Trail Talk Blog

Archive for the ‘Old West’ Category

The Story of Sitting Bull’s Bones

The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota was in the headlines last fall and winter because of Native American demonstrations protesting an oil pipeline being dug under their tribal lands and threatening their main source of water.  Trust me, I have no intention of weighing in on this bitterly… read more >

Seeing the Elephant

“Seeing the elephant”, I’m told, is a purely American phrase which gained popularity in the early 19th century. Coincidentally, the first circuses reached these shores from Europe in the 1830’s and they invariably included exotic animals that no American had ever seen. They were HUGE – almost overwhelming – and… read more >

Forgotten History

Andrew Carroll in his excellent new book (Here is Where) about what he calls America’s “forgotten history”, raises the question about the difficulty of learning from history when so much of it is either mis-remembered, or worse, just plain invented. Personal memoirs are particularly suspect because the author often has… read more >

The Tradition of Pow Wow

October is Pow Wow month in the Black Hills, when one of the largest pow wows in North America is held annually. For various reasons – including recent health challenges – it has been a number of years since I attended this or any other pow wow. I had forgotten… read more >

The Empty Quarter

I’ve written about this subject before (Wide Open Spaces, Jan 2013) but it is never far from my mind because I not only live in what has been derisively called the Empty Quarter, I have introduced hundreds of travelers to it’s amazing vastness, and I might add, it is a… read more >

Where Legends Live

I like to think that I am an eclectic reader, with interests in baseball (especially the Negro Leagues), World War II, biographies (of virtually anybody), Colonial America, British Royalty (and I’m not talking about Kate and William; I’m talking about the likes of Ethelred the Unready, and that callow fellow,… read more >

It’s All About the Water

The first time I traveled the Lewis & Clark Trail was in 1997. I was participating in a FAM (that’s travelspeak for “familiarization tour”) with thirty or so other tour operators that the 14 trail states were hoping to interest in conducting tours of the trail during the upcoming Bicentennial… read more >

Westerners

I am a Westerner in more ways than one. I live in the West and am devoted to its history. But I also belong to an organization called Westerners, International, a foundation to stimulate interest and research in frontier history, according to its website. This is a club like no… read more >

Where History Happened

One of the hallmarks of our tours is that we offer the opportunity to walk where history happened. When you think about it, this really is a powerful motivation. While American history is a great deal shorter than that of the rest of the world, one can still get goose… read more >

Coincidences

History is rife with coincidences that are simply too amazing to make up. Although Lewis & Clark’s Corps of Discovery spent considerable time in the current state of Montana (coming and going) and experienced many adventures here, I have a particular favorite which just might be the most fantastical of… read more >

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