Here they evidently held a general council of war. There probably was some diversity of opinion, as many speeches were made and the council was protracted for several hours. There was manifestly no enthusiasm on the occasion, and no exultant shouts were heard. At the conclusion of the council, the whole band divided into two parties and, in divergent directions, disappeared from view. After this the trappers were not again disturbed by the Indians. Indeed they feared no molestation. No Indian band would think of attacking a fortress which a thousand warriors had declared impregnable.
As soon as the returning spring would permit, the trappers broke up their encampment on the Yellowstone, and passing directly west through the very heart of the Blackfeet country, planted their traps on the head waters of the Missouri river. For three months they traversed many of the tributaries of this most majestic of streams. They were moderately successful, and in the early summer turned their steps south, crossing the mountains to dispose of their furs at the Rendezvous, which was again held on Green river. Here they remained in such social enjoyment as the great festival could afford them, until the month of August, when the Rendezvous was dissolved.
The Trapper’s Elysium.
Trapping on the Missouri.—Attacked by the Blackfeet.—The Battle.—Persevering Hostility of the Indians.—The Trappers driven from the Country.—Repair to the North Fork.—Cheerful Encampments.—Enchanting Scene.—Village of the Flatheads.—The Blessings of Peace.—Carson’s Knowledge of Languages.—Pleasant Winter Quarters on the Big Snake River.—Successful Trapping.—Winter at Brown’s Hole.—Trip to Fort Bent.—Peculiar Characters.—Williams and Mitchel.—Hunter at Fort Bent.—Marriage.—Visit to the States.
Upon the breaking up of the rendezvous at Green river, Kit Carson, with five companions, directed his steps in a northwest course, about two hundred miles to Fort Hall, on Snake river. He spent the autumnal months trapping along the various streams in this region. They were very successful on this tour, and at the close of the season returned to the fort with a rich supply of furs. These forts were generally trading-houses, well fortified and garrisoned, but not governmental military posts.
Here Carson disposed of his furs to good advantage, and after remaining there about a month he crossed the mountains with a large party of trappers to the head waters of the Missouri, thus again entering the country of the Blackfeet. They struck the Missouri river itself far up among the mountains. They commenced setting their traps on this stream. Slowly they followed up the banks, gathering in the morning what they had taken through the night.