Journal of A New Nation's Journey West
Portage to the Pacific
 
Sept. 20 - 30, 2006

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Sept. 23, 2006
Great Falls, Montana to Helena, Montana
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On this day 200 years ago, Lewis and Clark arrived back in St. Louis to great acclamation.

Today included a visit to a buffalo jump, the Gates of the Mountains,  Montana Historical Museum and the Capitol at Helena, where they always let us fly our 15-star, 15-stripe L & C flag.


Local historian George Dean tells about the life and times of the Capitol building.
Lovely boat trip today (9/23), through the "Gates of the Rocky Mountains." This is a very interesting and fun trip. Montana is a different kind of place than we have ever been. A huge amount of space. almost no fences; they wouldn't be worth the investment. People have a very independent spirit; while the state is very large, the small population gives everything a homey feel. Steve and Nancy Bickham

Ulm Pishkun, where the Indians would run buffalo off the cliff and butcher them for food. Read Meriwether Lewis's journal entry about this operation.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday May 29th, 1805 [Lewis]

Today we passed on the Stard. side the remains of a vast many mangled carcases of Buflalow which had been driven over a precipice of 120 feet by the Indians and perished; the water appeared to have washed away a part of this immence pile of slaughter and still their remained the fragnients of at least a hundred carcases they created a most horrid stench. in this manner the Indians of the Missouri distroy vast herds of huffaloe at a stroke; for this purpose one of the most active and fleet young men is scelected and (being) disguised in a robe of buffaloe skin, having also the skin of the buffaloe’s head with the years and horns fas­tened on his head in form of a cap, thus caparisoned he places himself at a convenient distance between a herd of buffaloe and a precipice proper for the purpose, which happens in many places on this river for miles together; the other indians now surround the herd on the back and flanks and at a signal agreed on all shew themselves at the same time moving forward towards the buffaloe; the disguised indian or decoy has taken care to place himself sufficiently nigh the buffaloe to be noticed by them when they take to flight and runing before them they follow him in full speede to the precepice, the cattle behind driving those in front over and seeing them go do not look or hesitate about following untill the whole are precipitated down the precepice forming one common mass of dead an mangled carcases; the (Indian) decoy in the mean time has taken care to secure himself in some cranney or crivice of the cliff which he had pre­viously prepared for that purpose. the part of the decoy I am informed is extreamly dangerous, if they are not very fleet runners the buffaloe tread them under foot and crush them to death, and sometimes drive them over the precepice also, where they perish in common with the buffaloe.

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