photo courtesy of youtube.com
Dave Walsh 16 Dec ’15
This Wonder was born in the East, but would become the Daniel Boone of the Rockies. He was the King of the Mountain Men.
He was born in Virginia in 1804, but his family moved west to Missouri when he was an infant. Both of his parents died when he was a teen, and he became an apprentice blacksmith. But at age 18, the real wild west beckoned after reading an advertisement for “enterprising young men” to go to the Rockies and trap beaver for William Ashley. Well, he signed-up, and found himself on the first keelboat into the Bear River Valley in Idaho in 1822.
But our Wonder still wasn’t satisfied, he wanted to explore further, and he would become the first white man to discover the Great Salt Lake in Utah. And then, he headed east, into more totally uncharted territory. First, down the Bighorn River, and then all over the Yellowstone Park region.
There are 21 different places that bear his name in Wyoming, more than any other individual. For 49 years he would trade with the natives and build a legend in Wyoming. They called him “Old Gabe” because his skills rivaled those of the angel Gabriel. But this Wonder’s given name was Jim Bridger.
Jim Bridger, friend to the Indians, once married to Chief Washakie’s daughter, trapper, explorer, King of the Mountain Men, and a Wonder of Wyoming. I’m Dave Walsh, proud to live in Wyoming, and proud to tell her fascinating story.