My love affair with the frontier and the West began early on.  Long summer vacations from grade school were often filled with reading as many books as I could find about the early frontier.  As I grew up, my father’s interest in hunting and fishing were firmly instilled in me and, somewhere along the line, my interest in camping and horses surfaced. Then, when I was a junior in high school, our family took a summer vacation to Colorado.  We toured through Rocky Mountain National Park and from that time on the vision of snow-capped peaks, endless plains and wide-open skies was forever emblazoned in my mind. 

 I remember telling my father that I thought it would be great to step back in time and see the West how it was when the trappers and traders that we call the Mountain Men first ventured across the Great Plains and into the Shining Mountains. Not too long after school started that following fall, dad showed me a short article in an Outdoor Life magazine called “The Return of the Mountain Men” by Wayne J. Fears.  The article was about a small, outdoor-skills, wilderness- survival organization with a serious historical perspective called The American Mountain Men (AMM).  I couldn’t believe there may be others with such a unique interest as mine and I quickly dropped a letter to the ‘contact’ information in the article.  The rest, as they say, is history…

Over 30 years later, I look back on over three decades of running with some of the finest outdoorsman in this country and cannot put into words the wonderful experiences I’ve had as a member of the organization.  The organization provides the opportunity to participate in the activities I love best – hunting, trapping, horseback riding, camping, sharing my love of the early West – all in one neat package.  There are some that insist that the AMM is a buckskinning club, a black-powder club, or a living history organization.  To them, I would say “Nay” (or is that “neigh”?).  The organization began as a wilderness survival organization and only later took on a historical flavor.  There are plenty of buckskinning groups, living history groups etc… if someone is interested in those activities but…

The AMM may, in fact, be one of the best living history groups for the mountain men – but it is only by default of the fact that its active members actually step back in time and live the experience.  Some say that the AMM is a destination – my view is that it is a never-ending journey…

If you have a sincere interest in truly stepping back into the period of 1800 – 1840, living the life of the original mountaineers as they were then called and using their equipment, clothing and skills, I urge you to use the link to the AMM website and connect with someone in your area.  The organization does not need ‘card carrying’ only members or those not sincerely interested in leaving behind the modern conveniences and experiencing life as it once was – but if you’re interested and willing – please contact us...

 Watch yer backtrail…