Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lewis and Clark Trail

When we left Yellowstone Park, I found myself driving north then west. This didn't seem like the right direction to get home. But, we were trying to experience a little bit of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. I've always been amazed at the courage and determination it took to venture into an unknown land with very little knowledge of where one was heading. However, we did feel a bit like Lewis and Clark as we weren't sure where we were heading or where we would find food. We were starving, hadn't eaten in a couple of hours, and had no idea where the nearest MacDonald's was. And yet, we persevered and did what any good explorer and adventurer would do to find food, we settled on Pizza Hut.

So, we visited a few places along their route. First, Great Falls, Mt is a place of importance for them. They were following the Missouri and had to take a few forks in the road so they weren't always sure they were on the right path. But when then hit the falls, which the Indians had told them about, they knew they had taken the correct course. What they didn't count on was 5 sets of falls that forced an 18 mile portage of all their boats and gear. Here are a couple of shots of falls (there are dams there now but they have kept the integrity of the falls)

The next spot we stopped at was Three Forks where we find the headwaters of the Missouri. In the photo at the right, the Madison River is on my right, the Jefferson River is behind me to form the Missouri on my left. They named the rivers, which previously had not been named, after the president and secretary of state. There wasn't much there but it was still great to stand in that spot

The last stop on this Lewis and Clark 101 tour is a place called Pompey's Pillar. It is a large rock formation along the Yellowstone River which Clark spotted on the return trip and named it after Sacagawea's son, Jean Baptiste Charboneau. Clark had nicknamed him Pomp which might be Shoshone for "little chief". This is the only spot on Lewis and Clark trail that has existing physical evidence of their presence at the spot. Clark carved his name into the rock with the date. See below, left.

OK, that concludes the lecture portion of this blog. But a great book on the subject is Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose. Some of you may have read it. I know Kim has.


  1. Tony and Judy,

    So much fun for you to share with us!!!

    Travel, art & art & art, friendships, adventures, expanding the mind & body & spirit, re-living history & living geography & geology & interesting plants/animals & meteorology, etc. etc. etc.

    WOW! We are so jealous! Enjoy!

    Safe travels,
    Maggie and Woodie

  2. Maggie and Woody,
    Thanks for your well-wishes. We are having a great time on our travels. Glad you are enjoying the travelogue.

  3. You know, Tony, you have a great writer's voice...maybe a sort of "Under the Arizona Sun" is in your future?


  4. Gee Kim, er thanks, um, that's nice. Ah, er, I mean, thanks.