The action packed day at Fort Bridger seems to take a deep breath just before dark. Trader’s row shuts down one by one, those out of period dress retire to their own homes, and the camp takes a few relaxing minutes to eat and reflect on the memories. Then, the camp seems to get its second wind. The warm day gives way to a cool night. Camp fires, capotes, and lanterns set the stage for the evening. Fort Bridger does not allow anyone on the fort that is not in period dress which adds to the authenticity of the event.
Night time is one of my most favorite times at Fort Bridger. As I walk through camp, the kids are playing night games, teepees are lit up like huge candle lights, and dozens of small camp fires are tended by families and friends. Stories, laughter, and guitars are the norm. It does a heart good to just wander around and soak it all in.
For those who have more energy, the buck skinners ball is the big attraction. This event gets bigger each year and has a draw that must be experienced to get the full effect. Even if you are not a dancer, just watching every one of all ages having such a good time gives a person a warm and satisfying feeling.
Within a few hours, sleep wins and the only life stirring is the roaming volunteer Dog Soldiers keeping a vigilant eye on the security of the camp. It is uncanny how thousands of people in the biggest campout in Wyoming can fall to such a silent calm.
Night time at Bridger takes on a completely different life which adds to the most fantastic event of its kind. It will be many months before next Labor Day, but for many of us, remembering the great times at Bridger throughout the year makes the experience so much more than a weekend gathering.