Saturday, September 20 – Larned, KS

The new GPS tracker is online!

To follow our progress in “near real time” go to the following URL:

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0xCzFkfSrt4NDE2lxYk2y5qghNC7jJba4

Save the link. You don’t want to hand enter it – believe me.

Today’s’ events at the Rendezvous –

Wait – before I get to the sessions, may I praise some folks. Jeff Trotman has been a trooper in the Ulysses area and here at the Rendezvous. Thanks Jeff. We’ve caught up with Faye Gaines whom you will meet in a couple weeks and others along the route who have been helpers with our little hike. Most are intrigued by the Trek event and truly wish us well.

1 – Boom Times for Freighting on the Santa Fe Trail (1848-1866). Craig Crease gave a numbers dense review of how the Army needed ever increasing ability to move materials and food throughout the southwest. Cultural changes occurred as ever larger freighting companies took control through government contracts and prices fell for moving supplies. Economic uncertainty and speculation resulted in some dramatic business failures during this period. (Echos of this week’s stock market, eh?)

2 – David Clappsaddle spoke about the eventual demise of freighting along the SFT as the railroad trailheads progressed further westward during the 1860’s and 1870’s. Consolidated freighting services eventually gave way to smaller, regional freighters who freighted what the trains couldn’t yet reach.

3 – Panel discussion with Q&A from the audience.

4 – Demonstrations of frontier freight wagons (circa 1840’s) at Fort Larned. On the parade square, we had a brand new, never before driven Army freight wagon drawn by a four-mule team. BEAUTIFUL! We had a “Pennsylvania Conestoga” style wagon capable of hauling 6,000-10,000 pounds of freight. This empty unit was drawn by just two very patient and beautiful red oxen. Finally, there was a passenger wagon pulled by a couple large draft horses (pardon, I don’t know the breed). It was the first time since they restored the fort that they’ve had freighting wagons and animals on the parade grounds. This truly was a historic event and all we participants were very pleased. Lots of great photos taken by your reporter. Special thanks to the National Parks Service and Santa Fe Trail Center staff members who made it all possible

5 – Dinner. Steak, potatoes, corn, salad, cherry pie, good conversations with interesting people.

We escape the mosquito infestation (lots of rain lately – EAST of the 100th meridian) and make our way back to the hotel to complete our blog update, pack for tomorrow’s return to the trailhead and hit the hay.

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