Mountain Man Will Rolfe:
“On our way down offa Sleepin Injun Mountain, lookin way off yonder a way ta the the west, at least a daze ride, the purty waturs a Jenny Lake sparkled so green an shiny, it don takes a man’s breath juss plum away. I fugur’d that me’an Long Hair in the Wind had us a little extree time so we mite outta dipsee on by ther an sit a short spell on our way on down ta the Green Rivr an the Randazvous thang comin long nex week.
Az we come down offa the foothills an onta the short grass, we started ‘cross a flat place call’d Antelope Flats. It wuz still a fur piece ‘cross ovur ta Jenny Lake, but light wuz still gud an I fugur’d we’d make it afore it wuz plum dark, if’n we kepp movin ‘long, so we did.
Bein’ early July, the big game – the elk, sheep, moose and grizz, wuz up high’r in the timber an the parks. Nuthin much wuz down in na flats but smallur critturs, like jacks, coyotes, sum muleys an, a course, them antelopes. They cuud run faster then a jack any day, fur sur, that be the truut.
They wuz lotz a them ‘lopes there wen we wuz fixin ta start ‘cross the Flat, but wen they seen us, they plum skeddadled off thru the stage an such. Ta onliest way a man cuud hav onena them ‘lope critturs fur a meal, wuz ta slip up on ‘em slikkery like, juss peepin ‘long, an suppriz ‘em afore they cuud skeddadle. ‘Lope meat wuz durn good eatin, bout az good az elk steak, I sez. We awreddy had us a quartr a elk on Ship Rock, so we juss let them ‘lopes go on ‘n skedaddle.
A warm summer breez wuz wisperin up thru the crick willers and sage az we wus ridin’ a slowly pace ‘cross the Flat, an lookin up, the sky az fur az one cuud see, wuz ’bout a purty a blue az ther ever wuz. I look’d over nex ta me at Long Hair in the Wind, ridin’ on Donell, an ta small breez wuz anuff ta make hur long, black hair ta muv softly, gently, az she rode ‘long. She look’d over at me, an smiled; an ma heart felt good.
With the sun high ovur head, we polled up baside a ole, snaggy yeller pine, what had ben struck ba lightnin’ or sumptin’ else, an had us sum elk jerky Long Hair in the Wind had made fur us back yonder a few days. Wil we wuz sittin’ there on a log, the mountains wuz towerin’ ‘bove us clear up ta the heavn’s. Makz one feel purty small bein’ nex ta them. Such primativ beutty makes me feel that ole’ God is so powrful.
They wuz a litter crick only spittin’ distance away as we et, an Long Hair in the Wind walked over ther ta fill our canteens with crick water an then we wood be on the trail agin.
It seem’d like only a few minutes had passed, wen I hurd Long Hair in the Wind call out, with a skeer’d like cry. I run over ta wher she wuz standin’, an seen that juss a few feet away frum her, all curl’d up and makin’ a racket wuz a rattler, settin’ ta jump at hur leg. I sez, “Don’t muv, stay still.” I took out ma throwin’ ax an let fly at that varmut, an slik az can be, it sliced right on thru, an the head went flyin’ frum hiz body, inta the crick nex ta Long Hair in the Wind.
Wen she seen wat happened ta the rattler, she come ta me an put hur arms ’round me an held on tight az she cuud, puttin’ hur head hard agin the side a ma neck. I let hur hug me fur a bit, an wuz glad she wuz OK. I wood a ben a sad owl hoot iffin’ she got bit by that varmut.
Juss then, two Gro Vants rode inta the clearin’ ‘cross the crick, stopped, an got down ta fill ther watr bags. They looked at us an we looked at them, and wen they figur’d we wazn’t no thret, they got up an muv’d away back thru the sage, frum the way they come. I thought to myself, ‘I’ll be a suck-egg mule!’ They slipped right away. I wuzn’t too concernd, ‘cuz the Gro Vants an the Shoshones got ‘long purty gud in them daze. It wuz the Shoshones where I got Long Hair in the Wind frum her brother back yonder in ther village.
We got back up an muv’d ‘long, too, an ’bout two hours later, we come ta Jenny Lake. I had camp’d here severl times in years pass, an It wuz one a ma favrit places ever. Long Hair in the Wind had never ben here, an she juss stood at the watr’s edge and looked and looked, furst at the watr, an then at the mountains above. The watr wuz so clear, you cuud see the mountains in the watr juss fine, almost az good az looking up at ‘em.
Finnly, Long Hair in the Wind got up an sez ta me, “I think this place must be saccrid, an we shouldn’t stay too long, mabe juss a night, no more. When I took a look-see ‘long the shore, I seen marks frum other fires, an figur’d Long Hair in the Wind wuz right. We wood stay tonight an go on towards the Green at furst light.
Az we made camp fur the night on the shore a Jenny Lake, an et elk steak an coffee by the fire, I couldn’t hepp wonderin’ if we wuz doin’ right by goin’ ta this Randazvous meetin’ down on the Green. May be all this fuss an trail ridin’ wuz all fur nuthin’. Well, time enuff then ta think ’bout it.
Long Hair in the Wind held open the blankets where she had set ‘em by the fire, an seemed she wuz wantin’ me to come ta hur more than usual. So, I crawl’d in there with hur, an she muved over to me. A coyote crutter cut loose with a batch a yelpin’ off in the distance, as we peerd up at the twinkl stars up ‘bove, an went ’bout bein’ tagether.”
Photos #1- Jenny Lake & Mt. Moran, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, #3 – Antelope Flats, Grand Teton peak, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, #4 – Moose, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, #6- Jenny Lake, Teton Mountains, – Lance Myers. Copyright 2008.
From: Wyoming Tales and Trails: http://www.wyomingtalesandtrails.com/bridger2.html
Photo #2 – Bourgeois and Squaw, Alfred Jacob Miller, 1837.
Photo #5 – The Trapper’s Bride, Alfred Jacob Miller, 1837.