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When his powder is wet and his flintlock won't fire, a mountain man needs his knife or tomahawk to survive in the wilderness. Here, Mike Haskell demonstrates his tomahawk skills. (Photo/Pete Klein)

Mountain man Wild Bill Baker displays knives he has made. (Photo/Pete Klein)

Mountain men Walt Palmer, left, and Mike Salter relax in front of their tents. (Photo/Pete Klein)

Mountain man Mike Haskell keeps an eye on the campfire and the food on the grill in front of his tent. (Photo/Pete Klein)


Mountain men revisit Adirondack Museum

Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Updated: 6:18 PM


Express News Staff

BLUE MT. LAKE -- The grounds at the Adirondack Museum here turned into a mini-rendezvous for a group of American Mountain Men Friday and Saturday, Aug. 15-16.

This has been one of the museum's most popular events for about 12 years, and that shows no sign of fading.

Cloudy skies and temperatures more like early autumn than mid-summer did not deter the crowds that flocked to learn about these unique men and ask questions to discover how life was lived in the wilderness in the 1820s to 1840s.

The mountain men camped out in their tents and tepees throughout the campus, dressed in historically accurate clothing while they talked about early 19th century survival skills.

The highlight of the rendezvous was when they demonstrated the use of flintlock firearms, bows and arrows, tomahawks, knife throwing and fire starting. Campfire cooking was on display in front of the primitive shelters they erected and spent the nights in.

It was as close to real as one could get without being in the wilderness and not feeding on wild game shot for dinner.

These guys are for real. This is not a dress up group playing at being mountain men. The qualifications are strict and difficult. Read the long list of requirements at

American Mountain Men is an organization, with chapters around the United States, of men dedicated to "the preservation of the traditions and ways of our early explorers and trappers who lived and survived in the wilderness, sometimes for years without coming out to frontier towns where they sold what they trapped."

American Mountain Men was founded in 1968. The association researches and studies the history, traditions, tools, and mode of living of the trappers, explorers, and traders known as mountain men.

Members continuously work for mastery of the primitive skills of both the original mountain men and Native Americans. The group prides itself on the accuracy and authenticity of its interpretation and shares the knowledge with all who are interested.


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