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Mike Collins
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PostTue Dec 03, 2002 2:00 pm 
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Help Anyone...I am reading a biography of John Fremont and Kit Carson. In the book the author devotes a chapter to discussion of an illfated attempt by Fremont to cross the San Juan Mtns of Colorado in the winter. In quoting from a diary made during the hardship he states, "..we have run out of our last pair of burnt boots." It seems as if "burnt boots" were an actual type of boot which was worn. I always thought the peak of the same name in King Co was just a poetic expression of a cartographer. Does anyone know what type of boots "burnt boots" were?
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Sawyer
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PostTue Dec 03, 2002 7:03 pm 
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Interesting topic, Mike. I did an internet search and every "burntboot" reference was about the creek or peak you mentioned.

There was a reference of old time Oregon sayings: Full of pep: "I'm up and acomin' like a burnt boot." Also several references to "ugly as a burnt boot" and for burnt boots against pipes on motorcycles. Another "as insensible as a burnt boot" from E.G. White's Temperance. As "hot as a burnt boot", drier than a burnt boot, hotter'na burnt boot.

Hmmm, not sure if this helps or not. It doesn't get THAT hot or dry there?
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Hot Foot
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PostTue Dec 03, 2002 9:00 pm 
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Harry Majors, in Exploring Washington (1975), retells John Guye's (son of the Guye Peak guy) story of the naming of Burnt Boot Creek:

Revington, a prospector, was up in that country about 1888-89, trying to cross from the Middle Fork Snoqualmie to the South Fork Road.  He camped near the mouth of a creek.  It was a wet day, so he put up by a tree, built a fire, and went to sleep.  The fire spread into the surrounding fir needles and burned up his boots, and nearly consumed him before he woke up.  He wrapped his feet in blankets and gunny sacks and walked out to the South Fork.
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Mike Collins
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PostTue Dec 03, 2002 9:48 pm 
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I appreciate the replies. There are several dictionaries in print for expressions of the "Old West." I might buy one of these from Amazon or see if there is one at the bookstore I can use for reference.  I enjoy word etymology and once corresponded with an Oxford Dictionary editor about an obscure word I read in a book from 1855 on Arctic Exploration. Oxford is now only open to subscribers and that conduit is closed. They have an incredible data base available for their use.
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McPilchuck
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PostThu Dec 05, 2002 9:02 pm 
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Burnt Boots is an expression used in a hunger situation when mountain men were starving...they actually ate there own leather boots...not the first time its been done throughout history either.  I suspect however, that Burnt Boot Creek got its name from someone having his feet/boots to close to the fire.  Most all of the lake names in the high country of that area came from early Trail Blazer Club members, some of which are still living in their 80s now.

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in the granite high-wild alpine land . . .
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lopper
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PostThu Dec 05, 2002 9:27 pm 
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I like the sound of that Revington the prospector story.  Hiking from the MFK up and over to the SFK with gunnysacks and blanket scraps on one's feet would be a neat trick.

I wonder if he padded up and over Red Pass, or did the Rock Creek/Snow Lake thing.  Either way, it is a great scenario.  Food for thought on my next (several) trip(s) up there.

Today, in our wimpy, high-tech era, the least we can do is clip out the Goldmyer/Red Pass CCT switchbacks, don't you think?
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Mike Collins
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PostFri Dec 06, 2002 7:46 am 
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McPilchuck...Thanks for sharing your insight. Further on in the book there is corraboration with what you mentioned. In quoting from a survivor's account, "We began eating the rawhide tugropes and parfleches (leather wraps for carrying) cutting it into strips and boiling it to a sort of glue, or burning it on the coals until it was soft enough to bite." Their feet became frostbitten and they wrapped their feet in the blankets. The boots were kept however for emergency rations. The survivor writes, "That very night one of them was nicely browned over the fire." He further states, "To the best of my recollection we lived for eight days on our boots, belts, and knife scabbards." One of the men found some dry wolf bones which they crushed and added to the miserable soup.
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McPilchuck
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PostFri Dec 06, 2002 10:23 am 
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Anything to survive on sometimes...

Speaking of Burnt Boot Creek:  I once had the pleasure in July 1980 of a pretty nasty bushwack up Burnt Boot Creek from Goldmeyer (grin)  then up the steep outlet of Edds Lake and onward to BumbleBee Pass and out the Crest Trail to Snoqualmie Pass...where Martin Jensen and I then had cocktails and dinner at the lodge.  Martin made a pass at the waitress and lo and behold he got a date with her in a few days...but that's another story (another grin).

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www.alpinequest.com
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#19
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PostFri Dec 06, 2002 11:52 am 
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Interesting that the expression came from having cooked boot for dinner.

Seems like I remember from The SEATTLE PRESS EXPEDITION of 1889 that some of them had to resort to boiled boot to stay alive.
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