the southern branch was a continuation of the Missouri.  They hoped this would lead them to be able to cross the Rockies before the first autumn snow. The rest of the Corps, however, disagreed, believing that the north fork was the way to go. The Mandan Indians had spoke of Great Falls.  Scouting parties went along each branch in search of the landmark that would guide their way.

Great_falls_of_missouri_riverOn June 13 Lewis became the first white man to see the Great Falls of the Missouri River. But to his dismay there were five separate falls, not one and they went on for a 12-mile stretch. Making their way around the  falls was going to take some time – more than they had planned. On June 22, the hardest physical task of the trip thus far began. More than a month would pass before the party made their way around Great Falls as the Rocky Mountains loomed larger on the horizon.

Once across the Continental Divide, they could ride the westward-flowing Columbia River. But the trek from the Missouri River to the Columbia River would require horses. To secure horses, the Corps would have to find the Shoshone tribe. On August 11, Lewis spotted an Indian on horseback that turned out to be, at long last, a Shoshone, and the first Indian they had encountered since Mandan.

shoshoneThe Shoshone led the expedition to his chief, who, as the best of luck would have it, turned out to be Sacagawea’s brother. With Sacagawea translating, the bargaining began with Chief Cameahwait for horses. Without these horses, their chances of reaching the Pacific were nil.

So, what was the price of a horse?  At first, a knife and an old shirt.  But the price went up every day until Clark had to offer his knife, his pistol, and a hundred rounds of ammunition for a single animal. And even then most of the horses were in terrible health.

Continental-Divide-signInformation was also secured from the Shoshone.  An old member of the tribe described a trail that led across the Continental Divide which was paramount to find a way over the mountains.

Snow was already falling as the expedition set off for the Continental Divide. Game was scarce and food supplies were low. After passing over the divide into the Bitterroot Valley, the team came upon a band of Flathead Indians from whom they were able to secure more horses.  bitterootCrossing the Bitterroot Mountains tested their endurance.  After 11 days the horses were near starvation, and the men were too, resorted to eating three colts.   Upon emerging from the mountains, contact was made with the Nez Perce, where the expedition procured dried fish and roots for their sustenance.

Camp was set up on the banks of a branch of the Snake River called the Clearwater.  The Snake is also a branch of the Columbia River.  It was here that they hollowed out five dugouts.  With the Rockies behind them, the Pacific was soon to be on the horizon.  They also finally had the river current flowing in their favor.  columbia riverThe Corps reach the Snake on October 10 and the Columbia on October 16th.  They took a break to rest and meet with Indians, who had gather along the shore and had, what Clark estimated, 10,000 pounds of dried salmon. The explorers continued down the Columbia into the Cacades, the last mountain range between them and the ocean. On November 7, Clark wrote, “Ocean in View! Oh! The joy.”  But they were actually still 20 miles away as he mistook a wide band in the river for the Pacific. They were required to hunker down for three weeks due to high winds and rolling water.  Clark called this period of time, “the most disagreeable time I have experienced.”

In the middle of November, the men eagerly scanned the rolling waves of the ocean for the masts of ships that might carry them home.  Spying none, they realized they would be spending the winter on the coast.  One trade ship stopped to barter with the Indians while the expedition was present on the coast, but the Corps was never informed.  The team was anxious to go home, but timing of the journey back was critical.  They could only go once the snow had melted.  If they waited too long, the Missouri would be frozen and they would be required to endure a winter on the plains.  They spent their time at Fort Clatsop in monotony, making moccasins, buckskin clothing, working on maps, writing in journals and eating elk meat and roots.  The rain was constant.

The day that began their return occurred on March 23, 1806. Chinookan Indians were a constant concern via their continual attempts to steal supplies.  Getting around the falls was a great a challenge.  The expedition abandoned their boats and headed over the mountain with horses acquired from the Walla Walla tribe.

nezpercThe expedition arrived in Nez Perce Indian territory almost out of food.  They had to wait for the weather to improve before trying to cross the snow-covered Bitterroots. The men lived on a diet of dried fish and roots, with occasional meat in the form of deer, elk, horse and dog.

By early June the expedition was equipped with fresh horses and ready to continue east. Against the advice of the Nez Perce, Lewis and Clark left Camp Choppunish. Spring had begun on the plain, but it was still winter in the mountains where they encountered snow ten feet deep and packed so hard even the horses did not sink. They returned to the Nez Perce Indians for help. The Indian guides helped them to traverse the mountain range.

On June 30, after reaching Traveler’s Rest, Lewis and Clark split up. Lewis took nine men to explore the Marias River.  Clark and the remaining members of the Corps headed to the Yellowstone River.

A skirmish, with Blackfeet Indians, resulted in the death of two Indians. Lewis and his men covered 120 miles, not knowing if the Indians were giving chase.

horsethiefMeanwhile, Clark and his group descended into Crow territory. The Crow were known as the great horse thieves of the Plains. On July 21, the party arose to find half of their horses gone, although they never saw a single Indian.

On August 11, Clark, mistaken for an elk, was shot clean through his left thigh.  The wound was painful and took a while to heal, but not fatal.

Lewis and Clark reunited and traveled the swift current of the Missouri River back to the Mandan Village, where they bade farewell to Sacagawea.

In Teton Sioux territory, the expedition encountered threats and taunts. As they ran into traders, they were told that the expedition had been given up for dead. Two years, four months and ten days after they first left, the Corps of Discovery entered the Mississippi River on their way to St, Louis.  One-thousand people lined the shore to greet the returning team with gunfire, salutes and an enthusiastic WELCOME HOME!.


The Louisiana Purchase


Pierre du Pont

In the year 1802, in a letter to Pierre Samuel du Pont, President Thomas Jefferson wrote:  “This little event of France possessing herself of Louisiana, is the embryo of a tornado which will burst on the countries on both sides of the Atlantic and involve in its effects their highest destinies.” tjsignature This was amid reports that Spain would retrocede to France the vast Territory of Louisiana.


Port of New Orleans

The United States was expanding westward and navigation of the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans became critical to the American economy. This rumored transfer of authority was cause for concern.


Robert Livingston

Jefferson wrote to Robert Livingston, who was the U.S. Minister to France, that “every eye in the US is now fixed on this affair of Louisiana.” It was the most uneasy time for the young nation since the revolutionary war. Jefferson’s vision of securing the territory was altered by the concept of having France, and its leader Napoleon Bonaparte, as a neighbor.

In 1762 French territories including New Orleans, west of the Mississippi, and Canada were transferred to Spain. The same land areas were ceded to Britain the following year.  But when Napoleon Bonaparte came to power in 1799, he seemed determined to bring France back to the continent.


King Charles IV of Spain

In October 1802 the situation became a crisis as King Charles IV of Spain transferred the territory to France. Acting on orders from the Spanish court, American access was revoked to the New Orleans’ port warehouse.


James Madison

Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison attempted diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue. The opposing Federalist Party called for war and sought secession by the western territories in order to gain control of the lower Mississippi and New Orleans.  The threat of disunion caused Jefferson to recommend that James Monroe join Livingston in Paris in January 1803.

Jefferson also asked Congress to fund an expedition that would cross the Louisiana Territory no matter who controlled it. This concept later evolved into the Louis and Clark Expedition.


James Garrard

Jefferson wrote to Jim Garrard, Kentucky’s governor, to make him aware of Monroe’s appointment and that he had the power to enter into “arrangements that may effectually secure our rights and interests in the Mississippi and in the country eastward of that.” 10 million in funds were allocated for the purchase of New Orleans and all or at least a portion of the Floridas. If the bid failed, Monroe was to purchase New Orleans or, at the very least, secure US access to the Mississippi River and the port.

When Monroe reached Paris on April 12 of 1803, Livingston made him aware of a very different deal.


Napoleon Bonaparte of France

Napoleon Bonaparte’s plan to root back into the New World was fast dissipating. The French Army had been overcome by yellow fever during their attempt to suppress rebellion by slaves and free black people in the colony of Saint Domingue (present day Haiti).  A new war with Britain seemed imminent. It was Francois de Barbe’-Marbois, France’s Minister of Finance, who counseled Bonaparte that Louisiana would lose value without Saint Domingue. He also suggested that in the circumstance of war, the territory would be taken by the British from Canada. Because France could not afford to occupy the entire Mississippi Valley, the Finance Minister suggested Bonaparte release his desire for a presence in the New World and sell the territory to the U.S. On April 11, 1803, Livingston was told that France was willing to sell all of Louisiana and Monroe was informed as such upon his arrival the next day. By April 30th they reached an agreement, although it exceeded their monetary authority. Rumors of the purchase proceeded notification to Washington. Washington made an official announcement on July 4, 1803. The U.S. would acquire around 827,000 square miles of land just west of the Mississippi for $15 million dollars.


The Louisiana Territory in green

The treaty for purchase had to be ratified before the end of October. Precise boundaries would not be determined for years afterward. Jefferson rationalized: “It is the case of a guardian, investing the money of his ward in purchasing an important adjacent territory and saying to him, when of age, I did this for your good.”purchase_treaty

The treaty was ratified on October 20th by a vote of 24-7. Spain was angered by the sale, but did not have the military power to block it. Spain formally returned Louisiana to France On November 30th. On December 20th, the territory was transferred to America and ten days later, the U.S. took formal possession.

(Credit to
1682 René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, claims for France all territory drained by Mississippi River from Canada to Gulf of Mexico and names it Louisiana.  
1718 New Orleans is founded.  
1762 France cedes New Orleans and Louisiana west of the Mississippi to Spain.  
1763 France cedes territories east of the Mississippi and north of New Orleans to Britain.  
1783 Treaty of Paris gives newly independent United States free access to the Mississippi.  
1784 Spain closes lower Mississippi and New Orleans to foreigners.  
1789 French Revolution begins.  
1790 Slaves revolt on Caribbean island of Saint Domingue, France’s richest colony.  
1795 Spain reopens the Mississippi and New Orleans to Americans.  
1799 Napoleon Bonaparte seizes power in France.  
1800 Spain secretly agrees to return Louisiana to France in exchange for Eturia, a small kingdom in Italy. 
1801 President Jefferson names Robert Livingston minister to France.  
1802 Spain cedes Louisiana to France. New Orleans is closed to American shipping. French army sent to re-establish control in Saint Domingue is decimated.
Events of 1803  
January Jefferson sends James Monroe to join Livingston in France.
February Napoleon decides against sending more troops to Saint Domingue and instead orders forces to sail to New Orleans.  
March Napoleon cancels military expedition to Louisiana.  
April 11 Foreign Minister Talleyrand tells Livingston that France is willing to sell all of Louisiana.  
April 12 Monroe arrives in Paris and joins Livingston in negotiations with Finance Minister Barbé-Marbois.
April 30 Monroe, Livingston, and Barbé-Marbois agree on terms of sale: $15 million for approximately. 827,000 square miles of territory.
May 18 Britain declares war on France.  
July 4 Purchase is officially announced in United States. October 20 U.S. Senate ratifies purchase treaty.  
November 30 Spain formally transfers Louisiana to France.  
December 20 France formally transfers Louisiana to United States.  
December 30 United States takes formal possession of Louisiana.