By Brian Baxter
From July 11 through the 14, the 22nd Annual Kootenai Muzzleloaders sponsored, Two Rivers Rendezvous, will return to Lincoln County.
The original French term, rendezvous, referred to a place for assemblage of troops.
This event is a gathering of modern day mountain men and women in the beautiful remote mountains of northwest Montana, east of Libby.
Time period authentic clothing and equipment is required for participants, and events will include rifle and pistol trails, tomahawk / knife trails, fun shoots, a mountain man run, pewee and junior activities, and lots more.
During the fur trade era of the early 1800’s in the Rocky Mountain west, rendezvous events were held annually during the summer when the working fur trappers gathered to trade the pelts they had trapped in exchange for supplies and monetary payment. At that time in history, this was a huge industry all focused on trapping furbearers and beaver for beaverfelt to supply materials to make top hats that would be exported to the east and Europe. Fur trappers of the early west explored the new western frontier, and along with native tribe peoples, helped locate and open critical routes and mountain passes through the rugged Rockies to the Pacific Ocean.
One of the predominant explorers, fur traders, surveyors, and map makers of that era was David Thompson. A line from his journals reads, “Octr 21st Friday… Eqquiped the Kootenai Lad with my Gun & a Blanket with Amm for hunting with which he has I think deserted.”
Thompson explored extensively throughout the pacific northwest between 1801 and 1812. He also spent time along the McGillivray’s (Kootenai) River. The Big Bend on the river was a notable reference point map making. Thompson called the now named Little Bitterroot River, the Root Rivulet. At that time, fur trade could make one rich. Hides of weasel, mink, beaver, muskrat, pine marten, fisher, lynx, bobcat, and wolverine paid exorbitant prices.