This year continues to run at warp speed as we pass quickly through our summer. Here in Wyoming we value our summers as the Yellowstone Basin simply becomes Heaven. It goes without saying that 2021 has turned out be something other than your typical year.
I have no desire to rehash what seems to be in the news everyday. We are all well aware of how much COVID 19 has disrupted our lives in so many ways for the past two years. Let’s just say I hope the end is in sight and people can get back to their lives.
Two significant things took place this summer in our family, first my youngest Brynn got married to a great Wyoming Cowboy! Second I made the decision to retire from the Insurance Industry after 37 years and finally focus more on my passions. Building pipes, flutes, JHT Kitchen products and sharing photography of my home with others.
My First Bronze
One new beginning for me will be the start of my first bronze project. I have for years had this vision in my head for a clay model that will eventually be cast into a bronze. The image here should give you a hint… the Bison will be the main focus but the whimsical vision I have if successful will be like nothing you have seen before. Watch for future posts sharing this journey.
For those familiar with our website come back and visit from time to time and hopefully you will find something new. I will be working hard to add some newly hand crafted originals. Enjoy the rest of YOUR summer!
Who has not heard about the great adventure story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition? Early from 1804 – 1806, Sacajawea was an integral part of this expedition that led Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their exploration of the American West looking for a path to the Pacific Ocean. Sacajawea and her husband Toussaint Charbonneau played an important role in the success of this expedition – an expedition that led them right through this part of the country – the great Yellowstone basin. But this post is not about their story. It is the story of the resting place of Sacajawea – a once young Shoshone Indian girl who helped change history forever. A place that can be found just a few miles Southeast from Jackson Hole.
Although Sacajawea was reported to have died in 1812 she actually lived to be a very old women as told by Shoshone oral traditions. Long after the end of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Sacajawea eventually made her way west back to the Shoshone tribes and lived out her life in the area that is now Fort Washakie, Wyoming. Anyone who has traveled to or from Lander, Wyoming has gone right through Fort Washakie which is one of two main cities on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Fort Washakie was originally a U.S Army fort in what is now the state of Wyoming. The fort was established in 1869 and was originally named Camp Augur after General Christopher C. Augur, commander of the Department of Platte. In 1870 the camp was renamed Camp Brown in honor of Captain Frederick H. Brown who was killed in the Fetterman Massacre in 1866. 81 men under his command were killed by Lakota Sioux, Arapaho and Cheyenne warriors during what was known as Red Cloud’s War on the white man. It was renamed again in 1878 after Chief Washakie of the Shoshone tribe making the fort the only U.S military outpost named after a Native American. The fort remained a military outpost until 1909 when it was decommissioned and turned over to the Shoshone Indian Agency.
The graves of Chief Washakie and the Lewis and Clark Expedition guide Sacajawea are located on the grounds of the fort. This burial site lies within the present-day Wind River Indian Reservation. Our family has become very familiar with Fort Washakie as we travel through there several times a year to visit our daughter in Boulder Colorado. As you pass through the main intersection of Fort Washakie there is a small road sign that says “Sacajawea’s Grave Site”. We had passed this sign many times over many years but had never taken the time to stop and visit this very special place. This last trip it was different – we made the time to visit the resting place of this very important person in American History.
Fort Washakie is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Jackson Hole. A beautiful drive that takes you over Togwotee Pass, through the town of Dubois and across the Wind River Reservation. Just short of Lander Wyoming is Fort Washakie. I need to tell you that please do not expect something on the grandeur of the National Park Monuments we are all used to. Fort Washakie is a humble place that belongs now to the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes. The poverty you will experience on this majestic reservation is shocking and to be truthful something for all to be ashamed about.
Peyton, Brock, Brynn and I have visited several Powwows on this reservation and I can truthfully say these were some of the best days we have had in Wyoming. The Shoshone people are very inviting and I suggest that anyone who is in the area think about visiting one of their Powwows if you can. On this day though we stopped and made our way west of the main intersection, past the Powwow Grounds and along the west side of the Wind River (actual river) for several miles until we came to a very small, unassuming sign that simply says “Sacajawea Cemetery”. As you enter this very humble place two things stand out. No trees or shrubs landscape this place and the close proximity of each grave. Some graves date back to the mid 1800’s and all the way to the present.
I have to tell you that if you are a lover of history you need to visit this place. To stand at the foot of Sacajawea’s gravesite, her son Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau and her sisters son Bazil is quite an experience. This place, this humble grave site, this troubled reservation of the Shoshone people gives one a reason to pause and think… think about those who help lay the path before us, a path that had led to this day that my family stood at the foot of what was once a young Shoshone Indian woman who made an everlasting contribution to our American History.
We woke up again this morning to another beautiful fall day here in the Yellowstone basin! But this morning unlike many of the ones over the past few weeks was really cold. As we pulled from our driveway this morning on our way to drop Brynn off at school the temp gauge was reading 28 degrees. By the time we got across the Snake River it was 25 degrees and even colder north of town.
The Snake River looked pretty cool as there was steam coming off of the water and for that to happen the air temp must be colder than the water. Trust me, the Snake River is not something to wade in this time of year as the water temperatures have dropped quite a bit. Anyway we dropped Brynn off and headed to the coffee shop and then north of town again.
Now forgive us as our camera was acting up this morning but I think you will enjoy our little adventure. We were alone this morning and the animals were right next to our truck at every turn. We took our time and sat and watched the three moose in the pics for quite some time. They were eating the sage next to the road and for the most part ignored us. Been then they decided to check us out and we rolled away as they headed to us. Very cool!
All in all we saw antelope, buffalo, moose, geese and most certainly some spectacular views of the valley. On this morning we passed through Kelly, Wyoming, past the entrance to the Gros Ventre canyon, over to Antelope flats and Mormon Row and then home again. Another great way to share a cup of java!
A few years back my son Brock and I took a day trip to Bozeman Montana to meet some very dear friends from the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation located in Montana. Donovan Sr, is an Assiniboine Elder who trained me how to make traditional Native American Pipes, (but that is for another blog post) and Uncle Loren. The short version is we met Donovan Sr. and Uncle Loren (we call him “Uncs”) to pick up some sacred pipe stone and a couple of new pipes, just completed by Donovan Sr., to take back to Jackson Hole to be photographed. We also picked up some pipe stone for ourselves as well as exchange some pipe stems, ideas, and friendship! The day in Bozeman ended in what we call a “Good Trade” day.
Our trip started early on a Saturday morning, leaving Jackson Hole at around 8:00am. After getting our coffee and a couple of bagels we hit the road. When traveling through this part of the country, which is sooo amazing and in a single round trip of about 450 miles one can experience everything the Rockies has to throw at you. The weather this Fall day was awesome, skies were clear blue and the sun was shining bright, and the temperature was perfect when we left town. There are a couple of ways you can make your way to Bozeman from Jackson, one through Yellowstone Park’s south entrance or head through Idaho, back into Montana, north through the very northwest corner of the park and finally past Big Sky Montana as you make your way down the Gallatin River into Bozeman.
From Jackson to Bozeman is about 214 miles (one way) over some of the most beautiful roads you can travel. We chose to head west over Teton Pass and into Idaho, then north along the west side of the Teton Range. You first travel through beautiful rolling hills where much of the russet potatoes are grown in Idaho, not to mention double row barley (which Anheuser Bush buys for their beer) and after you make a turn east in Ashton Idaho you eventually end up in West Yellowstone.
For those who are not familiar with Yellowstone Park, there are 4 entrances to the park. Jackson Hole to the south, Gardiner at the north, the east entrance which leads to Cody, Wyoming and the west entrance which is West Yellowstone (it’s a town). Some of you may be familiar with West Yellowstone as some of the premier fly fishing rivers in the world are in the area. The Madison river, the Firehole, Henry’s Fork, the Buffalo, the Gallatin and many more. This is truly Lewis and Clark country.
From West Yellowstone you head north toward Bozeman and you travel though the very northwest part of Yellowstone Park and you quickly pass over the Madison River eventually picking up and following the Gallatin river all the way into Bozemen. One important note here is that you pass right through a part of the park that suffered from the big fire in 1988. It is awesome to see how nature has recovered. You pass Big Sky Montana Ski Resort and other beautiful scenery. This is one of the most beautiful stretches of road to drive at any time of the year.
Once in Bozemen we had our little pow wow with friends, stopped at a few stores and headed home. When we left Bozeman the clouds had started to gather. The weather from Jackson to Bozeman had been perfect! Clear skies, very dry roads, an easy drive. But things were about to change. We headed back up the Gallatin to West Yellowstone. This part of the trip is about 90 miles. As we pulled into West Yellowstone, Brock said “Dad why don’t we go home through the park”. I said sure let’s do it. It is important to note that this is about 4:45pm MST and it is getting darker. It is important because this is animal hour in the park.
We entered the park and headed towards the Old Faithful Geyser basin. This part of the trip from West Yellowstone to home in Jackson is about 130 miles. This is when things started to change. We first ran head on into a male buffalo that decided my truck was bigger than he was. So he mosied off the road and into the pasture that sat along the Madison river. He was the first of hundreds we were to run into this day of travels through the park. And on top of it, it was starting to rain. I quickly looked at my temperature gauge and saw that the temp has dropped drastically to 38 degrees. This was important because at 38 degrees and below it will start to snow if the conditions are right.
As we got closer to Old Faithful we saw elk, and big herds of buffalo and we drove along the banks of the Madison River, simply awesome. By the time we got to Old Faithful Geyser Basin the temperature was down to 36 and still raining. And it was now getting pretty dark. Clouded skis and looking even darker towards Jackson. Along this stretch of the road you travel along the banks of the Firehole river for part of the way and it gets it name from all the thermal activity that it passes through. An amazing sight to see in its own right.
This is an beautiful part of the park and we tried to take some pictures before the light got too low. Almost everywhere you look you see geysers, fumaroles, steam, hot pools, bubbling mud, trees, animals, – awesome! We decided to pull over to take a short break and just take in this beautiful valley. But we did not stay long as the temperature continued to drop and I said to Brock we are about to get snowed on. But the ferocity of the change was not expected.
We headed south towards home and as we got down the road about 5 miles the temp dropped to around 32 and I said to Brock here it comes. And come it did! It did not flurry a bit or start real light – it just started snowing. Now in this part of the country you will cross the Continental Divide many times. And we were heading for one of those crossings at an elevation of 8391 feet above sea level. One other thing to note here – the park was void of people as it was close to closing so we were basically on our own.
The snowflakes started to increase in size and the volume at which they fell was speeding up. The road quickly disappeared and became totally white. The snow was accumulating at a rate that I estimated at over an 1-2 inches per hour maybe even more at times. We put the truck into four-wheel drive as we were not going anywhere without it. Our speed dropped to about 25 miles per hour and we are crawling our way through Yellowstone park in the middle of a snow storm all alone. When we left Jackson it was sunny and clear. In Bozeman it was starting to cloud up but still relatively warm. West Yellowstone it started to rain and now we were surrounded in white.
Our final stop before it got real dark and we made the final trek home was the pass where we cross over the Continental Divide. We stopped and took this last picture here. We got out of our truck and it was completely quite. Snow was falling straight down and you could hear it hit the trees, your clothing, the truck. It was coming down so thick that it would fall right into your mouth. If you have never experienced the complete quite of the forest and to see snow falling straight down and building up in front of your eyes you have missed one of heaven’s real treats!!
The light faded fast and Brock and I decided that if we did not get moving we may be spending the night here as the snow was already over a foot deep on the road. We slowly made our way to the south entrance of the park and as the roads started to clear we made our way home to Jackson. You actually leave Yellowstone Park and then make your way through parts of Teton National Park before you get into the Jackson area.
This was an amazing day for Brock and I – we spent it together as father and son, we shared lunch with friends and they we got to see God’s hand on our Mother Earth. We were kissed by her this day and left with a memory I shall never forget! WE WERE TRULY BLESSED THIS DAY!
We just added a new sound clip to this recently completed Alaskan Yellow Cedar Raven Themed flute. This flute was completed for a customer recently and we wanted you to be able to hear how beautiful of a voice Alaskan Yellow Cedar can deliver.
This flute is now available for a new home… Click Here to visit this flute on our website. Also available for Commission – I can build one similar on a Commission Basis. I really like this flute but we can make it your own by adding your vision to the project. Let me hear from you if you like how it sounds … or not…
Listen to Sound Sample from this flute
This flute design is available for Commission so if you have interest please reach out to me at “firstname.lastname@example.org” or call (307) 690-0427.
It is clear that the weather is starting to change here in the Yellowstone Basin. Grizzly Bears are being sighted scrounging for food and the area is clearly starting to move from Winter into Spring mode. Days are longer and nights are getting shorter and warmer to boot.
People will start to plan their summer trips and for many Jackson Hole, Yellowstone and Cody Wyoming will be on the itinerary. If any of you travel through this area this coming Spring, Summer or Fall please reach out to me and come see some of my flutes , Native Pipe designs and jewelry here in my little shop.
I am located on the banks of the Snake River in the South Hoback Junction area in one of the most beautiful setting. Come see me at the end of the road and while you are here take a beautiful walk along the banks of the Snake River. And while you are here visit our Rodeo and see some spectacular cowboys ride into the night.
If you have interest please reach out to me via email or phone and set a time to stop by. I would love to meet with you and show you some of my art. I am working on a large number of flutes and pipes so don’t be surprised if you find something you like. Please contact me at “email@example.com” or by phone “(307) 690-0427” let’s get together – I would love to meet you.
This new six hole Native American Styled flute is hand crafted from Old Growth, 1st generation cut Black Locust from eastern slopes of the Colorado Rockies. Black Locust is a very hard domestic wood that many people consider junk wood but I like it. This flute measures 23 1/2″ long (measured on top) and features a 3/4″ inch bore give this F# a nice bright tone. The Slow Air Chamber (SAC) is 3 1/2″ in length with the blow-hole approximately 2 1/2″ in length giving this flute a longer aesthetic. Completely hand crafted and this flute features my signature step in front of the windway. Simple in design I have added our Otter fetish block which is crafted from a piece of Black Locust. Leather accents are hand cut Bison and is Dark Brown in color.
This flute like all of our flutes has been sealed on the inside of the flute to help against wetting out. This is a very easy flute to play and it allows you to blow soft or hard and not lose the sound. Tuned to F# at 440Hz at 6500 foot elevation, the 3/4 inch bore gives this flute a very bright voice.
The focusing channel on this flute is what I would consider a standard width and a proper depth providing some comfortable back pressure. I like playing this flute. If you are looking for a smaller bore flute that you will love to play consider adding this to your collection. Playing holes are average for this size flute and they are spaced a at approximately 1 1/8″ apart for the bottom 3 holes and 1 1/16 for the top three. There is a space of 1 1/4″ between the #3 and #4 holes . Ships with a protective flute bag.
Raven Themed Alaskan Yellow Cedar Key of E @ 440Hz
I have just about completed the crafting of this Raven Themed Flute. I believe this has turned out to be a beautiful Native American Styles Flute. This flute is hand crafted from Old Growth Alaskan Yellow Cedar and features a 1 inch bore and is tuned to the Key of E @ 440 Hz. The Wind Way area features a Black Walnut inlay for the cutting edge. The leather accents are hand cut from select Elk Hides including a leather piece that covers the #4 playing hole. The tassel is black Horse hair and is wrapped in traditional red trade cloth using black sinu. The beads are a combination of black and red glass Crow Beads and there are 4 sterling silver bead in between the Crow Beads.
Finally this flute features my signature hand cut step that steps down from the Wind Way area to the bore of the flute. All in all a very nice flute. This flute I believe has been spoken for but I would love to build one just for you. I would love to hear feedback on this piece.
Listen to Sound Sample from this flute
This flute design is available for commission so if you have interest please reach out to me at “firstname.lastname@example.org” or call (307) 690-0427.
In the past couple of day I received a phone call and was commissioned to craft a new Native Pipe that will be used later this year in a ceremony where the pipe is scheduled to be blessed at ceremony and given to a special recipient. The tribe who has commissioned this pipe is the Western Ojibway tribe from Ontario Canada. This is a real honor for me to have been selected by the elders to make this special pipe.
Many of you know that Peyton and I live in Jackson Hole most of the year and we now live south of Jackson Hole on the south side of the Snake River in an area call Hoback Junction. We are at the end of the road on 5 acres and the Snake River is about 100 yards to the north of our property.
This past weekend my wife headed into town for some errands an at the end of our driveway and along the Snake River there were two large male Bald Eagles sitting in some Cottonwood trees. She saw them immediately and stopped to watch them and they just looked at her as she got closer to them. They did not fly away like they normally will when approached. She stayed with them a few minutes and moved on.
When she told me this I knew I had to stop what I was doing and work on this pipe for as long as I could this weekend. I have been amazed at the progress as I have been able to completely rough out the design, I have attached the picture at the top of this post for you to look at. This looks to be a beautiful piece of stone and when all shaped it will carry the deep solid red color desired in a Catlinite Stone (als called Pipestone).
The Inspiration For This Commission
A few years ago I crafted a special pipe seen in the picture above. This pipe has never been smoked and it is stored with Sage inside the bowl. This pipe has a wonderful story behind it and it is one of my favorite pipes I have crafted. This very picture was found by some elders in the Ojibwa Nation and it was the genesis of the commission I am working on now. These types of projects are the absolute best to work on as they will in the end fill a very important role in someone’s life. I can only hope that my talents and craftsmanship will meet or even exceed their expectations.
I just wanted share the soon to be blessed stone as well as share a little of the story here. If you have questions or would like to reach out to me email me at “email@example.com” or give me a call at (307) 690-0427. Have a blessed day!