BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
BOUNTIFUL – Mountain men and women had a day-long rendezvous at Oak Hills Elementary last week.
Though somewhat younger than the mountain men known to history, fourth graders from the classes of Jerilee Jones and Susan Damm embraced both the clothing and the lifestyle of the frontiersmen.
Sporting coon-skin caps, vests and boots, the classmates got a chance to experience a little bit of what the untamed west may have been like 150 years ago or more.
“They had to hunt for food,” said Sean Madsen, a student. “They couldn’t go to Walmart. And there were a lot more wild animals then.”
Other differences, he said, were that there were no video games or iPhones and no cars С only, eventually, trains.
“I learned about the mountain men’s guns and stuff and how they hunt,” he said. “And I learned that catching fish with your hands is pretty hard.”
Catching fish with their hands was one of the challenges students took on during the day-long event, according to Jones, who organized the activities.
Fish were eventually caught, gutted and put in a cooler for students to take home for dinner.
The day also included archery, pony riding, a close-up look at a teepee, making butter, learning the Deseret alphabet, panning for gold, learning to use sling shots and square dancing.
It ended with frontier games and a pie-eating contest.
“This is the best day of their lives,” said Jones. She credited 40 parent volunteers for helping make it happen.
The event was the culmination of a year-long study of Utah history and an opportunity to make history come alive.
Life between 1850 and 1870, said Madsen at the end of the day, would have been “fun and hard.”