These are some pictures from last year’s expedition, specifically at Martin’s Station near the Cumberland Gap. I am smiling because this day was a dream come true for me. It all happened in May of 2016. I am now getting ready for another historic ride in Kentucky, crossing the Licking River, south of Maysville, Ky.

Mark Sage at Martin’s Station, VA


Getting ready to ride over the gap

With good friend John Hayes

In the Indian encampment at Martin’s Station

On Indian Creek near Martin’s Station

On this day, it felt like history really came alive

Cane Ridge Meeting House


The Cane Ridge Meeting house pictured here is a modern building covering the original log building where one of the greatest Christian revivals occurred.  Those revivals are referred to as America’s Second Great Awakening.

That Awakening had a long range affect on our young America.  Recently, I spoke there, in that church–what a privilege!  To find out more about the Second Great Awakening, go to the Articles section on this website and look for the article titled “Incident at Red River”.  The picture in this post was taken off a thank you card signed by the Board of Trustees of the historic site.

Snowshoe Repairs

Summer is a great time to make repairs on snowshoes.  The other day, I took three of mine, all handmade and applied a couple of coats of marine spar varnish to the both the frames and the webbing.  In the old days, Indians did not treat their snowshoes, but treating them does help prolong them.  For instance, the pair leaning against the fence were made in the late sixties and I still use them.  I will also make some repairs and modifications to the bindings.  I do not use modern bindings.  The ones I use I make, are simple, based on various Native designs, and work very well.

A pair of modern “bear paw” snowshoes.

A pair of Ojibway snowshoes.  I built these in the mid-nineties and have put hundreds of miles on them over the years and of course some repairs.





An early French Indian trade gun

Note the markings stamped on the lock face: A. Tvlle in front of the cock mechanism and L V at the tail end of the lock flat.  These pictures were taken last February at the Lake Cumberland Gun Show.  Note in the last image that at one time a rear sight had been added to this smoothbore.






Speaking at Cane Ridge near Paris, Kentucky

In the early part of the nineteenth century there was a huge frontier revival at a place that was known as Cane Ridge.  Multiple thousands of people camped out and listened to the Word of God being preached and many lives were changed.  The revival lasted well over twenty years.  I recently  had the privilege to speak there recently on the faith of Daniel Boone.  What a nice group of people and I think things went well.  Boone was the one that originally suggested the place for the church that was built there.

I got a nice note later that read, 

“Dear Mark, According to all reports Cane Ridge Day was a great success.  Thanks for stepping up to the plate at the last minute to help make it so!”



Speaking at a private school

Recently I spoke at a local private school called Explorations Homes school Co-op)about the Great Lakes Fur Trade.  We had a great time!  I brought a lot of visual aids and things that the kids could actually handle.  I am thankful for the opportunity.  Later, I received a very nice thank you card later that said,

“Dear Mark, Thanks you again for coming and teaching our kids!  They had so much fun!  I hope you consider doing it again!”

iIt was signed by all the teachers present!









Joy is seeing young people smiling!!

Working with artists:

Sometimes, artists ask if they can paint an image of me from a photo.  I smile and say yes, but can never figure out exactly why.  Still, I feel honored when that occurs.  There are two images here.  The first is a recent painting by H. David Wright  (titled: MOVEMENT ON THE FAR BANK) and the second one by Steve White which was featured on the cover of Backwoodsman magazine.  The Great Lakes Fur Trade and birch bark canoes have been an important and interesting area I have investigated in both study and field experience.  I have taken a number of trips in my 17 foot birch bark canoe over the past 30 years, including a 7-day trip on the Mississippi River.  These painting are from photos taken on those various trips



Birchbark is a wonderful medium to work with. Here are three recent projects I completed.  I can see why native people found birchbark so useful.  It is readily available here in the North Country, has strength and can be molded and bended (to an extent).  Black spruce root is also readily available for sewing the bark together.  Birchbark is also comes from a renewable resource and is replaceable.  I hope to do more in the future.


A neck knife–the chord is adjustable and woven from

three different color strands of hemp.


A simple bark container, sewn together with black spruce root.





I spent an enjoyable couple of hours in the woods this afternoon harvesting birchbark for some upcoming projects–hopefully not repairing my canoe. At this time of the year, the bark can be removed easily. Removing the bark does not kill the tree. Birchbark is a remarkable material to make containers with. I probably should have been out mowing, but sometimes we have to make time to do the things we love and have meaning for us.
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