A Child's Interpretation of the Fur Trade - "Women as Men"
“My name is Sage. I was born on March 8, 1828.” Now Sage wants to be a mountain man, even though she is a woman. So this mountain man thing might be a little hard for her. She lives in West Virginia, with her mom Charlotte, her dad Jack, and her little brother George.
It is March 8, 1849. As a birthday gift for Sage she gets to go out as a real mountain man! Sage’s family got her two mules, named Kuanna and Tyler! She even got her own panniers! Her dad let her borrow his hat because she does not have her own hat and needs one to disguise herself. She’s setting out tomorrow as Charles (her mountain man name).
It’s tomorrow today! She is going to meet other mountain men at St. Louis. “I’m so excited!” Sage shouts. Her family will really miss her. She will miss them, too. She gave them all kisses. She grabbed Kuanna, Tyler, and her panniers, she hopped on Kuanna’s back with Tyler not far behind and set off. Right now it is spring, and she is seeing some amazing things like baby animals, lots of green, and heard amazing noises, unexplainable!
Now it is mid-summer, and she can see the meeting place. She is putting on her disguise, and riding into the meeting place. Now they are talking and discussing what the should do next to trap beaver. They check if they had everything they need, and they do. They hop on their mules and set off.
A tent is set up, and camp is by a river for the night. At morning, they set up traps for beaver and then return to camp to start a fire. Breakfast is cooked over the fire, the trappers are enjoying biscuits and tea. Breakfast is finished, they are going to go check on their beaver traps. They each caught one beaver to tan for a new hat.
Woops, her knife slips and cuts the beaver pelt. That hat won’t be worth much at Rendezvous.
Just then a big gust of wind came rolling in, and blows Sage’s hat right of her head. She runs over to get it, and put it back on her head. That was a big gust of wind, she thought. Whew that was close. Nobody saw me with my hat off.
Just one more week until winter!! “Charles, get ready for winter!” , yells one of the men. “All right!” Sage responds in a deep voice. She sets up her tent and saltens her meat. She makes sure Kuanna and Tyler will be warm enough in the winter. She makes sure she will be warm enough in the winter. She’s ready.
It’s a really hard winter this year. It’s really windy to. There is lots of snow and food is scarce.
Since food is scarce, they have to hunt as much as they can. Sage goes on a hunt to look for elk. A wolf is hunting the same elk as Sage. They spot each other and get into a big fight. They both go for the elk right away. They corner the elk and attack. They kill it, but the wolf starts biting and scratching at Sage. She gets out her gun and shoots the wolf. She get the elk.
Back at camp she takes care of her scratches and wounds. Then they pack up and head for the Rendezvous!!!
Halfway there it is late spring, early summer. Again lots of baby animals, green forests and noises unexplainable.
They finally make it! There it is, the Rendezvous!!! Sage is trading something when some wind rolls in and knocks her hat right off her head. This time everyone sees this. One person from her troop went to tell their leader, but he doesn’t care. “Charles survived a wolf attack!” He said.
“You can call me Sage”.
“Why did you come?”asked one guy.
Sage answered,“ The same reason you all came out here, to get and trade fur of the animals.”
Glendinning, Ricard. When Mountain Men Trapped Beaver. Garrard Publishing Company, 1967
Museum Of The Mountain Men. The Fur Trade & Rendezvous Of The Green River Valley. The Sublette County Historical Society and The Museum Of The Mountain Men, 2005