Waugh Pilgrims and Pork Eaters!
Now is the time for all good pilgrims to don your best bib and tucker (rendezvous style) and plan to join us for Mountain Man Rendezvous in March 2019. It will be a chance to step back in time and re-visit the life and times of those hardy men who fearlessly faced the hardships of a harsh and untamed wilderness. These men, not content to live within the confines of comfort and civilization,followed the yearnings of their hearts and ventured into a world unknown; a world fraught with dangers on every side. They hiked steep mountains, crossed waterless deserts and fought wild animals. The forces of nature were relentless. Yet their sense of adventure was unequaled and they never stopped striving to tame an unforgiving wilderness. They blazed trails that many thousands would later benefit from which allowed the great, western expansion movement. Many didn’t live to old age. It has been said the average age of the mountain man was 33 years.
Just like your decisions today, a mountain man’s very life depended upon the daily choices he made. One wrong decision was oftentimes life threatening or even fatal. Meriwether Lewis, for example, during his two year expedition to the Pacific, was scouting a portage route one afternoon when he came upon a group of buffalo. He quickly discharged his muzzleloader and brought down a fat buffalo bull. Without re-loading his rifle and being pre-occupied with the dying buffalo, he failed to notice a large brown bear charging him. When he finally noticed the bear, it was only within 20 steps of him. Meriwether realized he didn’t have a loaded gun and would not have time to re-load before the bear would attack. The nearest tree being 300 yards away, he decided his only chance was to try to make a dash to the river (Missouri), wade out in the water and defend himself with his espontoon (a type of spear used for close combat). As he fled, the bear gained momentum. Fortunately, he made it to the water in time, waded in waist deep and took a defensive stance. The bear decided not to pursue any further and finally ran off. In his journal, Meriwether, realizing his close escape, reflected on this incident, “My gun reloaded, I felt confident once more in my strength and….determined never again to suffer my piece to be longer empty than the time she necessarily required to charge her.” One wrong decision almost cost him his life, but he learned from his mistake and resolved to never let it happen again.
The decisions we make daily determine our destiny indeed. In today’s world we are not faced with the threat of bear attacks every day. Nor do we have to scrape and forage for food and shelter. We do not have to brave freezing cold, driving rain, or blistering sun to hunt animals for skins and hides to manufacture our clothing. Instead, we live in a day and age where in spite of lavish abundance and myriad comforts, we are faced with external influences that maim or kill not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. We are plagued with more pernicious evils such as laziness, drugs, alcohol, immorality, sexual perversion and pornography just to name a few. None are immune from their ease of availability or debilitating consequences and like the mountain man of yesteryear, we arise daily and must decide for ourselves how we choose to face today’s ills. A poor decision made hastily in your youth, can have
lasting effects for years to come. If you haven’t done so already, decide now, once and for all, to follow the path of righteousness that leads us to Jesus Christ and His gospel plan. You will never regret making right decisions. May the Lord’s choicest blessings be upon you as you move forward in faith, courage and determination.
I look forward to seeing you on the mountain!
Laurie “Firebird” Anderton
Mesa Mogollon Rendezvous 2019