Guest post ahead!
Please enjoy a guest post from our friend, Greg Hatten, of wooden boat and river running repute, who took our new Bridger Stripe Blanket for a spin in the area where his namesake traveled so many years ago.
Jim Bridger 1824 – 1871
During the era of exploration of the American west in the mid 1800’s, Jim Bridger was known as an expert trapper, hunter, and marksman among his fellow mountain men. Among the the Flathead and Crow tribes, he was known at the “Blanket Chief” after a beautiful multicolored blanket he wore around his shoulders on special occasions. Within the military, Bridger was known as an outstanding scout, translator, negotiator, and map maker. Jim Bridger had an enormous impact on the western migration of the United States
Jim Bridger was also called “Old Gabe.” He has always been one of my favorite personalities in the long list of colorful characters that explored the mountains, rivers and plains of Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Idaho. He left a mark on the west by mapping trails, guiding wagon trains, and building a trading post that would expand into a fort. He was respected by allies and enemies for his unmatched skills as an outdoorsman and his ability to stay calm under fire.
A Trip Out West
On my recent trip to Oregon, I began from Kansas City, where Jim Bridger is buried near his former farm in Westport. Traveling west on Interstate 80 (which is “roughly” the route of Lewis and Clark and the old Oregon Trail), I stopped by Fort Bridger in Wyoming and took my Pendleton Bridger Stripe blanket along for the adventure.
The rustic fort that bears his name is a nearly exact replica of the original – complete with trading post that was first built in 1842. For several years it was the center of the universe in the western territory as the host of annual trade Rendezvous, a vital resupply stop for the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails, figured prominently in the Utah War of 1857 and was a Pony Express relay station in 1860.
The Fall colors in Wyoming wrapped around the fort and were a perfect match for the colorful stripes on the Bridger Blanket. I paired the blanket with some historic artifacts and imagined the bustle of the fort as the emigrants on the trail resupplied and double checked their maps before heading off for the last legs of the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails.
A tribute and lasting legacy of that westward migration are the ruts by iron wagon-wheels, and from intentional cutting by emigrants in an attempt to ease the grade from the lower level of the North Platte River.
The Bridger Stripe Blanket was a perfect compliment to my simple style of camping in canvas and wool on Rogue Wild and Scenic River. Sometimes I used a canvas fly because of the heavy dew but mostly it was open air sleeping under the stars beside the river… and the view was outstanding.
Thank you, Greg! It’s always a pleasure to see our products out in the wild. Enjoy a few more shots below. It wouldn’t be a Greg Hatten post without seeing our blanket in the prow of his beautiful wooden boat. And look carefully at the photo below the river shot. Can you imagine camping there? We can!
The Bridger Stripe blanket has the same soft hand and all-wool construction of a Pendleton park blanket, with a distinctly different stripe on each side for two looks in one versatile blanket. The pattern is named for a famed explorer, trapper and scout in the 1800s. Jim Bridger was part of the second generation of mountain men who followed Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery journey in 1804. His Rocky Mountains expeditions took him from southern Colorado to the Canadian border.
See it here: Bridger Stripe Blanket