April 7-9 was a special weekend for us because it marked the second annual Modern Mountain Man Rendezvous. A little back story for us is the fact that the first annual rendezvous was the first time Kit Fox Outfitters really “Got the Fox Out There”, set up a booth and sold some products face to face. More importantly, we made some lasting friendships that brought us to the second annual event. I can’t say enough good things about this event or the great organizations and individuals that came together to make this happen. From last year’s event, we saw the networking group San Diego Outdoor Network emerge, but more importantly from that came Triple B Adventures, a nonprofit focused on getting veterans and active duty military outdoors. In the short time that Triple B has existed (November 2016), this organization has led five camping trips, three hunting trips, and has accumulated hundreds of hours of community service! The reason I have to lead with this is the fact that this year’s Modern Mountain Man Rendezvous’ proceeds went to support this very worthy cause.
So, what is a Modern Mountain Man Rendezvous? Well, don’t let the name fool you, this rendezvous is for man, woman and child, giving all of us a chance to get together and get back to some of the basic outdoor and primitive living skills that unite us. More importantly, this event brings many people from different walks of life together for a weekend of learning, sharing and bonding to one camp. For me, the rendezvous started about a month and a half ago and the crescendo was setting up early Friday morning. I will not bore you with that, only will mention our CFO DJ and a few other hardcore campers headed up Thursday night to start set up. I arrived Friday morning as most did to beautiful Warner Springs and the Broken Oak Ranch which our friend Alex graciously allowed us to use again.
The weather was not too bad as we set up, but it was the calm before the storm. Our fellow volunteers dutifully set up the tomahawk range and archery range and our friend Todd walked the property prepping the route for his wild edibles hike. New friends Tom and “Runner”, actual mountain man reenactors, arrived and began to erect their pyramid tent and teepee on the upper pad as Kit Fox and Farmington crates put up their stands. Later in the afternoon, Smoking J’s BBQ arrived with some amazing food to keep us going for the weekend. Talk about a great start to an awesome weekend. I also have to include a shout out to my work buddies who showed up and braved the weather and their co-worker’s lunacy, ha-ha.
Friday was an easy day of set up and meet and greet, and boy did we meet and greet. Gary and Matt from Farmington Crates set up a rocket stove out of cinder blocks and had a great happy hour with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails while everyone hung out around the fire and also enjoyed hanging out in Runner’s teepee. Yes, this is the part when the wind picks up and it gets chilly and sucks a little, ha-ha. The wind is a recurring theme in this weekend and it really tested our mettle.
Saturday was off to a great start. We had a morning get together and started the events. Wingman 115 (Jon) and Rick did an awesome job running the archery range all day with open shoots and trade classes. Runner and Tim knocked it out of the park with authentic mountain man tomahawk throwing as well as providing living history classes all day. Brady Pesola and Todd Gilje where on deck representing San Diego School of Survival this regions premier outdoor school house, bringing years of survival and wilderness education experience to the table. Todd kicked ass as usual with his famous wild edibles walk. Todd pulled double duty with Brady on a primitive fire starting class where everyone was introduced to methods such as flint and steel and also had the opportunity to make fire with a bow and drill! My highlight was the small game harvesting, where Todd took a rabbit from start to finish and showed us how to humanely dispatch, field strip and cook the rabbit. One of the major upsides to this was Jon’s Dutch oven cobbler class, so we had soup and cobbler at the same time. All of this was accomplished while some major winds were ripping through the classes and campsites all day. I have a lot of respect for everyone who stayed and worked through the weather to gain new skills. On the other hand though, the raffle might have also been a motivating factor…
The raffle deserves a discussion of its own. Wow! This bad boy had a shit ton of great prizes from a bunch of great companies, donated by awesome people, to include yours truly, ha-ha. Some of the stand outs were the great packs and gear donated from Vanquest, a ton of awesome knives, outdoor gear, copies of Jeramiah Johnson (thanks Brady), and probably one of the neatest prizes of all, a Remington 700 in 300 blackout with a Houge over molded stock (gun porn) donated by the awesome guys and gals at Gunfighter Tactical. I mean really, the amount of generosity at the raffle was awesome. We even had winners gifting their prizes to help other participants. I mean come on, that’s awesome!
So, after the amazing raffle (can’t talk it up enough) a few people headed home. No judgment because Friday was a little rough, but yes boys and girls it was going to get rougher. If the wind was not enough, the clouds from earlier in the morning which dampened the whole campsite let up and you could feel the chill coming in. Oh, and yes it was chilly. It went down to 29 degrees and frosted over everything. Our modern mountain people earned their stripes that night. I got up at around 0500, saw the ice and said F this and crawled back into bed until about 0900, when Brady assured me it was warm out, which was a lie. It was a rough morning getting up, not just because the weather, but also because the weekend was over. It was like adult summer camp; we did not want to leave. Luckily for me, our great volunteers who included Josh, Aaron and Paul, got the porta-johns moved, to my surprise, so all I had to do was walk for trash and hang out with the gang. Runner lent us his black powder pistol and Alex, Mike, Valintino, Ben and I got to shoot some black powder. It pays to hang around.
In the end, we had another great ending to a great weekend with an awesome group of people. We had such a great time in fact, that we are adding a fall rendezvous. If you missed this one, don’t fret, we look forward to seeing you there. Talk about another great chance to hone your skills, hang out and get the fox out there!