By: Bears Butt

Winter is winter, even up here in the Rockys.  Aint much fer a man ta do even if he had the hanker ta do it.  So, like them politisizers back East, we mend our business.  They is sittin back in theys high back chair, writtin words what they kin yell come cherry blossom time.  This time o year is best for that thinkin.  Thinkin back ta last year when they was standin on the apple crate, yellin out words of great thinkin they done last winter.  Almost brings a tear ta the eye.

We, or at least I, is sittin in my lodge real close ta the fire, cause first off I kint see, and second cause they is a draft comin in frum some where.

It be a time fer better acquaint’en you self ta the squaw and the young’ens.  And fer fix’in those leathers fer the up comin trappin season and rondeevoo.  Yes siree, by golly, hot damn if spring aint much away.  Why jest yesterdee I seed a returnin bald bird headin North.

Thas tell’in this hoss the river ice is startin to break up on the Snake.

I best git my mendin all done afor the Willow Creek runs over her banks, cause I sure got me a powerful hunger fer some fresh meat an beaver tail.  I won’t have neither come March, if I don’t mend my ram rod, and straighten the pan on my number 3 jumper.

Gotta go fer now, seems the youngins is gone to watch some yawho run with a woof ‘an the squaw is call’in frum the back ‘o the lodge.  Maybe that’s where the draft is com’in frum.

Bears Butt

Jan-Feb 1991

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

It were back in ’91 and after a powerful long spell of waitin, Wapiti Dung and me was given word we done had permission to enter into the all sacred Crawferd Mountain to hunt the wiley mule deer bucks.

Now, the Crawferds is some real mean country.  The weather be as harsh as kin be.  When the cold meets the wind, ya best be hid up good on the lee side or your butt ain’t gonna be round fer long.

We woke one morn an it looked like a good time ta head fer the Crawferds.  It were snowin hard in the valley and we knowed the time was come.

Wantin ta go wid us were two famous skinners named “Many Steps” ‘an “Tracker” and we was all welcome to have them company us.

Ridin hard as we could we got ta the Crawferds  an set up camp with still nuff time fer a look round afore dark.

Nows when I tell the secret of the Crawferds big muley bucks.  A hunter who is done after the sort of muley what is bigger than the space he has on is cabin wall ta hang the horns, has got ta be high.  Ya got ta be way up!  I’m not talkin half way, nor three quarter, I’m talkin where no tree kin grow.  When you be huntin the rugged Crawferds and find you is surrounded for near as fer as you kin see with no tree, you be exact where Wapiti and me was on our hunt.

Ever day we seed big bucks; ever day we had em near to run us down; ever day we was as high as a man kin git; ever day we seed the sorta thing what most only passes in a hunter’s dreams.  Septin us, cuz we was livin a dream hunt!

We hunted in cold that froze the end of my nose; when range herds of elk was bowed up like hunch backs trying ta keep what warm was left in theys bodies close ta theys heart.  I’m tellin ya it were cold, cause when it warmed ta zero ya near took ta heat stroke.

When the hunt was done ‘an we was back ta the cabins in the valley we both had some nice horn for the walls.  As it turned out neither of us had ta cut holes ta make the horn fit the space, but we done had seen some what woulda made fer a lotta work addin a room ta make it fit.

We is happy now and kint wait til we kin play in the Crawferds agin.

Bears Butt

Jan-Feb 1992

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

It were way back in bout ’73 an “Tracker” was hunt’in moose in the North land.  He done traveled pert near all summer ta git where he was.  His adventure tells of catchin monster fish nearly every time his line hit the water.  Of crab near big as wagon wheels.  Deer and elk boundin in all directions as he made his way further northward.

He wasn’t real sure how far he needed ta go,nor what he was after til suddenly he spotted his goal.  Far below in the alder filled valley was the biggest bull moose “Tracker” had ever seed.  All around the moose was wolves an giant grizzley brown bears which was actin like guards for the moose.  Could this be some God of the animals?

‘Ol “Tracker “ sucked em up an made his decision he were takin that moose and horns back ta rondeevoo or lose his hide trying.  So down he went inta that alder filled valley.

“Tracker” kept putting his skill ta test an outfoxed all them guards as he snuck up on that big moose—BLAM—an the moose was his!  But here he is surrounded by wolves an Kodiak brown bear an it’s  gittin dark.

So “Tracker” starts gatherin firewood ta prepare fer the night.  He puts limb after limb, after limb on the heap til he figured he had ‘nuff  fer all night.  Then he gathered more an put it on, an still he got more, an more, til it were too dark ta see.

His keen senses told him the guards was closing in, as his flint an steel sparked in the early night.  “Tracker” done had fire in less than a minute an the brush an timber was burnin bright.

The flames slowly spred up thru the branches an twigs.  As the firelight got brighter  an brighter the heat also got hotter an hotter.  “Tracker” knew he had to back away some.

“Tracker” aint  no dummy  cuz when he moved back from the fire, he dragged his moose with him an as the fire reached its greatest intense fer light an heat ya cud see the glow clear ta Santa Fe.  It were so bright an hot it created some sort of strangeness to the air above the earth an still today ya kin sometimes look North at the glowin lights.

Well, when “Tracker” done realized the fire’s heat was  mellowin  some he looked round an done realized he were only one ridge away from rondeevoo!

Bears Butt

May-Aug 1992

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

When it comes ta livin here in the Rocky Mountain, ever day seems like a adventure.

I never klaim ta do nutin sep be normal, like the rest; trap, fish, an be social ta them what wish ta social wit me.

Point bein, some days be more venture-some than others ‘an  I’d like ta tell ya of one ‘o them days.

Keep in mind a mountain man don’t tell no lies—never have—never will.

“Tracker”, “Wapiti Dung”, “No Grimace” an me was in the rugged Wellsvilles one fine fall day, just doin stuff, when “ol sharp eye ‘No Grimace’” done spots  sumpin under a tree.  He moved the fallin leaves and pulls out a mighty fine lookin jug, what still has a cork.  We spect it close ‘an figure the contents must be OK FINE.  “No Grimace” hoists it ta his lips and sips a big ‘ol slug.

(Nows when my tale seems a bit strange cuz we left that jug just as we found her, after we all done took a shot).

“No Grimace” handed the jug ta “Wapiti  Dung” ‘an made a real strange sound, like a bar first wakin from hibernation, then he falls down, eyes wide like a hoot owl—does a little quiver—his coon skin hat popped off ‘an quick as a wink, went a runnin up the near by tree!  Went kleen ta the top!

‘Ol Wapiti looked at the goins on and sez “Is you OK ‘No Grimace’”? Who is just dustin off his leathers–”Boy Howdy that is good—where be my hat”?

So, up goes the jug ta Wapitis’ lips and down another slug slides.

The rest is near to hard ta tell cuz I know ya  aint  fer  frum  sayin  I’m  ly’in, but I seed it wid my own eyes.

About the time it wood a took the sip ta hit his belly—‘Ol Wapiti was hangin on ta the barrel of his 50 cal.  The rest of the gun twinxt his legs like he were ridin a hoss.  It were plain ta see he was just tryin ta survive as round an round he rode that gun til it fell wid him still astride.

I ain’t much on drinkin whiskey from a jug, but I took my turn with a lip lock.  Caint say as I amember much, but I do recall my rear end a hurtin ‘an the skin on my leathers sure was hot ‘an thin.  They said I hit the ground, seat end first and went up the trail wid both hands and both feet in the air—just kickin up a dust storm.

‘Ol “Tracker”, he was the smart one, he put the cork back in the jug ‘an put the whole kit ‘an caboodle back under that three.

We aint been back since, but the next guy ta find it probly won’t believe what happens ta him.

Bears Butt

Mar-Apr 1992

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

Lots of folks figure it sure woulda been nice ta live back in the 18 and 20’s, when life were a big party an there weren’t no worries ner cares.

But this hoss got some thinning fer ya ta thin about.

Before old Ashley an  the boys begun carryin goods to the mountains, men had but two choices ta make.  One: give all their trapped furs ta their best buddy, an send him off ta Taos er St. Looie, ta sell em fer him, or two: go his self.

Now there be definite advantages ta either one ‘o them decidens.  If’n he sends his years trappin, he kin stay in the mountains, fix up the cabin (er lodge) fer the upcoming winter.  Prepare the provisions lodge by makin sure it is bear proof and shoot nuff buffler, elk, bear, and deer ta stock it.

He done also got ta make certain the injuns in the area like him a lot.  So he got ta help them stock their lodges and also have a few shiney mirrors and beads ‘an red cloth fer the squaws.

Now let’s recollect where he done is gonna git nuff powder, ball, caps, salt (fer curin meat) shiney mirrors, beads and red cloth, ta stay the winter!?

Why hellfire—he gonna trade beaver, bobcat, bear and buffler pelts fer it!  Ok fine, ..but he just sent all his pelts with “No Grimace” ta Taos with ‘em.  What if he gits hit in the head on the way, or takes the trade money ‘an heads off wid it?  What den?  Ya know, he aint commin back till next spring, after the deep snows melt and the ice begins ta break up on the river.

Does I have nuff stuff ta stay up here ‘er does I high tail it, ta kitch up ta “No Grimace”??  Big decid’in ta be done.  Stay an possably go under, ‘er go ‘an join the other snow-birds in Taos!?

Think back ta last winter; ya made Chief Wahoo mad fer mak’in a pass at his doughter so he stole yer hoss.

A griz got in yer store house and spent the hole winter.

It could’nt have been colder even if all ya had on were a wet golly I done decided—load the mule—we’ll be gone now!  Sides, there be more whiskey in Taos and the girls done got all the red cloth they need up here.

Bears Butt

Nov-Dec 1991

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

It was back in ’91, Wapiti Dung, Rut Runner, Wine Maker, Many Steps, Windy and me went fer a trip down on the Bear River.  We was in Bannock country, so we knowd there wouldn’t be no injun trouble.  Most our concerns was possibly flippin our rigs.

When we done got there, we found there was a rondeevoo happinen.  Our eyes was a delight. Old Soda Griz was havin a shinin time.

When at the rondeevoo most any other plan ya mighta had goes by the wayside, cuz it’s time ta jaw jack and kitch up on what has happened ta folks ya aint seed fer some time.

We done told of our years trappin and fightin and goin what we done, when Old Griz got holt of the talkin stick and told of one of his fishin tales.  Mind ya now, Old Griz aint never told no lies.  Mountain men never lie.

“…It were early Spring up near the Hamms Fork, I’d done trapped long nuff, twer time fer some fishin and gitten away from beaver ‘an sitch.  There was still a bit ‘o ice formed round this here fishin hole I was trying ta fish and in the early morn it were chilly.  Later on in the day the water warmed some and the ice would melt.

I’d been fishin fer some time and couldn’t git one ‘o them brookies ta even look at my bait.   I even considered ta toss a lighted powder horn in there with ‘em, just ta git some fer ta eat.

My luck was powerful down, when here come swimming long was a water snake, what had a bitty frog in his mouth.  I grabbed up dat snake an tried ta pull the frog frum his mouth.  No deal..Mr. snake weren’t letting go.

Wall now, I don’t go off  fishin in the cold of Spring without my little jug ‘o brandy, so I figgered Mr. snake might be persuaded ta trade the frog fer a drink.  I poured a smidgin in the snakes mouth and sure ‘nuff he let go of that little frog.

I thanked him kindly and let Mr. snake know I was much abliged afor letting him go.

I done put that little frog on fer bait and BAM—had me a 20 plus incher first cast.

My eyes was shinin, but now I didn’t have no more little frogs.

With luck done about run out there I sat wonderin where I might find another bitty frog when somp’n started pattin the side of my near froz leathers.  I looked down an there was Mr. snake with another frog!!

Wonder what he wants?”

Bears Butt

July-Aug. 1991

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

Spring  an summer be the best time fer rondeevoo and there is word out that late in May we is a meetin up on the left hand fork of the Blacksmith.  See ya there.

Speak’in of rondeevoo ‘an meetin.  Rondeevoo is a time fer let’in off steam and tell’in tales of hard times.  See’in whos story is the wildust.

Heres one I heard ‘an I aint so sure he weren’t tellin a true story.

He was trappin river otters up on the Yukon in late Spring.  His company and him hadn’t had much good meat fer weeks.  Theyd been livin on wolf, otter ‘an muskrat.  Twernt no moose, elk er deer up as high as they was.

Out check’in traps one day, low an behold up steps a big ‘ol cow moose.  He slowly raised his trusty 50 and BLAM, that ol moose was his fer the takin.  Just about the time he gits his skinning knife out, a sudden Northern began to blow and the temperature dropped to minus 80!  Rivers what were clear of ice, sudden as kin be refroze and even ol Mr. Griz bear had to go back to hibernate.

Well the ‘ol boy was just finishin the dressin chore when it started ta git to him.  His body got a chill sumpin fierce.  So ta save his own skin, he crawled up inside of that mooses chest cavity to git outa the cold.  He figured the animals body heat would save him.

Good plan, till next day when he figured he’d best git goin back to the cabin.  When he tried to get out, he was stuck.  Rigermorti had set up in that critter and the rib cage had him pinned but good.

That’s where they done found him some lebben days later, most dead as that moose.

When he told me this here story at that summer rondeevoo he still had moose hair on his leathers.

Hope ta see ya up at rondeevoo!

Bears Butt

Mar-Apr 1991

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

For many years a runnin, we been palin round with a mountain man named Ken.  A real quiet sorta man, deliberate about his doins, an always a all round good guy.

He’s been ta many a rondeevoo, an hunted the wiley mulie with some of the best.  Includin meself.

I’ve stood side ta side with him on the shootin line an seed him plumb a ball agin the sharp edge of a double blade ax an break clay bowles, one on each side of the ax, at the same time!

But, Ken was what we called him.

I’ve heard tale of him long-gunnin big mulies at 600 yard, drink cases of Annie Green, an PJ Swine, then rip the corner off’n a perfectly good lodge.  Tussle with men bigger than big, even whop’em up side ‘o the head with a stick ‘an still come out  not  hurtin’in

But still we called him Ken.

We was talkin one day about old Ken and most tryin ta figger out a mountain name fer him when “No Grimace” say—“Ya know, old Ken is just old Ken.  Quiet, to the point, an never makes no mistakes or does anything out of the ordinare.  How kin a guy git a name doin that”?

“Tracker” spoke up bout then and said—“You be right, ‘No Grim’, hard ta name a man bein the same as the rest”.

One day old “Two Breaks” spoke up an said, “Ken done got some kind a likin fer feathered critters.  Seems he done got one ‘o them talkin birds what don’t need the tung split, an is teachin him to cuss like his squaw.  He done also got a heard of ducks ‘an some miniature chickens, ‘an some of them carrier birds like what the King of the Black Forest uses to send notes to his buddies with.  Seems like maybe perhaps his name could deal with that.  Bein buddies to a heard o ducks don’t seem ta me like ol Ken got all his ores in row”.

Well now, we didn’t know all this about ol Ken.  Least ways about his teachin the talkin bird ta speak such lingo as that.

So, back at rondeevoo in ’91, up on the left fork ‘ol Ken was called to the talkin stick, an wherever mountain men shall meet forever will be called—“Flying Feathers”!

Bears Butt

May-June 1991

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

Pretty face

Petite little hands

Glows in the dark

Never ending rhythmic beat

Keeps me on time for appointments

Can be turned on in a minute or off in a second

Has my number and a song in her heart

Makes me happy when the time is right

She tells me when It’s time for bed and wakes me with a song when it’s time to rise

She is never wrong, unless the power is off

Oh what would I do without my bedside radio alarm clock?

Bears Butt

Jan-Feb 1990

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

The mountains is a be-utiful place ta be, an huntin an trappin makes it even more so.  When we Willow Crick guys go huntin ever one has a job.  Some days ya wake u and you is a cook, other days ya don’t do much mor’en keep the fire goin.

Ifn’n you’re the cook ya gotta put tagether the vittles on the plan or the whole trip might be ruint.  The plan is made up prior to go’in away from the lodges and the little woman down in the flat land.

Here might be a typical plan for a meal—Elk, H-Booms, T-toast, Cow Juice and Whiskey.

Now the cook is goin ta need some help, so he gits a helper as a right hand man and another as a “go-fer”.

The right hand man might cook the “H-Booms”, an maybe the “T-toast”, whilst the cook does justice to the “Elk” and the “Whiskey”.

The “Go-fer” is just that..a “go-fer”.  Go-fer this and go-fer that.  Sometimes all he go-fer is more whiskey.

All this don’t make much sense unless ya knows what the meal is, so here is what it means.

“ELK”—Red meat, be it stew, steak or roast.  A mountain man has gotta have it.  Fried, boilt, stewed or just thrown in a dutch oven.  M-M-M I kin smell it now.

“H-Booms”—These be letters what mean Hash black potatoes (H)(B) with special added peppers and pimentos (O), onions (O) and Mushrooms (M).  The “s” just finishes it off and gets more than one man fed.

“T-Toast”—Thick sliced toasted bread.  Sometimes with garlic on it, an always held close to a fire or sum’in real hot to brown it good.

“Cow Juice”—Milk.

“Whiskey”—Any variety of pre-meal elixir what settles yer nerves from a day in the field.  When ya has it all ta gather it makes fer some good eatin and friendly converstation.  Sets ya up right smart fer a good night rest too.

Oh ya_–The go-fer kint ferget to “out’n the frig” before goin to his lodge fer the night.  That means put any frozen food out to thaw so it’ll be ready for cook’in at the next meal.

Bears Butt

Sept.-Oct. 1990

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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.