Mountain Men and Life in the Rocky

Subject Guide


Mountain West

Malachite’s Big Hole

Drinker Hunts "Porcupine"

Drinker [a greenhorn] was one of Lewis Garrard's companions while on the Santa Fe Trail from Westport to Bent's Fort in September of 1846.  The train hadn't yet reached buffalo country and food supplies were running low and men were out hunting for anything that moved to supplement their dwindling supplies.  Here is Garrard's description of the event (Wah-To-Ya and the Taos Trail):

"In beating through a bottom for game, overgrown with high weeds, grass, and covered with fallen trees, Drinker, who was a short distance from the rest of us, shouted, "Here is a porcupine."  The porcupine gave unmistakable evidence to our nasal organs of its being a "polecat," and "David" (Mr. Folger's mule) carried from the field of sanguinary conflict that which rendered his proximity anything but agreeable-even the rider did not escape scatheless, much to the amusement and feigned abhorrence of the jovially-inclined camp."  

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