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

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

  1. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    The history of West Point is too me, amazing...two houses from Shields' house is Civil War General Sherman's house.

    When the Expedition started down the Ohio River in the giant Keelboat in Sept 1804 it is strongly believed that Lewis and Clark stopped at the distance riverbank to pick up Shields, Colter, Charles Floyd, and the Field brothers, who were all part of the “Nine Young Men from Kentucky”, and the Expedition headed west.



    ...and the history of West Point doesn't stop. In 1806, the year Shields returned to West Point a new neighbor was none other than Abraham Lincoln's father...living two houses from Shield's house. A young Abraham Lincoln was probably living next door to the John Shields family.







    Behind Shields house is a landmark for anyone hankering to find this place.







    ...after the Expedition in 1806 Shields returned to what he and his family knew what to do, farm and fight the British. The below is believed to be the Shields farm.







    And finally Shields resting place....this is believed to be his family's church....











    Rosewood Church





    and FINALLY the grave of Private John Shields. If anyone searches it out it is about a mile behind the church down a single lane paved road. The entire area is amazingly beautiful farm country.



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  2. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    One of the most argued topics about the Expedition was what the weight of the keelboat and "cargo". The keelboat was probably 22,000 to 29,000 pounds and the kettles were probably 40 to 60 pounds each since they were cast iron (roughly 300 pounds for the kettles) and they were essential for cooking and feeding 33 people, and one dog. No stores on the wet coast so they hauled either 5 or 6 kettles from Washburn, North Dakota in canoes and from Dillon, Montana to the Pacific Ocean on horseback, and on the return up the Columbia in canoes to Idaho they back to hauling 300+- pounds of kettles back on horseback. They strapped two kettles across the backs of a horse with leather straps.

    When they left Lemhi Pass on horses they had to have had around 5,000 pounds of tools, supplies, potted soup, kettles, ammo, cooking utensils, etc. on horse back...including going over Lolo Trail.

    Coming home Lewis wrote that about all he had to trade with the Indians for food he could put in his pocket, but said the one thing they could not trade were their kettles, needed for cooking. Finally as they crossed in to Idaho on the way home they traded one kettle for a pack horse.....and private Willard accidentally let it get loose during the night to never be seen again. Leaving Travelers Rest they most likely gave the kettles to the Shoshoni since they were hauling-it home at a hectic pace with bare essentials and were split up into three groups.

    Picture of what the kettles probably looked like. The same kettles were also used for making salt at the Salt Works.

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  3. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks for joining in again.
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  4. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Hey, Don....
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  5. refokus

    refokus Hmmmmmm

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    I was stoke to see another post of the L&C adventure lesson. Great stuff! Huge :thumb
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  6. Mcgee

    Mcgee Been here awhile Supporter

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    So happy to see you back! Absolutely love the way you put together the story of Corp of Discovery! Thank you! Lewis and Clark expedition is probably my favorite adventure story of all time..
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  7. misterk

    misterk Been here awhile Supporter

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    Glad you are back, thanks


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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  8. black top bob

    black top bob gray goat Supporter

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    Outstanding. After reading the diary then following you on here I can see things I haven't been able to get to in this late life; but I will.
  9. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Took me a while to look up the meaning of "cairn"...thought it was a typo.:lol3

    5 or 6 privates went to the banks of the Columbia River to retrieve big rocks for making the "cairn" for the Salt Works. :photog

    They had to haul the rocks to a treeline where Bratton and others could cut wood to build the fire. If the "cairn" Is located where historian think it is....(see picture) they, Bratton, and others assigned to make salt had to haul kettles of water about 100 yards to put over the fire.....plus they had to keep fires going 24 hours a day and go hunting for food (deer or elk) in shifts. The Salt Works were probably 10 miles from Astoria (Fort Clatsop) where the main party lived while in Oregon so the 2 men at the Salt Works not only manned the firewood and water but also had to deal with the brutal cold rain to hunt their only source of food...deer. The Salt Works had to be near the sea water of the Ocean and Ft Clatsop had to be near fresh water rivers more inland.

    Bratton was always at the Salt Works but the other worker (usually Private Joseph Fields or Private Willard) did the salt works in shifts of a few weeks at a time....brutal work to haul the water and chop down firewood day after day. Part of the purpose of building the Salt Works was that the captains were out of trade good items and thought they could sell salt to the local Indians....but they had never seen salt and did not understand how it could be used to preserve meat.
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  10. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Sure glad you're back too.....I too enjoy sharing the sights along the Trail.
  11. avkan

    avkan jester

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    spectacular !!
  12. Godaddy

    Godaddy n00b

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    I have a question that I have never understood. WHen the corp was at travelers rest (Lolo Mt )they were right next to the bitterroot river which of course leads west and to the Pacific Ocean. AFter pulling their canoes and boats up thousands of miles against the current why didn't they do the obvious and just drift on down? fixated on using the horses? WOrries about the Blackfoot?
  13. Godaddy

    Godaddy n00b

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    Ok sorry found the book...
  14. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    The Captains had one little map that showed them what to expect in their route from St Louis to Fort Mandan, in what is today's North Dakota. Any thing they knew about what was west of North Dakota they learned from the Mandan Indians, Indians visiting them at Ft Mandan, French Canadians traders coming by the fort.

    About the only think they knew was there was a giant waterfall they would encounter. NO ONE knew anything about what to expect as to finding a Northwest Passage, a river route to the Pacific. Sacajawea, their Indian interpreter, was the only person who was at Ft Mandan that had actually ever been past today's Montana and she spoke no English and communicated with grunts and drawing rivers and mountains with a stick in the dirt. Plus, she was around 6 yrs old when she was kidnapped and taken to Ft Mandan.

    It was only when the Expedition reached the Great Falls of Montana that they realized that none of the Indians nor Canadians they had talked to had ever been to the Great Falls. What they had heard was second hand hear-say because there were not one but FIVE huge waterfalls. When they got around the Great Falls and reached Three Forks they saw the continual chain of mountains to there west and both captains agreed that water did not flow up over the mountains so a Northwest Passage was not to be.

    At three Forks they saw the end of the Missouri River that was made up of the conjunction of three smaller rivers. It was a matter of which river flowed most westwardly towards the Pacific to take them the furthest west. Clark choose what they named the Jefferson River.. He was right but it took them way too far south.

    Three Forks Overlook



    Clark's view from Three Forks Overlook



    Seeing the mountains they knew there could not be a water route...thus today's Continental Divide.

    Map of their route in Montana and Idaho: The horseshoe part of the map on the left shows where they went south past the Great Falls and took a 250 mile circle back north towards Travelers Rest, the only route over the Bitterroots.



    Sedgway River & Clearwater Rivers: Clark explored the North Fork of the Salmon River and concluded that there was no way the water was deep enough to navigate around bolders.



    With the mountains to their west both captains knew horses were their only choice...and since Ft Mandan Sacajawea had been telling her husband Toussant Charbonneau and the Captains that her people, the Shoshoni had plenty of horses to sell so Lewis left Three Forks and all he and his small party of scouts did for two months was search for horse hoof prints and the Shoshoni. After two months they finally found the Shoshoni 14 miles south of today's Dillon MT...plus not having any idea of the map of the area they traveled about 250 miles in a circle...(See above map). It was not really a mistake but something they had no idea of where they were going.

    Then it all changed...

    Lewis saw and hiked to the highest treeless peak on Lemhi Pass and knew he was standing on the Continental Divide.

    What Lewis figured out... (the marker below is my favorite marker of the entire L&C Trail.)



    A Boston ship captain, Capt Gray, had been to today's Seattle and traveled up the Columbia River in 1792 and as he did, he documented the gps latitude and longitude coordinates....as a ship captain he had to have known how to travel by nautical coordinates.

    Lewis stood by himself at this site and saw to his west what he knew they were in far, and must have shrugged his shoulders thinking about what he had just calculated. They were in for 660 miles over rugged mountains and an elevation drop of 7,200 feet. Forty miles away Clark explored the rapids of the Salmon River and a wrote note for John Colter to run back to Lewis, the note to Lewis was, "buy more horses, 1 for each man and extra for their cargo."



    Lewis calculated the coordinates and elevation of where he stood on the Cont. Divide, and compared the coordinates to Gray's Columbia River coordinates and elevation at sea level and determined they were 660 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River and the Pacific (as the crow flies) and the drop in elevation meant 100's of high waterfalls and rapids and a very steep descent to reach the Pacific. Lewis missed the mileage 20 miles but the drop in elevation was spot on.

    Days later the Shoshoni told them about the only route over the Bitterroot Mountain range was 200 miles north, back in the direction they had just spent 2 months traveling across. So they back tracked the left side of the above horseshoe in the map. At the top left of the horseshoe above is Travelers Rest and their route to the west to undertake the Lolo Trail. When told about the route backwards to Travelers Rest and the entrance to the Lolo Trail Pass they had already sunk their last canoes, cached they supplies and had just traded for a dozen horses....there was no turning back so they headed back up the left side of the horseshoe.
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  15. anglerdon

    anglerdon Senior Coot

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    Ed
    I wonder why Jefferson didn't simultaneously send a 2nd group of explorers up the Columbia ?
    Don
  16. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Hey Don:

    Jefferson was wanting to have the FIRST explorers cross the country by land. A Boston trading ship (Capt Gray) had already been up the Columbia 22 miles in 1792....going across land sort of laid claim to all the territory. Clark even wrote on a tree in Washington State "his name and the date, and first to cross the continent by land". Jefferson also had to fight congress to get $2,500 to fund the L&C Expedition. Russia, England, France and possibly China had entered the Columbia River by ship but no one had done it by land, and no country had left behind a single military person......boots on the ground sort of laid claim to the territory.

    Jefferson wrote a letter to Lewis in 1803 dictating the goals of the Expedition. Original letter is in the Jefferson Library behind the US Capital. He wanted the Captains to describe in detail the Indian culture and make friends with them (they took hundreds of presents for them), document minerals, animals and plants. Document the rivers and trails, Clark not only made maps but even measured the river currents speed to help initial pioneers follow their trail. And most important - find a water route from the Mississippi all the way to the Pacific, called the Northwest Passage...it did not exist, but Jefferson thought it might.

    France (via Napolian) owned the Louisiana Territory but could not control/secure it 'cause they were busy in a war with the British...US gave Napolian .03 cents an acre. No countries had laid claim to lands west of the Louisiana Purchase, no one even knew what was there...what thru everyone was the unexpected Rocky Mountains/Continental Divide....>
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  17. LONG DONGER

    LONG DONGER Been here awhile

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    Correct me if I'm wrong on this, but I think L&C were beyond the limit of the Louisiana Purchase once they crossed the Bitterroots, as they were commissioned to explore the drainage basin of the Missouri River. So by pushing on to the Pacific, and beyond the Divide, they had to know they were outside of the scope of the Purchase and their mission. In essence, they were now invaders in another country.

    Likewise, I think Jefferson would not have commissioned another Corps to come up the Columbia as he knew, or at least suspected, that would have been a de facto invasion of another country with a military force. Politics involved, but also the threat of a military skirmish or the perception of invading another territory would not have played well for such a young country, not to mention the difficulty of projecting a military presence in current day Montana when the nearest re-supply point was St. Louis.
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  18. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Patrick Gass

    Expedition crew members were normally either 1. Scout, hunter, and defender or 2. Worker, rower and construction worker. Gass was the Sergeant in charge of the “workers”.

    Gass was born in Falling Springs (today it is known as Chambersburg), Pennsylvania, 45 miles southwest of Harrisburg, PA.



    Gass probably imigrated from Scotland or Ireland and spoke with a strong Irish accent, which is probably why he was considered the comedian of the Expedition. His parents were Benjamin and Mary McLene Gass. Patrick's father and grandfather, William, were active citizens and members of the local PresbyterianChurch in Falling Springs, but Patrick cussed like a sailor.

    Patrick began his military career in 1792, with a Virginia militia stationed inWheeling, West Virginia to fight Indians. In 1794 he helped build the house of James Buchanan, Sr. near Mercersburg, Pennsylvania and became friends with the young future U.S. President James Buchanan, Jr. In 1799 at age 21 Gass joined the U.S. Army, serving under General Alexander Hamilton until 1800. He rejoined the army in 1803 and served at Kaskaskia, Illinois, near St. Louis.

    He joined the Lewis and Clark Expedition as a private on January 1, 1804 and was promoted to sergeant by vote of the Corps members after Charles Floyd's death from appenticitison August 22, 1804.

    His skill as a carpenter was important to the Expedition, he led the construction of the Expedition's three winter quarters, was in charge of dugout canoes, and built wagon axles to portage the canoes 25 miles around the Great Falls in Montana.

    Gass joined the army again in 1789, and by 1803 was serving under Captain Russell Bissell’s command at Kaskaskia, Illinois Territory. The Secretary of War Dearborn instructed Captain Bissell to furnish Lewis “with one sergeant and eight good soldiers” for the Expedition. Gass was determined to join the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but Bissell denied his transfer because he was such a good carpenter.

    Gass pulled Lewis aside and begged to be included in this pending adventure. Lewis pressured Captain Bissell to release Gass and he officially joined the Expedition on January 3, 1804.

    When Meriwether Lewis started his first leg of the Expedition he picked up the huge keelboat in Elizabeth, PA and hired 4, 5, or more labors to help row and navigate down the Ohio River. Along this route down the Ohio River Lewis picked up Patrick Gass and their first campsite was probably on Buffington Island.



    Route to Buffington Island:



    Buffington Island:



    Lewis, Gass, the labors and SEAMAN spent the night camped on Buffington Island. It was a century later that Buffington Island became a significant Civil War site.


    Picture of Patrick Gass Memorial:

    Gass joined the Expedition as a Private but was elected to become a sergeant when Sergeant Charles Floyd died on August 20, 1804. Private Gass was elected to replace Sergeant Floyd by an election instead of standard procedure of being appointed by one of the Captains. Lewis and Clark chose 3 candidates to replace Floyd but chose to have a new sergeant selected by voting of the troops to provide a degree of unity. Gass was well liked because of his humor, plus he could somewhat read and write. He was described as a man's man with a ready joke or prank and a “foul” mouth that Lewis best described as “one you would want at a party, but not with women in attendance.”

    Site where Sgt Floyd died of appendicitis attack.



    Memorial of Sgt Floyd grave:



    With Gass as a new sergeant that could write, Clark immediately assigned Gass the daily duties to help write the Journals to relieve some of Clark's workload. Gass was instructed to simply document which side of the river or trail they camped on and one or two lines to describe the most important event of each day. This may sound trivial but his Journal published in 1807 greatly helped future explorers, like myself, find or estimate where campsites were located. Clark measured the distance from each campsite to the next and Gass' simply noted “port or starboard” to help future travelers find their campsites.

    Site where Sgt Gass was elected to be a Sergeant to take over for deceased Sgt Floyd.





    Campsite where Gass was elected:



    The site of the Great Falls portage:



    https://lewisandclark.smugmug.com/5GreatFallsandthePortage/PortageoftheGreatFalls/i-hL4fxSq[/IMG]
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  19. 250Keith

    250Keith Been here awhile

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    WOW great RR. Thank you for your time and effort, I'm hooked!!!!!
  20. DiggerD

    DiggerD DougFir from SuperDuke Days

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    And here's another WOW from me after re-reading this.
    First read was on site at the sign.

    "Lewis calculated the coordinates and elevation of where he stood on the Cont. Divide, and compared the coordinates to Gray's Columbia River coordinates and elevation at sea level and determined they were 660 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River and the Pacific (as the crow flies) and the drop in elevation meant 100's of high waterfalls and rapids and a very steep descent to reach the Pacific. Lewis missed the mileage 20 miles but the drop in elevation was spot on."

    This is a fantastic adventure theme I can still go out and enjoy, over and over again, and never get tired of it.
    Thanks for the history lessons.