Pike’s last good day
Rock Ledge enacts, explains events 200 years ago

       Visitors to the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site Nov. 18 experienced a multi-sensory recreation of Army Lt. Zebulon Pike's last “good” encampment during his expedition to the West 200 years ago. ABOVE: An American Indian encampment was set up at
Rock Ledge Ranch Nov. 18 as it might have looked in
Zebulon Pike's time. 
BOTTOM LEFT: Volunteer Rex Rideout demonstrates a 
50-caliber flintlock rifle as part of activities at Rock Ledge
Ranch Historic Site Nov. 18 based on the encampment
exactly 200 years earlier of Lt. Zebulon Pike’s men during
their Western expedition. Dressed as Pike in a red 
head-scarf is ranch manager Andy Morris. Seated fiddle
player is Don Richmond.
BOTTOM RIGHT: Don Born, assisted by his son Caleb
(second from left), gives a presentation about buffalo hides
and how they might have been prepared and used on the
Pike expedition. A Peyton resident, Born said he works
with hides as a hobby.
Westside Pioneer photos
       This included tented camps representing those of both Pike and the area's indigenous Indians (including individuals dressed as they would have looked), musicians playing music from that era, demonstrations of a flintlock rifle, researched presentations on Pike and those times, tanned buffalo hides and fresh buffalo heads from the Westside's G&C Packing slaughterhouse.
       “We did it right out of Pike's journal on Nov. 18,” explained ranch manager Andy Morris. “That explains the buffalo involvement. His men had shot 17 buffalo that day. So they were sitting pretty and the weather was nice. It was the last of when things went well for him. After that, things got ugly, and he suffered a lot.”
       November 1806 also was when Pike first saw the peak that he would unsuccessfully attempt to scale and which would later bear his name. “His goal was simple: To climb to the top of this 'Grand Peak' to overlook the lands to the north, south, east and west in order to see the geography of the vast landscape he was exploring,” states a pamphlet about Pike that Rock Ledge gave to visitors. “Only then would he be able to ascertain the source of the rivers he was assigned to locate.”
       Pike has been de-scribed variously as a spy or a failure, but Morris said he believes he was a “duty-bound” soldier determined to carry out his mission despite being outfitted poorly (in comparison with the nearly simultaneous, more celebrated Lewis & Clark expedition).
       Morris estimated that about 350 people attended Rock Ledge's four-hour event. It was Rock Ledge's second reenactment this year commemorating the Pike expedition. The first was in January.

Westside Pioneer article