And So It Begins!

medallionBear Lake Rendezvous will be present to kick off the Utah Rendezvous season on Easter Weekend at Fort Buenaventura Park, located at 2450 A Ave, in Ogden UT.

April 4-5, 2015.
Saturday events begin at 8:00 a.m. and conclude at  6:00 p.m. Sunday events begin at 10:00 a.m. and conclude at 1:00 p.m. The cost for admission to the Fort B Rendezvous is $2.00 per person.

For more information about this rendezvous,
call (801) 399-8491 or 399-8099


Fuzzy will be offering his famous pulled pork sandwiches, taters and shrub.  fb2




Kash will be present to hand out BLR flyers and answer your questions. We will have registration forms for you to complete at the Easter Rendezvous. Be sure to ask about group discounts for 2 or more traders who plan to attend the Bear Lake Rendezvous in August 2015!


Traders who submit paid registrations on Easter Weekend will receive 1 complimentary meal, valued up to $10.00.




Here is a link to the Bear Lake Rendezvous registration form:

In order to move forward, we need traders and campers to confirm their participation through pre-registration.

See you on Easter Weekend!

The Beginning of an Exciting Era!

crop2From 1825 through 1840, the mountain men looked forward, in great anticipation, to the up-and-coming mountain rendezvous held each year.BLR010

It was the social and business event of the year for the fur trappers and traders. Instead of having a permanent trading post, it was Jedediah Smith who convinced William Ashley to bring a caravan of supplies from St. Louis and meet the trappers at Henry’s Fork (aka Randavous Creek – their spelling) on the Green River in July of 1825 for the very first rendezvous.

BLR096At each mountain rendezvous camp, the location for the next years mountain rendezvous camp was announced. After the business of trading the beaver pelts for the essentials of life in the mountains, the mountain men got down to the serious business of gambling, telling tall tales, target shooting and general socializing.  There was no booze at the first rendezvous but they made sure to correct that the next year!

cropMost of the men left the mountain rendezvous camp with little money, for what good was money in the isolated world that they lived in? More important were their horse, rifle, string of traps and a fresh supply of tobacco.

Leaving, they would go to find new beaver streams, hole up in the winter in their isolated world, and HOPE TO LIVE to return to the next mountain rendezvous camp.Rendezvous Sites Map

Year and Location of known mountain rendezvous camps:

  • 1825 Henry’s Fork of the Green River, Wyoming (Randavous Creek – their spelling)
  • 1826 Cache Valley, near present Cove, Utah (Willow Valley)
  • 1827 Bear Lake, Utah (Sweet Lake)
  • 1828 Bear Lake, Utah (Sweet Lake)
  • 1829 Upper Popo Agie, near Lander, Wyoming
  • 1830 Wind River headwaters near Riverton, Wyoming.
  • 1831 Cache Valley, near present Cove, Utah (Willow Valley)
  • 1832 Pierre’s Hole, Idaho
  • 1833 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
  • 1834 Ham’s Fork, Wyoming
  • 1835 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
  • 1836 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
  • 1837 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
  • 1838 Wind River at the mouth of Popo Agie, Wyoming
  • 1839 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming
  • 1840 Green River near Horse Creek, Wyoming

This year’s Bear Lake Rendezvous is scheduled for August 21-23. Trader set-up officially begin on Wednesday, August 19th. The public is welcome, from Wednesday onward, to witness the gathering as it unfolds! We strongly encourage that early guests to the Rendezvous also come back to visit again on the weekend when the Rendezvous is in full swing.

Traders who may need to come in early should contact Kash Johnson to make the necessary arrangements.  The Rendezvous ends at sunset on Sunday, August 30th, but folks are welcome to wait to break camp until Monday afternoon. 

Telephone: 801-452-1518
Mail:  Bear Lake Rendezevous, P.O. Box 44, Woodruff, UT   84086

Native American Dress

crow indiansNative American clothing has a long, diverse history. Each tribe used similar techniques of manufacture, but that is where the similarities stopped. Tribes dressed distinctively as a claim of their heritage. Great pride was taken in each design. Initially, tribal attire was quite different from region to region.

IndiananimalrelationhipNative American people believe that humans and animals are related and should treat each other with respect and kindness. Animals give themselves to humans for food and clothing.  The hunter thanks them for their sacrifice by using as much of the animal as possible. It is said that to wear an animal skin inside out or in any different way than the animal would “is disrespectful to the animal.”


Common items of clothing for men, among the tribes, were breechcloths and leggings. Often the breechcloth is all men would wear. As it got colder, the men would wear leather leggings, for extra warmth, that were attached to their breechcloths. Some tribes wore kilts. Some wore trousers made of furs. The Sioux wore war shirts. In some Tribes, women wore skirts and would also go without a shirt. The Cheyenne preferred a one-piece buckskin dress.

bark clothBark was stripped, dried, and shredded to make fibers which were then used to weave soft, comfortable cloth. The Pomo tribe wore skirts made from redwood bark. The Cherokee used mulberry bark. The Paiute and Washoe shredded the plentiful sagebrush bark. Tribes of the rainy Northwest Coast, such as the Tlingit and the Suquamish, used the bark of the cedar tree.

weaving loomMany tribes used handmade methods of weaving, but natives of the American Southwest were the first group to develop a loom for weaving cloth. In 1200, well before the arrival of the first Europeans, Indians in the Southwest grew cotton and wove it into cloth. They also wove yucca, wool, feathers, and even human hair. Breechclouts, leggings, and skirts were often made of woven fibers.


Tribes living in colder regions needed thicker clothing, so they wore trousers, jackets, and hooded anoraks. Women also wore leggings under their skirt or tunic. The Iroquois and Pequot chose to accessorize their clothes with fur, claws and shells. Southeast tribes like the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole and the Shawnee of the Plains used feathers and teeth.elktoothdress

In Native cultures, women often wore the same dress for years, so the garment was designed to tell the woman’s story.  Symbols referred to her tribe, marital status, and the hunting prowess of her husband or father.   A dress bedazzled with dozens of elk eyeteeth spoke of the skilled hunters in her family .tanning hides

It takes about 40 hours of hard, physical work to prepare a hide properly.  At first, a single animal hide was folded in half. The two edges were then sewn to create a straight tube dress, which made movement difficult, twohidedressso women in nomadic tribes began making two-hide dresses. Garments were cut to take advantage of the natural shape of the hides.  The tail of the animal was placed at the top of dress, and was a highly desirable neck embellishment.  Later in the nineteenth century it became fashionable to remove the tail from the hide and replace it with intricate beadwork . Two-hide dresses evolved into three-hide dresses, with the third hide folded like a short cape over the two-hide garment.


Dresses were warm and weather appropriate.  They were often additionally adorned with porcupine quills, bits of tin, carved bone, animal sinew, coins, animal teeth, fossilized shells, and the brightly colored glass beads that traders brought from the glass factories in Europe. Thousands of hours would go into the embellishment of Native American wear, often with the entire yoke covered in beads.

In the 1800s, the Cherokee Indians were the first to begin to adopt the culture that the white man brought to them. They began to dress more European, and even adopted many of their farming and building methods.

Mills in England wove wool specifically for trading with Native Americans and by the mid-nineteenth century, dresses made of this “Indian cloth” were common.  The wool was often dyed a vivid scarlet or dark blue, with the un-dyed selvage incorporated in the design to fall at the edge of the garment.  It was also in the 1800s that rows of ribbon, shells or beads were added as another design element.


All the tribes had similar styles of footwear, from moccasins to mukluk, although they too were often distinguished by tribe, via cut, beadwork and painted designs.  Native Americans living in the East wore soft-soled moccasins decorated in zoomorphic or flower designs. The designs covered everything except the sides of the moccasins.  The western plains Indians wore hard soled moccasins made from two pieces of leather.  Designs on these moccasins covered the entire top of the moccasin but left the cuffs free of marking.

Once colonization began, tribes intermingled more, and their clothes became more and more alike.   To understand fully the distinctions of each tribe, the years before colonization must be studied.  As Native Americans had continued contact with Europeans and white settlers, they eagerly incorporated new items, such as the glass beads and silver ornaments previously mentioned, into their wardrobes.  As they moved to the reservations, their new circumstances forced them to buy clothing from whites, which drastically changed the way Native Americans dressed.


To the Native American, imitation is not the highest form of flattery.  Children dressing up as an Indian at Halloween, the Hippies of the sixties wearing fringe, and feathers in their hair, to Woodstock, and the current trend of pop stars to wear a headdress during a grammy performance, is highly offensive and is believed, by the Native American population, to disregard Indian spirituality.

Authentic Attire for Rendezvous Women

Women’s apparel, during the Fur Trade era, was simple and practical.

Appearing in the 1700’s, as a staple wardrobe item, the CHEMISE was worn during the day as an undergarment and doubled at night as a nightgown. The neck and sleeves of the chemise had drawstrings which allowed for adjustment in size and comfort.  Colors were usually white or natural and the fabric was typically a cotton muslin.

The chemise was topped with an ENGLISH BODICE and SKIRT during the day.

The ensemble was further adorned with a MOP HAT, MODESTY PIECE at the neck, and APRON when the woman performed her chores.

women2 women6
CLOTH DRESSES were also introduced to the Plains Indian Women with the westward movement of the fur trade.women3
Women also wore MOCCASINS and CAPOTES.moccasins2capote2

Visitors to The Bear Lake Rendezvous who choose to come in authentic dress will gain free admission!  Gate fees for all other guests are $3.00 per person, per day. Lodgers in the Primitive camp and Traders must adhere to authentic dress requirements.  We want everyone to enjoy the Rendezvous!  If you have any questions about authentic wear, please contact Kash Johnson

Telephone: 801-452-1518
Mail:  Bear Lake Rendezevous, P.O. Box 44, Woodruff, UT   84086