So, what is this Rendezvous thing all about? Well, its different things for different people. It started when Hollywood came out with movies like Jeremiah Johnson, The Mountain Man, A Man Called Horse, and tv series like Grizzly Adams, in the early to mid 70’s. It started with people getting muzzleloading (smoke poles), and shooting them for fun. Then as things progressed, people got into it deeper and deeper. Making or buying clothes and accoutrements to look more like the characters they watched on the big and small screen. Eventually buying period appropriate canvas tents, cooking utensils. Some folks got the bug to see just how authentic they could get, even going so far as to go on treks (foot, horse, canoe) to test their skills, to see if they could survive how their for fathers did, as they explored and discovered this continent from the east coast to the west coast.
Here is a Coles notes version of the fur trade. Essentially, after the new world was discovered in an effort to find a easier route to the Orient, to make is easier to bring spices and silk back you Europe. (Side note, beaver hats had been popular in Europe since the 1500’s, leading to the near extinction of the Eurasian beaver). After running into North America in their attempts to find a shortcut to their much sought after spices and silk, early explorers discovered that the beaver, almost literally, littered the landscape over here. This lead to the explosion of the fur trade in North America. As trapping grounds, were exhausted in the east, the fur companies, with the aid of their first nations allies pushed ever further west seeking new grounds to trap the precious fur bearing animal.
It should be noted however, as companies like the Hudson’s Bay, The North West Company, XY Company, Compangnie de la Nouvelle France and Compagnie de la Baie du Nord, pushed ever further westward, in the backs of their minds was still trying to find the fabled North West Passage, the sea route from Europe to Asia. Men like Simon Fraser, David Thompson, and Alexander Mackenzie were trying to find a route to the pacific. Soon it became a matter of trying to find a more efficient way to get all the pelts back to the European markets. 1793 marks the year the Alexander Mackenzie crossed the Rocky Mountains into BC and found the headwaters of the Fraser River, and proceeded to become the first white man to cross the continent from east to west, north of Mexico, and beat Lewis and Clark by 12 years.