By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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SEQUIM — Flintlocks, Dutch ovens and canvas tents will become a way of life for four days over Labor Day weekend for re-enactors who will transform a meadow in the Olympic Mountains foothills above Sequim into an early 19th-century trading camp.
The Green River Mountain Men present their annual Rendezvous from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Monday at the Peninsula Long Rifles property on Slab Camp Road, just off Lost Mountain Road, accessed by Taylor Cutoff Road.
Directional signs to guide visitors to the event will be placed along the way.
Admission is free for “flatlanders” — the Mountain Men term for visitors — who are encouraged to wear period costumes if possible.
The entry fee for shooting competitions is $20 per person for shooters 13 and older.
Flatlanders can learn to shoot a period weapon at the firing range for a small fee.
Campsites cost $20 for tents or “tin teepees,” also known as RVs.
The Mountain Men create a re-enactment of the annual fur trappers' gatherings that took place between 1820 and 1840.
The gathering features historic-style campsites and period-dressed re-enactors with hands-on opportunities for adults and children.
“It's all very historically accurate,” said Lance Mertz, past “booshway,” or boss, of the camp.
Period-accurate activities and demonstrations will include black-powder shoots with Derringer pistols and flintlock and caplock rifles, primitive archery and knife throwing, a Dutch oven cooking competition, scrimshaw art, traditional music, mountain-style storytelling and children's games.
The historical experience is a living lesson in early Pacific Northwest lifestyles, Mertz said.
The Hudson's Bay Co., with the blessing of the British government, essentially controlled the Pacific Northwest during that time period, including trade and authorization to make and enforce laws.
The event is dusty, primitive and raw, according to Mertz.
“Kids are great there. They love it,” he said.
Period costumes will be available for purchase at the Rendezvous.
Vendors at the Rendezvous also will offer a wide variety of period reproduction camping gear, cooking utensils, tools and weapons.
Water is not available at the site, and fires will not be permitted. All cooking will be done using gas stoves.
Conditions at the event site are very dry, which may restrict some traditional activities, Mertz said.
“We will observe the current fire ban unless it is lifted,” he said.
An auction for traders, also known as vendors, is planned at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Vendors began setting up Thursday. Vendor fees are $20, plus $15 in items for the auction.
The Green River Mountain Men is a nonprofit organization of men and women dedicated to educating the community about the pre-1840s fur trade era.
For more information, phone Mertz at 206-384-9496 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.