We spent last weekend at the Mountain Man Rendezvous. This is an annual spring fling for men and their sons in the foothills of the Talkeetna Mountains.
We had a good time just hanging out, talking and feeding the fire. The temperature got down to -15F while we were there and it was apparently colder earlier in the week. The event lasts a week with people coming and going the whole time. We were only there overnight but some of the diehards were there all week.
This is a not a tightly scheduled event. Everyone did their own thing at their own time. The only organized thing that I saw was a game of capture the flag in the dark after the younger kids begged to play it. Most of us old men sat it out.
The teenage boys and young men spent most of their time testing each other on their snowmachines. What they can do with these modern machines is amazing to me. I have spent many hours on snowmachines in years past riding the trapline trail, but I didn’t attempt anything close to what these guys were doing. There was a very steep hill right next to the camp that was covered with spruce trees. Somehow they were able to ride straight up the hill winding between the spruces
I was most interested in an old cabin that is now hidden in a thick spruce woods. Apparently it used to be a post office for the surrounding area in the old days when mail was carried by mule trains and dog teams. It was probably built around 1910 or so. The roof is completely caved in. In fact, some good sized trees are now growing inside of it.
The kids gave it a passing glance, history is not that interesting when you are 8 years old. They liked climbing on top of it the most.
Here is a picture of Mark’s tent with our machines parked outside. Mark had a pretty nice camp with a wood floor. It made it very comfortable in that winter weather.
The only problem was that he had to feed the small wood stove almost constantly at night to keep the temperature to his liking. A larger stove would help.
This little stove needed to stay cherry red in order to keep the heat up with the -15 degree weather.
There was no shortage of fire outside ,however. Even in the cold, it was comfortable around this big fire. I’m not sure if the fire went out at all during the whole week. It sure burned well while I was there. The only problem was that your marshmallow sticks needed to be at least 10 feet long.
It looked like there were about 10 camps there, most of them had heat. A few diehards were camping out in that temperature without any heat.
I tried it, I made a trench in the snow into which I put my tarp wrapped sleeping bag. Then I buried all but the head and shoulders in snow. It was warm, but so uncomfortable that I moved into the tent after a couple hours.