What would Jim Bridger do?

2rocky

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For the Sake of discussion, if Jim Bridger were to come back and see the technology we have in the mountains and wilderness today, what would his reaction be?

For those of you unfamiliar with the man:

  • in 1822 Bridger signed on with other legendary 'Mountain Men' Hugh Glass, Jedediah Smith, and Thomas Fitzpatrick to be a member of General William Henry Ashley's Upper Missouri expedition. At the age of 17, he was the youngest member of the expedition.
  • To settle a bet in the winter camp of his trapping party of 1824, Bridger set out to find the exact course of the Bear River from the Cache Valley. On his return he told that it emptied into a vast lake of salt water. People were convinced he had found an arm of the Pacific Ocean, but we now know that he was the first white man to view The Great Salt Lake.
  • in 1850. Captain Howard Stanbury stopped at Fort Bridger and inquired about the possibility of a shorter route across the Rockies than the South Pass. Bridger guided him through a pass that ran south from the Great Basin. This pass would soon be rightfully called Bridger's Pass and would be the route for overland mail, the Union Pacific Railroad, and finally Interstate 80.
  • In the summer of 1842, aware that the market for beaver was waning and anticipating America's westward migration, he and fellow trapper Louis Vasquez founded a trading post on Black's Fork of the Green River, in what is now southwest Wyoming. Fort Bridger quickly evolved into an important way station on the Oregon Trail.
  • There was a First Day of Issue 29 cent US Postal Service stamp on 18 October 1994. Beer, a hat, and even a power generating plant have been named after Bridger. More than 20 places, including a wilderness area, carry Bridger's name
 

RockChucker30

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I think he would be astounded, then he'd get over it and ask for a new rifle.

Those guys were always using the most advanced equipment available to them. Liver Eatin' Johnson was famous for his Hawken, but he eventually retired it and carried a newer model.
 

Jon Boy

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I was smurk a bit when I see people commenting on various hunting forums about the hundreds you need to spend on a pair of boots to hunt the back country, and then think to myself "I wonder what bridger was wearing"
 

Yellowknife

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I was smurk a bit when I see people commenting on various hunting forums about the hundreds you need to spend on a pair of boots to hunt the back country, and then think to myself "I wonder what bridger was wearing"
I'd be willing to be that he wasn't wearing discount moccasins he bought at TrapperMart....

I'm sure Jim Bridger mind would boggle at what gear we have now, but I'm also suspect he would jump right into. Everything I've read about the early frontiersman indicated that quality equipment was highly prized by the more famous explorers. Longrifles from the best makers, Hawkins mountain rifles, hand forged bowie knives, hand crafted clothing, etc, etc. Sure there was lots of cheap imported junk available back then (mostly from europe as I recall) but quality was available and appreciated. They were also quick to jump to new technology. Repeating rifles and Colt revolvers were adopted quickly by westerners.

Yk
 

Yellowknife

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As a side note.... I very nearly named my first son Bridger. Went with something different in the end, but did use "West" for a middle name in honor of those early American frontiersman.

Yk
 

tstowater

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He would probably think that there wasn't any "wild country" left and be disappointed. Some of those mountain men were adventurers for a reason; couldn't set still. I don't know if JB was one of them, but likely was. I'm guessing that he would adapt, but would have liked the "old days" better in some ways. Damn, it would have sucked without some of the gear and goodies we have, but they had to be tougher without a doubt.
 

hodgeman

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I've seen this or similar various times....personally think Bridger would be astounded that we attempt some of the hunts we do in such short time spans. A week long hunt? The notion of running into the hills and dragging an elk out a few days later so we could go to a job would likely elicit a laugh.

Bridger's generation lived in the wilderness full time...they didn't recreate in it. If their mocassins wore out they'd take a few days and make some more, after trapping a couple of critters for materials...

Much of our hunting technology is driven by our (real or imagined) need for speed and limited amount of time available to hunt. In days past, HUNTING was the JOB and other pursuits were secondary.
 
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