2013 On The Trail Of Lewis And Clark


Several years ago we read the Steven Ambrose book "Undaunted Courage", the story of the Lewis & Clark expedition to explore the almost unknown land west of the Mississippi River recently acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. At that time we put on our bucket list to someday follow the route of that expedition and see the land they explored. We decided this was the time to do that. We decided to not begin the journey in St. Louis because we had seen that part of the U. S. many times but we would begin in Council Bluffs, IA, follow the Missouri River north through South and North Dakota, west to Montana, and into Oregon. We followed the general course of the Missouri River with a couple of alterations. We decided not to go to the northern Montana area because the river is generally accessible only by raft but instead went to Billings, MT and followed the river from Three Forks north to Great Falls, from there to Missoula and crossed the Bitterroot Mountains at Lolo Pass.

Our daughter, Karen had come for a visit and when we told her of our plans she decided to rearrange her schedule and join us. We followed the expedition route as nearly as was practical but the river has changed course many times since and most of the original archaeological sites have been obliterated. There are a great number of museums, reconstructed sites, and parks along the route and we visited as many of them as we could given our time restraints. We also had a copy of "Undaunted Courage" on CD disks and we listened to the book as we drove along the route. Our only disappointment was after we arrived in Oregon the Government shut down closed all the dams and National Parks so we were unable to visit the reconstructed Ft. Clatsop near Astoria Oregon where the expedition spent the winter. At Portland Karen flew back to her Alameda CA home and we took three more days to drive back to Colorado. It was a memorial trip and we are so happy we could do it.



Celia Bell 2012