July 20 -- Great Falls to Missoula - On June 13, 1805,
Capt. Lewis left camp in search of the great falls of the
Missouri. After traveling some six miles, he discovered an eighty
foot high waterfall giving him a view of "...the grandest sight I
had ever beheld." The next day, Lewis continued upstream and
discovered four more cataracts. We have explored the same stretch
of river, and the falls are no longer falling. Due to an extended
drought and the requirements of the water powered generators on the
sites, only a trickle of water now flows over the rocky river
bottom. Black Eagle Falls just feeds a generator, Colter Falls is
submerged, Rainbow Falls just feeds a generator, Crooked Falls is dry
and Great Falls just feeds a generator. The roaring waters roar no
From Maje Wasch - In
Great Falls yesterday, during our "down time", each of us had
special destinations. A few went to the Malstrom AFB, some did laundry,
others went to Wal-Mart shopping, but I , along with others, went to the
CM Russell Museum Complex. A visit to Russell's log cabin studio made it
possible for us to "see him at work." His home was small -
nice furnishings - a table set as if he were expecting guests - a
piano in the living room, and comfortable chairs. Upstairs in his
bedroom there was a unique buffalo horn chair. the museum itself is a
treasure! Very commodious with cases containing small bronzes of bears,
antelope, and cowboys - in addition to his many paintings. Even his
funeral hearse is on display, which was drawn by a pair of horses since
he hated automobiles.
Today a special trek was
had by all visiting the Great Falls Interpretive Center. Each center
seems to surpass the previous one. Seeing the display of the men hauling
the canoes up from Belt Creek (the expedition's Portage Creek), visually
impressed on our minds the difficulty of the task.
We were also greeted by
"Wilson", a black lab resembling Lewis's dog, Seaman. the introductory
film by Ken Burns made it all come alive. Walking through
the exhibits with their excellent descriptions and dioramas made all our
readings and lectures come together.
Driving through the pine
treed continental divide was just beautiful! Another great day on our
Lewis & Clark journey. To cap the day we had an excellent impersonation
of William Clark by Ritchie Doyle, dressed in the uniform of the day. Maje Wasch
July 21, 2001 - We have had so many highlights as we've followed the
Corps of Discovery trail of Lewis and Clark. As we left Great Falls, MT
we viewed the five falls and learned how they portaged around them and
across the plains. On to Missoula, MT through the beautiful mountain
ranges and crossing the Continental Divide at Rogers Pass. A rest stop
at Lincoln, MT at a Western Trade Post, which was within a few miles of
the una-bomber's cabin. at Missoula we had a most memorable evening with
an actor portraying William Clark dressed as a Brigadier General 20
years after the expedition. He gave us a wonderful insight into William
Clark, the person. OJ Thompto
Tom Laidlaw - At Canoe Camp someone asked: How many men were in each
canoe. I said: "Why don't we find out?" Looks like nine, but
there is not much room for our luggage. Some of us need a canoe just for
our own bags.
Maje Wasch - After several days of driving through magnificent
scenery we do indeed owe Thomas Jefferson a debt of gratitude for the
purchase of the Louisiana Territory, and for initiating and sponsoring
the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Since I am in awe of what we've seen
these words come to mind:
the mountains, to the prairies,
to the oceans white with foam
God Bless America, my Home Sweet Home."
Betsy Miller: I arrived at the Best Inn on Friday afternoon, 7/20,
to find the bus already there and Phil ‘Smooth Rider’ unloading
luggage as the group onboard received room keys and schedule reminders
from Don ‘Grizz’ and local host Lorraine. I am always amazed at how
efficiently 44 individuals can disembark, gather up luggage, and head to
their respective rooms, all the while keeping up conversations and
friendly banter! I wonder
how the Corps of Discovery would handle this part of the journey?
spite of their long day of travel and a minor epidemic of sore throats
and stuffed-up noses the Elderhostelers seemed full of energy and gave
me and my canine traveling companion, Abbey, a warm welcome. The
enthusiasm generated by Tom ‘Keeper of the Keys’ and his creative
touches buoys everyone along.
evening we were treated to the fascinating remarks and remembrances of
Captain Clark, presented in first person by local Lewis and Clark Trail
Heritage Foundation chapter member Ritchie Doyle. Today I followed the
big bus into the Bitterroot Mountains, along Highway 12, which must be
one of the most beautiful stretches of road anywhere.
Kent Watson, a
local instructor, led us to several key Lewis and Clark sites –
Travelers Rest and Packer Meadows among them. The wide open expanse of
green at the latter stop, at the summit of Lolo Pass, was breathtaking!
also had a chance to walk on a portion of the Road to the Buffalo, used
by the Nez Perce for generations and followed by Lewis and Clark in
1805. Apart from one mishap involving a camera bag and a wasps’ nest
the hike was enjoyable and imparted a sense of the terrain and an
accompanying respect for the Corps and their horses!
And we didn’t have snow to contend with!
dry hills of the Clearwater and Snake River country of western Idaho and
eastern Washington are a stark contrast to the thick green cedar and fir
forests along the Lochsa. Tomorrow
the group will continue on to The Dalles, and I will return to the urban
bustle of Portland. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to travel a leg
of the journey and thank the members of this July 2001 Corps of
Rediscovery and their leaders, Don and Tom, and driver, Phil, for their
warm welcome and for letting me share some of their experiences.
‘Jefferson’ Miller ok
July 23, 2001 - Just like William Clark's writing desk was smashed
to pieces on the Lolo trail, my computer battery went dead
yesterday so there was no report. It was a particularly enjoyable day,
as it brought us to the beautifully scenic Columbia Gorge. We saw many
amazing features, such as the Wallula Gap, Twin Sisters, and Hat Rock,
which was mentioned by Lewis and Clark. Capping off the day was a
delightful visit to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles.
morning the Elderhostel Program Coordinator Betsy Miller, met us on the
road with a new battery, so I can now continue the website.
joy in camp! Ocean in view. This great Pacific Ocean we have been so
long anxious to see."
(Nov. 7, 1805). Wrong! They were still 25 miles
from the sea when these words were written, and the indomitable Rex Ziak
told us "The Rest of the Story." After covering more than 500
miles from the Canoe Camp in on month, it took the Corps of discovery
another month to manage the last 25 miles. High winds, rain, hail, and
tides kept the party wet and miserable until they finally established
Fort Clatsop on Dec. 7, where they sent the next 3 months. Tom
July 24, 2001 - Our mission has been accomplished. We have brought
our flag and our people from one end to the other of the Lewis and Clark
Trail and tomorrow, like their returning party, we will split up to go
our separate ways. It has been a magic and fruitful experience for the
entire crew. We have made many new friends and the bus was filled with
laughter, but the learning kept pace with the merriment. We have all learned from each other, but I
think I gained more than I gave. As the song says: "If you
become a teacher by your pupils you'll be taught."
It is so wonderfully true. The challenging questions sent me to the
books many times and provoked discussion among all of us. Here's Ann
Danchak at Fort Clatsop and today's
website article is:
Lew Miller- Here’s a change of
pace from the historical aspects of our trip.
The organizers of our journey West have done their best to make
sure we never suffered any hunger pangs.
Food was always plentiful during the meals and was supplemented
with snacks in mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
Some meals were good, some were so-so, and every once in a while
we had a real gem. An
example of the latter was our lunch break at Fort Columbia, Washington.
It was a cool and windy afternoon when we arrived, and the people
from Ocean Park Retreat Center, who catered the lunch, greeted us with
sparkling cider served in champagne glasses and a lovely buffet.
After gathering at the top of the battlements, we were treated to
one of the best bowls of salmon bisque that I can remember.
At dinner that evening at the Retreat, I asked the executive chef
if she would consider sharing the recipe with us so that we could put it
on this web site, and she agreed to do so.
Therefore, with the kind permission of Ms. Peggy Fuller of the
Ocean Park Retreat Center in Ocean Park, Washington, here is the recipe:
1 can Salmon (16 oz.), drained and flaked
2 T chopped onion
2 T chopped celery
¼ cup butter
1 qt half and half
In a 2 or 3-quart pot,
cook onion and celery in butter until tender.
Add half and half. Stir in flaked salmon and heat but do not
boil. Add salt and pepper
to taste. Serve with crusty
bread or oyster crackers.
July 25 - (Astoria to Portland) Today is the day we say goodbye to
our new friends. Other than a few announcements the bus was pretty
silent as everyone slipped into their own thoughts. Jeanne Rubin began
singing "Now is the Hour, and all joined in, almost spiritually.
Strangely, it seems no pictures were taken, except in our hearts. As the
bags were unloaded, hugs were exchanged all around and then all went to
their separate ways. At least one of the party, like Lewis and Clark,
did return to St. Louis.
From the Swiss Chief (Don Rosselet) at journey's end -- From the
beginning of our trip, we knew what Lewis and Clark could only have suspected: that there is no Northwest Passage by water from the Mississippi
River in the heartland to the Pacific Ocean in the Northwest. Lewis and
Clark, aware that they were proceeding upstream against the eastward-flowing
Missouri and knowing from traders' and other explorers' reports that there
was a westward flowing river from the mountains beyond the territory of the
Louisiana Purchase to the sea, must have realized that the best they could
hope for was an easy portage from one river to the other.
They didn't even find that. As we rolled by motorcoach across westernmost Montana and faced
those formidable mountains topped by the Continental Divide, it became abundantly clear why the 1804-06 Corps of Discovery expedition had such a
difficult journey over land as well as water. In the Great Falls area, we
observed the five water falls that brought an end to Lewis and Clark's journey on the Missouri and forced a strenuous 18-mile portage that took 11
days before the party could return with their supplies to navigable water.
And afterward, more than 150 miles south of Great Falls, the party simply ran
out of water near Three Forks, where the streams they named the Jefferson,
Madison and Gallatin fed the Missouri. The Missouri River, from where it empties into the Mississippi, runs
generally northwesterly until Montana, where the river arches to the south.
By continuing to follow the Missouri and its tributary, the Jefferson, Lewis
and Clark went far away from their intended goal. Consequently, and burdened
by hundreds of pounds of equipment, they had to execute a U-turn and trudge
several hundred miles back north, looking for a passage to the west through
the towering and tree-filled mountains they called the Bitteroots. That
route -- 5,235-foot Lolo Pass -- they discovered west of Missoula. We crossed
he Continental Divide by motorcoach at the 5,610-foot Rogers Pass, halfway
between Great Falls and Missoula. Once into what is now Idaho, Lewis and
Clark discovered what we now know as the Clearwater River (although they
referred to it as the Columbia), which flowed into the Snake River (which
they thought was also part of the Columbia), and eventually reached the true
Columbia.But even with the westward-flowing waters, the journey continued to be
difficult -- with the rivers flowing through narrow canyons and over scores
of rapids. It's hard to describe the rugged landscape through which Lewis
and Clark and their doughty corps had to travel on the last half of the journey. You have to be there, even in the comfort of a motorcoach, to truly
appreciate the obstacles these men -- and one woman, the Indian
Sacagewea, bearing a newborn child, Jean Baptiste -- encountered and overcame as the
infant nation of 17 states began its westward growth. Surely, it's one of the great stories of America.