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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    DSCN0468.JPG DSCN0467.JPG

    Don’t be tricked. The above site of this little memorial is not the real campsite...the actual site is 100 yards down the road to the left behind a little barn.

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  2. td63

    td63 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Patit Creek: rumor has it that, inspired by the ancient Greeks, Lewis had the forethought to plant the first vineyards there. ;)
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  3. black top bob

    black top bob gray goat Supporter

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    Your journal has been a joy to read over the years. I read the copy of the original L/C journal after it was published, a few years ago, and realized that we never learned these things in our history classes back in the 40's and 50's. Thanks for taking the time.
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  4. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Any more information you know let us know. Lewis discovered/documented hundreds of plants and animals he discovered during the Expedition. He took a crash course in LATIN in Philadelphia so he could property name the new plants with their Latin names. His most famous is the "Lewis Peckerwood" bird.

    Neither Lewis or Clark had formal training on farming, but both made detail notes in their journals about the looks of good farm soil, they both collected seeds and roots of wild plants and hauled them back to President Jefferson who was a very knowledgeable farmer.

    Did notice that Petit Creek is near the town of Dayton, Washington.
  5. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    So many scholars and experts accumulated their knowledge from books, but there is nothing like standing in a L&C campsite or following their footsteps and seeing what they experienced.

    Their journals sort of hint at this: Most men on the expedition were from 125 to 175 pounds, 5'5 to 5'9. (This is known from Clark's diagram of their bunks at Fort Mandan). Wiry guys and by the time they rowed a 20,000 pound barge from St Louis to Washburn, North Dakota they were pretty much nothing but muscle.
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  6. Shawnee Bill

    Shawnee Bill Long timer Supporter

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    When you find a campsite like this that the current property owner is unaware they own a L & C campsite do you tell them? Talk to them about what you're doing checking out their place.
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  7. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    I do, this house with the horse, it was a week day and I knocked on the door but no one was home. The steel shop in Elizabeth, PA (that built the keelboat) has been the only place that resisted L&C visitors, had a sign up No Trespassing. Lot of campsites in WA and Oregon are across RR tracks so I never trespass over them. It is surprising how many people "have never heard of Lewis and Clark".

    BUT at the Rail Road Trestle at Tavern Cave I pled guilty! Totally abandoned trestle and 3 miles of railroad tracks and even the No Trespassing sign was rotten and falling down. A 750 mile ride to get there was too hard to walk away without getting into the Tavern Cave.

    Once, I saw no one, so I was walking across a farmer field of weeds in a very remote area and a farmer caught up with me wanting to know what I was doing. Lewis and Seaman camped on an island in a river 50 yards from the backyard of his home (Buffington Island). Once I told him, he was more than surprised and we both spent the rest of the day in his pickup truck tracking down two other campsites.
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  8. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Buffington Island where Lewis and Seaman (6 month old pup) camped when heading down the Ohio River to pickup Clark. I was standing in the farmers backyard when I took the picture. The island, about the size of a basketball court, was also used as a hiding place during the Civil War.


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  9. Mcgee

    Mcgee Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks for posting! Love what the rancher did with the steel cutouts.
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  10. td63

    td63 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Sorry -- I was totally kidding: out here (we're not far from Dayton) Patit Creek is synonymous with the winery, and tho now closed, I believe Dayton's Patit Creek restaurant was supposedly the best in the entire inland NW or something.

    Anyway, sincerely: my apologies for being a smartass! I love your thread and it inspired me to pick up Undaunted Courage recently, which I'll hopefully dive into soon.
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  11. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Continuation of Patit Creek...

    Most of the members of the Lewis and Clark expedition carried pipe tomahawks. They were used as a weapon, small ax and the hollow handle and pipe adapter made it also useful as a smoking pipe. All but five of the Expedition soldiers smoked or chewed tobacco.

    Pipe tomahawks had been used east of the Mississippi River for at least as far back as the early 1700's. They were manufactured in both England and France and were widely distributed throughout the colonies by British and American traders. Lewis and Clark introduced the smoking "peace pipe tomahawks" to the Indians on the upper Missouri River. Lewis had purchased 12 pipe tomahawks for the expedition at Harpers Ferry for $1.50 each. Tomahawks as gifts were reserved for Indian Chiefs they met.

    Sergeant Charles Floyd, the only member who died while on the expedition, carried his personal pipe tomahawk. Anyone who had a prized tomahawk immediately marked the handle with their initials. After Floyd's death, Captain Clark carried Floyd's tomahawk and planned to give it to Floyd's family when he returned from the Expedition and let them know of Floyd death. Clark carried his tomahawk from where he died at Sioux City, Iowa, to the Canoe Camp in today Idaho along the Clearwater River. According to Clark's Journals Floyd's tomahawk was stolen from their camp on October 7, 1805 as they were launching their canoes, heading down the Columbia. This would have been a Nez Perce Indian that stole the tomahawk.

    On the returning home trip in 1806, just east of Pattie Creek they were camped at Kamiah, Idaho, when an Indian told Lewis and Clark about an Indian of their tribe that had stolen two of their tomahawks.

    On June 2, 1805 Lewis wrote: "This morning Drewyer accompanied by Hohastillilp, a Nez Perce Indian set out in search for two of our tomahawks which we have understood were in the presiding possession of certain Indians residing a distance in the plains on the South side of Kooskoske: the one is a tomahawk that Capt Lewis left at our camp on musquetoe creek. [Big Canyon Creek] and the other was stolen from us while we lay at the forks of this and the Chopunnish rivers [North Fork of the Clearwater] last fall. Captain Lewis had previously left the tomahawk at their campsite at Musquetor Creek."

    On June 2, 1806 Lewis wrote: “Drewyer arrived this evening with Neeshneparkkeeook [Nez Perce for “Cut Nose”] and Hohastillilp who had accompanied him to the lodges of the Indians who had the tomahawks. He obtained both tomahawks principally by the influence of the former of these Nez Perce Chiefs. The one which had been stolen we prized most as it was private property of the late Sgt. Floyd and Capt. Clark was desperate to return it to Floyd's family or friends. The man who had this tomahawk had purchased it, and was himself at the moment of their arrival on his death bed. His relatives were unwilling to give up the tomahawk as they intended to bury it with the dying owner, but were convinced to release the tomahawk since it was stolen. Drewyer convinced the Indians, in hand sign language, to give back the tomahawk for a hankerchief, two strands of beads. which [Capt. Clark sent by] Drewyer gave them and two horses given by the chiefs to be killed agreeably to their custom at the grave of the dying Indian."

    Thanks to the two Chopunnish Chiefs, Captain Clark left the Clearwater valley with the late Sergeant Floyd's pipe tomahawk. It was never documented that Clark returned tomahawk to Floyd's family or friends, but he most likely did.

    Sgt Charles Floyd's Memorial Marker
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    Floyd's marker at his hometown, Floyd's Station, in a suburb of Louisville, Kentucky just a few miles from the Louisville Baseball Bat factory, of course I had to ride by too.

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    Painting of Charles Floyd
    SgtCharlesFloyd.jpg
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  12. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    And most important - Sgt Floyd's Tomahawk. The little knob on the top was for removal when running a wire thru the pipe to clear the pipe, and to also allow air to enter the pipe tube running the full length of the handle. Interesting that the Indians from St Louis to Astoria were commonly found smoking. There were wild plants the Indians smoked, commonly called "rabbit tobacco" in the South, also smoked some tree bark. At Lemhi Pass on the western route they moved from boats to horseback so Lewis instructed the men to cache anything non-essential at Lemhi...one of those items left at Lemhi was their ropes of tobacco. Headed home the smokers were all craving their smoke.

    FloydsTomahawk.jpg
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  13. Ol Man

    Ol Man Long timer Supporter

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    It is really obvious that you have a true love of the L & C expedition and all of the intricate history. Really nice history lesson for us all.
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  14. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Pretty amazing find this summer.

    Thomas Jefferson bought, from France, thru Napoleon Bonaparte all lands west of the Mississippi with water running into the Mississippi River - no one knew this would include lands all the way to Montana! This little spot that Lewis tagged is in the middle of absolutely no where on an Indian Reservation -

    The actual campsite of Camp Disappointment, where Meriwether Lewis found the site of the furtherest land west and north that water flowed into the Gulf of Mexico, - Just south of here is also where one of the Field brothers and Lewis shot and killed two Blackfoot Indians that attacked them in the middle of the night trying to steal Joseph Field’s rifle,

    48°39'52"N 112°48'26"W - if anyone is in the area.

    If you don’t know this: You can cut & paste the gps coordinates above and paste them into Google Map,,,and voila - GMaps will find the site with a detail graphic satellite view - if you do this you can see it is 2 and 7/10 of a mile over field trails to the site from the main road, Meriwether Road Hwy 444 - definitely would recommend checking with the farmer east of site before trespassing - he was friendly with me, the tracks in the grass in the picture are permanent since others have ridden there - the GPS coordinates are inside the corral since that is the believed site of Lewis’ coordinates - as a caution - This is on a Blackfoot Indian Reservation - That little corral changed the United States territory for ever,

    There are no markers or signs except the Buffalo Jump off to the right of the picture is the only landmarks to the site. 4 miles north of Browning, MT on private property, about 2 1/2 miles south of the Canadian border. Lewis' famous comment was, "As I returned fire, I could hear the wind of the Indian's bullet pass my ear."

    Camp_Disappointment.JPG

    View of campsite from the Buffalo Jump ( You can see the corral in the bottom center of the picture.) Cut Bank Creek meanders around the remote campsite. From the top of the Buffalo Jump hillside you can see Canada 2 or 3 miles to the north.

    LCFightSightVialia.jpg

    For clarification: This is the site where Lewis determined was the farthest point of running water going into the Gulf of Mexico below Louisiana. Not the site of their Indian attack and subsequent two teenage Blackfoot were killed.
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  15. Ziamon

    Ziamon Been here awhile

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    Google map format 48°39'52"N 112°48'26"W
  16. Shawnee Bill

    Shawnee Bill Long timer Supporter

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    I was close this summer, but seems I was still 2 miles east where the signs are on Meritether road at the Cut Bank bridge. And actually the sign says that.
    Still a lot closer than that obelisk just off of Hwy 2.
    Although in a car. :dunno

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    The locals really don't care for Lewis and Clark, seems they regularly spray graffiti on the obelisk to go with the bullet pockmarks on it.

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  17. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Congrats in finding the obelisk marker....not easy to find. As Meriwether said, when he took the coordinates at this location he considered the L&C Expedition was over, it was now a matter of surviving the 2,000 mile trip home.

    Just today found out that the Great Northern Railroad Company paid to have the marker erected and it is supposed to look like the Washington Monument in DC. The same railroad company also paid to have Pompey's Pillar staircase and guard rails to protect William Clark signature in the Pompey Pillar rock.

    The marker is where it is so it will be more visible to traffic off Hwy 2. The real campsite is on private land, owned by a local Blackfoot Indian. Most Indians like the people of the L&C Expedition except the Sioux around S. Dakota and the Blackfoot Tribe in northern Montana where the obelisk is located...they hated the history of the L&C Expedition....thus damaged marker.

    The real site of Camp Disappointment is roughly 4 miles due north of the monument...way out in open prairie. Private property but no one around for probably 2 miles....will admit it was very hard to find....not positive of my GPS coordinates but they will be close. For probably 50 yrs the obelisk was the farthest northwest corner of the United States (aka Louisiana Territory). As I'm sure you know, that is Glazier National Park in the background of your picture.

    From the site of Camp Disappointment/the Obelisk on the map, knowing the entire Blackfoot tribe would be chasing them, they road horseback all night into the next day to cover 135 miles to reach their crew that were supposed to pick them up at the conjunction of the Marias and Missouri Rivers...near today's Fort Benton. Lewis knew they were a day or 2 early, being chased by the Indians - Lewis noted that as they approached the river he did not see them, but in the distance saw their 2 canoes headed down stream - (Gass,Werner,Fraser, Goodrich, McNeal, and Thompson) help load Lewis’ equipment and crew as they paddled east - knowing the angry Blackfeet would not be more than a few hours behind them —-

    CampDisapptMap.jpg

    For Clarification: Over the below terrain....Lewis wrote in his journals about a few of their horse were getting sick from the terrain...the below was the reason. In Lewis’ journal he wrote that Joseph Field shot a deer for their supper but when he turned his horse around to go back and retrieve the kill, his horse sat down and refused to move and have to go back over the up and down hills until after an hours rest. The below is also another marker of the estimated site of the killing about 10 miles south of Browning/Obelisk. The kill campsite was between the two forks of the Two Medicine Rivers. The above map may make it clearer.

    Note: Seaman, their dog was not with them here,,,proof that he was lost a few weeks earlier below Great Falls. Seaman was extremely protective during the night and would have been barking his head off,

    BelowCutBankValaria143.JPG




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  18. Shawnee Bill

    Shawnee Bill Long timer Supporter

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    The sign right on Hwy 2 does say the railroad put the obelisk up but I also read somewhere that the railroad located the Obelisk on that hill so passengers on their trains could see it from the train.

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  19. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Did not know that....but there is a train track probably 150 yards behind the obelisk....it eventually or used to end at Fort Benton, then later goes down to Great Falls. Those 3 best men were, as usual, Drouillard, Rubin Field and his brother Joseph Field. The bravest and toughest of the bunch.

    Don’t know if you planned it, but your photo shows the obelisk in the background,

    Yrs ago I talked to an elderly local in Cut Bank and he thought the RR company either had their bridge builder or employees build the obelisk and he was pretty sure it was precast concrete and erected with a crane, as a young boy he remembered it was 6 0r more feet into the ground because of the Winter winds,

    FYI - one of my main source of L&C history is from such road signs,,,don't think I have ever seen erroneous info from a road sign. In reference to 49th parl-, the Canadian border is the 50th park-,,,Lewis was a smart dude, the 4 of them road for days looking for the creeks or rivers flowing from the north, Lewis knew that only a clear running creek was coming from the Rockies (north), looking for the furtherest one to the north to determine the Louisiana Territory Purchase which was part of the new US territory, he knew where the Canadian border was without any road signs, Calculating latitude and longitude from the sun, stars, horizon and chronometer watch is WAY BEYOND MY PAY GRADE,


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  20. Shawnee Bill

    Shawnee Bill Long timer Supporter

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    "I read somewhere", careful with your references, I'm not sure where I read that and don't seem to be able to find it again tonight. :confused

    Might have seen it somewhere while I was up there?