Lewis and Clark Trail, 8 yrs of it...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LewisNClark, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. SteveTheLocal

    SteveTheLocal Been here awhile Supporter

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    Also...the L&C Caverns? Did they actual set foot in them?
  2. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    It's all assumption on my part...but at Lost Trail Pass after they left Pyramid Rocks, Clark's pack horse fell down a ravine and broke their last thermometer...so temperatures are a guess when water froze in their cooking kettles.

    Based on weather history and altitude the temperature at the ridge thru LOLO Pass was probably way below 0 most of the time. Not mentioned in their Journals but they went 6 or 8 months, at least, with nothing but washing their hands...

    On the 8th day of the LOLO Lewis' main party was eating bear fat or lard (what they saved in jugs to make candles), and also ate their candles (already made from bear and elk fat). Picture of Bear Fat and roots camp about 4 pages back. Roots eaten were flower roots that they all hated since they were so bitter....Sacajawea liked them....bitter roots, thus the name of the mountains , Bitterroots Mountains.

    What is known is that they hit 4 feet of snow just after passing WENDOVER Ridge. I have not hiked to it but the only water found in 13 days was at the Clark Sinque Hole campsite...a 2 mile hike off of FR500. Sinque Hole was a 20'x20' big hole full of water. Only other water was what they melted over a campfire at the end of the day, but most of this melted water was for their 50+- horses.
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  3. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    They did not meet any Indians in Montana to tell them about the cave until they reached southern Montana (down by Dillon and Beaverhead) and so they never knew about the caverns. They were discovered by two local guys from nearby Whitehall, MT in 1882, 75 years after L&C passed by them.
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  4. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Syphillis started at Fort Mandan. Most believe it came to them from the British, French, and/or Canadians that were visiting the Mandan to trade for furs. On the Columbia River they probably also got it from the British traders coming in on trade ships. Sex was for fun and biological needs...but rarely traded for by the L & C troops. Clark's manservant York was probably the most active sexually....Indian women were facinating with him everywhere they traveled.

    Pretty amazing words in their Journals: Lewis wrote that he could diagnose syphillis on the Chinook women squaws when they approach their camp at Fort Clapstop (in Astoria, Oregon). The reason was the Chinook women wore nothing below the waist...basically just 200 yrs ago native primitive people were walking around North America "necked". The "necked" women started at the Shoshoni. (Dillon, MT) and continued on to the Pacific.....They only wore clothes (FURS) in brutal cold winter weather.

    Both L & C wrote that the poor Shoshoni were the dirtiest people they encountered on their entire travels... exemplified when three hunters brought in 2 deer for the starving Shoshoni.....and as the three hunters were gutting the deer, the Shosoni were fighting over and eating the raw intestines as they fell to the ground.....

    Cure for syphillis: Not described in their journals but with no penicillin discovered yet, everything infected was cured with red hot metal. There are pictures back on the 1st or 2nd page of medical tools in this RR. Lewis or Clark (they probably tossed a Jefferson coin to see who lost) placed a wire in a campfire. Inserted a small metal straw up a soldiers penis like a catheter, they inserted the hot wire up the metal straw....they jerked the straw out leaving the red hot wire to cauterize the infected blood vessels....don't know if it cured syphillis but this is how Dr Rush taught Lewis how to cure syphillis. Thank you Captain Lewis, but I'll wait for Mr Pasteur's invention.

    Sacajawea almost died at the Great Falls....Clark worked on her day and night for at least a week thinking she would die any day. Lewis, much more medically savy than Clark, looked at her and immediately diagnosed syphillis or another venerial disease and chastised her husband Charbonneau for giving her, a 13 or 14 yr old, the venerial disease. After 3 weeks Sacajawea gradually recovered....but may have died in 1809 from a venerial disease.

    It is a pretty sure thing that ALL member of the L & C Expedition returned home with syphillis.
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  5. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks for Tagging along on the RR.

    Colter and. Boone lived across the river from each other and Boone was familiar with a number of L & C soldiers. He was probably living at his farm when they returned in 1806......

    Tavern Cave is (was) really hard to find since so many books said it was on the other side of the river but the river changed course during the big earthquake putting the cave on the other side of the Missouri apparently. All seriousness, getting to Tavern Cave is dangerous....walk gingerly across that tressel...it was barely standing 2 yrs ago when I tip-toed across it....several cross ties are totally rotten....there is bear scat/poop all up and down the RR tracks....so has to be a heavy black bear population. (Do I have your attention yet). Seriously tell someone to email me on how to find you if you don't make it home for supper.

    Find the Post Office and follow the rail road tracks RIGHT for 2 miles, watch for the overhanging rock way up ON top, as soon as you see the rock ledge go up the hillside on the right up to the steep woods on the right for about another 1/2 mile....will probably need a flashlight in the cave.

    FYI you will be trespassing on Rail Road property but this was one of only a few places that I could not pass up....without permission, so mysterious and historical.

    Please post pictures here!!!!
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  6. nix046

    nix046 Adventurer

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    Thanks for your illuminating report. I have often admired L & C for their fearless plunge into the unknown. Your report is a refreshing change from the grammatically riddled usual fare.

    Brent
  7. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks for the complement....
    I've read "Undaunted Courage", the real journals, and most important U of Nebraska professor Dr Gary Moulton's book, the master of the Lewis and Clark history (by far the best documentation) but most if not all the noted authors never stood at more than a few dozen campsites (There's 578 of them)....there's something special about sitting under a tree where Lewis taught Clark how to calculate latitude and longitude....that you won't find in a book. And yes many of the trees and campsites have survived 211 years and are exactly like they were from 1804-1806.
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  8. chipwich

    chipwich Been here awhile

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    Jumping on board this gem. I have only read the tale as told by Ambrose, so the detail and perspective here is very much appreciated.
  9. SteveTheLocal

    SteveTheLocal Been here awhile Supporter

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    Are you saying that Sacajawea was 13 or 14 years old when they left Fort Madan? I had always envisioned her to be in her early twenties.
  10. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Nope, she was believed to be 9 to 11 when kidnapped. And from 13 to 15 (max) when they left Ft Mandan. She lost both parents when kidnapped so no one knows for sure, she described her age as number of winters. Charbonneau traded something for her and several other young teenagers...two he kept as wives, but more like slaves.

    At the conclusion of the L&C Expedition in Sept 1806 she was probably 17 or 18....and died 3 or 4 yrs after the Expedition, but did have one more child, a daughter named Liza which Clark adopted in 1809. Clark also adopted Jean Baptiste, her son that was on the Expedition.
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  11. misterk

    misterk Been here awhile Supporter

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    Great report, thanks for posting all this.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  12. HarryK

    HarryK Adventurer

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    I haven't finished reading all of this thread yet - it is magnificent! LewisNClark has acquired an amazing amount of real tangible facts and experiences on the trail as well as done his homework! I look forward to continuing on through the thread.
    This will be especially helpful to me as I am planning to follow the general direction the explorers took from St Louis and as closely as possible the part from eastern Montana to the Pacific.
    By the way as LewisNClark pointed out there is to be a miniseries “Lewis and Clark” from exec producers Edward Norton, Brad Pitt,Tom Hanks, etc. HBO and National Geo. will release it. Casey Affleck and Matthias Schoenaerts will star as Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, respectively. After a shaky start filming was suppose to restart this spring. But it's Hollywood so who knows if and when.
  13. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Continuation of the deaths of members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition:


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    Traveled by Private Bratton's marker yesterday.


    William Bratton could best be described as a "very hard worker" on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Known as a hunter, rower, gunsmith, and saltmaker. His primary duty was as Expedition member John Shields, gunsmith/blacksmith helper.

    Rowing a 25,000 pound barge upstream was a pretty monumental feat for 10 rowers, yet L & C called on William "Bill" Bratton almost every day he was not scouting on land or hunting. Must have had hellaious biceps after rowing from St Louis to Washburn, North Dakota. (1,500 miles upstream).

    Bratton was best known for his dedication to work ethic. With no dry wood to smoke and preserve their daily elk kills and struggling to maintain elk and deer meat for each day when they reached the Pacific Ocean and Astoria, Oregon, Lewis felt they needed salt to preserve their meat.

    Bratton and Joseph Fields were assigned the project to haul seawater in kettles to a remote campfire (where firewood was available) to boil the seawater into salt. Over 3 months they boiled enough water to capture 20 gallons of salt. (Since 1 gallon of saltwater produces 3 tablespoons of salt, they probably hauled over a 1,000 kettles of seawater to the campfire.)

    After 3 months Bratton's back was in such pain he could not stand. On their return journey he was carried on a litter or laid down in a canoe. On more than one day L & C though Bratton was not going to make it home.

    Finally in Idaho, John Shields suggested and decided to try an experiment with hot and cold water that his relatives in Kentucky had used to cure back aches. He dug a 4 ft deep pit on the banks of a creek, filled it with water and hot rocks to heat the water and spent all day dipping Bratton from the hot water into the cold creek water. At the end of the day Bratton was able to stand for the first time in over a month...gradually he was cured over the next few days and could walk and eventually ride a horse.

    Bratton left the military after the Expedition but reenlisted for the War of 1812 against the invading British. During this war he barely survived a battle in Michigan, but was captured as a POW.

    Always holding the rank of a Private throughout his military career, he finally spent the rest of his life in Waynetown, Indiana (aka Wayne Township), as a justice of the peace, though he could not read or write, but may have learned after the Expedition. But he remained mostly a farmer, with 10 kids after the age of 41.

    This cemetery is pretty amazing. Most grave markers reflect birth dates of 1780's and 1790's. Most markers are almost like chalk...and there is even a sign asking visitors to not touch the markers 'cause they are so fragile.

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    Salt Works:

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    The Salt Works is today located right in the middle of an apartment complex west of Astoria, Oregon.

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  14. black top bob

    black top bob gray goat Supporter

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    Love this stuff. Thanks again.
  15. anglerdon

    anglerdon Senior Coot

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    You would have made a great history teacher. You make history come alive. Thanks.
  16. mathdl

    mathdl Been here awhile Supporter

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    So, is there any validity to the L&C reproduction salt cairn in Seaside, OR? I visited in the 50's and wondered how they managed to get those large iron kettles across the country.
  17. bigskydrift

    bigskydrift dual sport hooligan

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    https://www.nps.gov/lewi/planyourvisit/saltworks.htm

    The Salt Works
    [​IMG]
    Much of the Corps' stay on the North Coast was spent securing sustenance for the winter and provisions for the trip home.



    By the time they reached the lower Columbia River region, the Corps had run out of valuable salt for seasoning food, and, perhaps more important, preserving meat. Capt. Clark didn't care if his food was salty, but many other Corps members did. Good food meant good spirits, and keeping morale up during the rainy winter of 1805 was key. On the other hand, meat preservation was a matter of life or death for the Corps. Spoiled elk meat could make the Corps sick, and without meat for the return home, weakened with hunger.



    To make salt, the Corps had to find rocks to build a furnace, wood to burn, ocean water to boil, fresh water to drink and game animals. Nearby rivers weren't salty enough, but a site 15 miles southwest of Fort Clatsop proved perfect. What's more, there were homes of local Clatsop and Tillamook Indians nearby, local experts who could help the Corps members.



    Five men traveled to the beach site, built the camp and set five kettles to boiling, 24 hours a day, to produce salt. According to their records, they set out from Fort Clatsop on Dec. 28, 1805, and left the camp Feb. 20, 1806, with 3 ½ bushels or about 28 gallons of "Excellent, fine, strong & white" salt.



    To get a real sense of the saltmaking process, a visit to the Salt Makers Living History reenactment is not to be missed. The reenactment takes place on the third weekend of August and is an excellent opportunity to see the salt-making process, as well as to visit with costumed reenactors who set up camp for 48 hours and make salt round-the-clock, just as the Corps' members did. Bring along goods the members might need - the Corps members are usually willing to trade for items such as small foodstuff or camp supplies. Just don't be surprised when they fail to recognize a watermelon slice or call a hot dog "an elk sausage" - remember, it's 1805!



    IF YOU GO: At the intersection of US Highway 101 and Avenue G, turn west to Beach Drive, then turn left to Lewis and Clark Way. Park where available without blocking private driveways. Walk west on Lewis and Clark Way to the Salt Cairn off of the Prom. The Living History reenactments held each summer are on the beach, off of Avenue U.

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  18. little foot

    little foot seriously not serious

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    Great trip.
  19. Knute Dunrvnyet

    Knute Dunrvnyet Padawan

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    Another good/fun read is "Out West" by Dayton Duncan. [He has since collaborated with Ken Burns on a number of projects.] Duncan borrowed his sister's VW bus and spent 2 summers following the L&C Trail. Also, spent a -40 degree night in a Mandan Lodge. 'Chocolate covered huckleberries.' http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/product/Out-West,672017.aspx
  20. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Death of Private John Shields:

    If there was a vote among the two captains, Lewis and Clark, no doubt these two would have selected John Shields as the most valued member of the Expedition. They described John Shields as one with never a cross word and a skilled worker at blacksmithing, metal working, excellent hunter and a true marksman with a rifle. Twice during the Expedition Shields' blacksmithing skills were called upon to feed the troops.

    In today's North Dakota at their winter quarters of 1804 and 1805 Fort Mandan the temperatures were never above 10 to 15 degrees so hunting was most difficult. Canoes were frozen into 2 to 3 feet of ice along the river banks. The Captains saw an opportunity to feed the troops by bartering Shields blacksmithing and gunsmithing skills for food. Shields was called on to make tools and repair primitive muskets they had bought from the British arriving from Canada, and even made a primitive corn grinding mill.

    Shields and Bratton and others spent months sharpening and made axes, knifes, and farming tools for the Mandans in exchange for beans, buffalo meat, and whatever else they could trade.

    Prior to the Expedition Clark knew Shields and he was part of Clark's platoon reserve across the Ohio River in today's Louisville. Shields grew up in the tiny town of West Point, Kentucky just south of Louisville. William Clark lived with his brother, George Rogers Clark and his manservant, York in Clarksville, Indiana just across the river from West Point, KY.

    Clark's home on the Indian site of the Ohio River, in visible distance of today's Louisville.



    Clark probably knew about Shields blacksmithing skills when he recruited him for the Expedition. Clark, Shields and Charles Floyd (only person to die during the Expedition) were all close friends prior to the Expedition and each served under Clark command as a second lieutenant.

    The best description of Shields' metal working skills could best be described by the Captains as “pretty amazing, considering what he had to work with.” His tools included a couple of files, emery wheel and probably a bellows for heating charcoal. Throughout the Journals of both Lewis and Clark they frequently mentioned Shields' inventive McGuiver skills in fixing any thing with limited tools. Shields brought along his skills on how to make charcoal as well has how to boil water to make salt.

    Tools:

    More than once Clark and Lewis noted in their journals that their Expedition would never have survived without this simple tool. This “emery wheel” not only was used to sharpen what few tools the Indians had but also was used to adjust the firing mechanism of their rifles....and make the famous spring.



    Flintlock Muskets Shields repaired.



    Gunpowder canisters:



    Bullet Mold:

    Shields made all the bullets for the Expedition. Brilliantly, Lewis had all their gunpowder stored in lead canisters, to keep it waterproof in case of an overturned canoe, and as their gunpowder was used up Shields melted the lead canisters into drops of lead that were pressed into bullets with the below bullet press.



    All the men on the Expedition had the same model flintlock musket but they were all hand crafted and the firing mechanism was unique in every rifle and had to be precisely filed to ignite gunpowder. As everyone pulled hunting duties, Shields was kept busy throughout the Expedition keeping all the muskets firing.

    Shields most memorable action was the repair of Lewis' famous “air rifle”. Displayed here as it was donated by the couple to the US Army Weapons Museum in Philadelphia. I



    Private Whitehouse was responsible to securing the valuable air rifle but when his dugout canoe overturned south of Whitehall, Montana a spring was broken on the rifle. Everyone knew the air rifle was probably done far but after a three day camp Shields was able to create a new spring from melted steel and winding the string of lead around a stick to precisely duplicate the spring. The well known air rifle was donated to the United States Army Weapons Museum in 1980, who eventually gave the air rifle to the Smithsonian Institute where it is displayed each year in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.

    The Captains' value of Private Shields skills were exemplified when they returned home and made a request to President Jefferson and Congress that Shields receive twice his pay because they felt he had contributed twice the duties of any other soldier.

    Little Flock Cemetery cemetery is believed to be the burial site of Private John Shields, who, at age 34, was the Corps of Discovery's oldest enlisted member. His skills as blacksmith, gunsmith, and hunter were invaluable to the expedition's success. After the expedition and upon his return to the Falls of the Ohio area, he settled near Corydon, perhaps being part of the Squire Boone (brother of the famous Daniel Boone) party that settled in the area. Shields died in December of 1809, just three years after the conclusion of the Expedition.

    • Location of cemetery: Rosewood Road, Taylor Township, Harrison County, Indiana

      Directions: From I-64 take New Albany exit 123, go west on Main Street, follow State Highway 111 three miles past Caesars Indiana to State Highway 211. Follow 211 to State Highway 11 and turn left. Go through Elizabeth and follow signs to Buena Vista. Turn onto Rosewood Road toward Buena Vista. After crossing Glenwood Lane there is a sign for Little Flock Cemetery on the right. Pull off here and park. The cemetery is a short walk away.

    Hard to believe but this is believed to be the final home of John Shields that still stands today. Brick veneer was probably added in the last 70 years.




    Markers in the front yard of John Shields home:







    Shields' home is in West Point, Kentucky.....just a few miles north of Fort Knox in Kentucky.

    This is the most historical little town I've ever seen. Prior to the L&C Expedition there were stage coach routes running from Natchez, Mississippi, Nashville, Tennessee, Louisville to Washington D.C.....the route went right in front of Private John Shields home. Ironically, this stagecoach line is probably the stagecoach Meriwether Lewis was going to travel from Nashville to Washington on but he either committed suicide or was murdered before he caught the stagecoach 55 miles south of Nashville.

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