fort bridger, part I.

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since i was a little girl, my family has gone to fort bridger wyoming over labor day weekend each year for a mountain man rendezvous. i blogged about it a few years ago so you can read more about what it all entails and how it works here if you’d like.
but in a nutshell (well, a big nutshell), it’s pretty much a big reenactment in a way. a celebration of mountain man jim bridger’s fort which he established in the early 1800’s for fur tradings between the mountain men and native americans.
while the rendezvous is open to tourists each day to walk through, shop and visit, if you’re wanting to stay in the fort over the weekend, you’ll need a tipi or wedge tent. no tennis shoes or cell phones or tupperware or anything pre-1840’s is allowed… (although we did get away with sunglasses this year… shhhh.) my amazing mother makes ALL of our clothing each year without zippers and all (except for eleanor’s, she wore some of her dresses and bloomers from edens bouquet.) my mother also somehow manages to make a pre-1840’s camp site feel like home for the weekend. i don’t know many people these days that would have survived the early 1800’s… i know i wouldn’t have. but i bet my mother would have been leading a camp somewhere. she’s the hardest worker you’ll ever meet. and she makes life without running water or dishwashers or heat or AC look like a breeze.
anyway, there are a bunch of activities and contests during the weekend. lots of primitive shops, a dance, a traders row, historical demonstrations and reenactments… it’s a whole lot of fun.
we’re so happy we were able to go this year with the family (and a couple of my sisters’ boyfriends). we’ve missed out the last few years being on the east coast so it meant a lot to me to get to go again. and let me tell you, it was quite the adventure with eleanor. she was a great sport, but it was so cold at night, i thought i’d surely smother her as i tried to keep her warm in my sleeping bag. and then the sun was so hot during the days it was hard to find shade for her. i just don’t know how they did it back then. those women with babies and pregnant with more babies… what do we have to complain about in our air conditioned homes with running water and electricity and modern day kitchens (dishwashers!!!) and cars… the list goes on and on…. we have a lot to be thankful for. that’s for sure. next time my iphone isn’t loading fast enough for me i’ll be sure to think of bridger. ;)
i have many more photos to share. i hope you don’t mind. but here’s the first batch:

*ps. cameras are one of the only modern things allowed at fort bridger. thank goodness. ;)

  1. Kim

    Your mother made those clothes? That's amazing! You all look so great!

  2. Mariana

    It seems you had a lot of fun! My family is big, too and there is always a lot of fun, when we all come together. But this is really amazing. What a great tradition!
    Great photos!
    And your mother, she is such an artist!!!

  3. I have to say: You sometimes make me wanna get married. Not that you are happy or have a veeeery cute baby girl, but… It's the fact that you always have fun together. Even when it involves moving or staying out in a tent, dressing up like in a costume party.

    You should (and you do) know the value of a man who does not consider these "nonsense" Believe me, I know many of them.

  4. Wow, this is awesome. I think my boyfriend would love a trip like this. Thank you for the idea. Looks like you had a wonderful time! Thank you for sharing :)

  5. Leslie

    Gosh this looks so fun. You are, of course, beautiful as ever! What a fun time to be with family!

  6. Your sister has the greatest tattoos that I have ever seen and I'm REALLY picky about tattoo choices. I don't have any, but I've always said that if I were going to get any, they would be on the inside of my forearm. What do her tattoos mean? I love how the darkness and detail of them contrast with her natural beauty.

  7. Taylor

    That is so cool! Ive never even heard of that before… looks like yall had a great time :)

  8. I love that your family does this. It's a great way to get everyone together but also to be reminded how much we have to be grateful for. SO amazing.

  9. Bev

    Coincidentally my friend is from the area and invited a big group of us to come for the labor day holiday, we all LOVED it! Such a great weekend and it made me think of how grateful i am for modern commodities. Glad you and your darling family enjoyed :)

  10. alissa b

    lol what an fun little experience! when Eleanor gets older she'll have so many old and fun photos of what you guys did with her! ;)

    alissa b

  11. oooh, looks like you had a great time!! I've always wanted to go to something like that!

  12. Kelsey

    what a fun experience, those photos are great! and your mom, WOW! I can't believe she makes all your clothes! that's amazing!

  13. tRiSh

    This looks like a great place for family fun and to have great great memories! Thanks for sharing this beautiful time out there! =)

  14. Chaucee

    This looks so amazing!!

  15. Jennifer

    Those pictures are absolutely adorable and that looks like the best time ever! :D i wish i could do something like that. <3

  16. Leticia

    I loveee your blooooooggg!!!
    kiss from spain!!

  17. Folklure

    This looks like so much fun!


  18. Ariel

    These pictures are SO beautiful!!

    ~Ariel at

  19. I just have to tell you, I love seeing how Eleanor is developing. Blake is just a little younger than her, and it's fun to get a preview of what's in store for her by watching Eleanor's milestones. That probably sounds kind of funny, since I have an older daughter, too, but it's amazing how much you forget. Blake is trying to crawl SO badly right now, and something tells me she'll have it down pat in two weeks! Happy weekend:)

  20. Megan

    What a cool family tradition and WOW can your Mom sew!! I also LOVE your sister's tattoos, an owl and what else? The placement and coloring are beautiful.

  21. this has to be the coolest thing i've ever seen

  22. These are my very very favorite posts of yours and I am so glad you and the little fam went this year. I started reading your blog around the time you posted about this last time a couple years ago, and I just adore this tradition and your family for getting into it and truly living the old ways for at least a little while. Your mom seems like the rocking-est (?!) old-fashioned strong hearted woman in the world.

    I kinda wish life were a little more like this. I got home from my week-long southern Utah camping trip with my family and missed the early mornings, walks to the spigot to fetch water to boil for coffee or tea, sunrise and dust, curious animals and open land all around. Everything seems too easy, too fast, ridiculous, over simplified, separated-out here in the "real" world of technologies galore. Anyway sorry to write a book. I just rarely comment anymore and wanted to let you know that I still love your spunk and spirit! A couple last question…are you guys allowed to have ice chests or ice at Ft Bridger? What do you eat? Did your parents make the teepees too? I admire that hard work and energy and enthusiasm so much!

  23. Ashlee

    This is SO cool! Must do this in my lifetime!

  24. "women with babies and pregnant with more babies…"

    Are you telling us there is another little bundle of joy on the way??

  25. whimsy

    i cant believe i have never heard of this before! this is incredible. i would love to go with my family!!! love the shot of E and josh. your family seems amazing.

  26. This looks AMAZING! What an interesting thing to celebrate. I think I love just about every bit of it, especially the teepee tents.

  27. Lauren

    This looks SO COOL! Here in MS, they have weekends in a few of the cities where you dress in civil war period clothes. I haven't had the chance to do it, but I always wanted to. It doesn't seem as intense as Fort Bridger though!

  28. Melissa

    That looks like so much fun!! What a great idea. Your mom is talented.

  29. Katie

    This is too funny. I was browsing the web, looking for ideas on what to make for my daughter to wear this weekend at Ft. Bridger when I happened upon your blog. It sounds like your family and mine are exactly the same! My family has been going to Bridger for Labor Day weekend for the past 29 or 30 years with one or two left out here or there over the years. My mom runs the show as well, making all the clothing and food and doing an amazing job at it. My daughter's first rendezvous was 2011 and she even wore the same dress (my mom saved it!) that I wore as a little girl to my first rendezvous. Those who don't do it don't know how amazing of a family tradition it is. I'd love to meet you if you're at Bridger this weekend. My family will be in a tipi with an awning sporting a pirate flag and a war eagle flag set up next to a wall tent or just ask for the Cottrell's. :) I'm sure our daughters would have a grand time together!