Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lewis and Clark Center at Great Falls

The Lewis and Clark Expedition had good reason for remembering the Great Falls area -- namely, an 18 mile portage. We had read of this, but really did not understand how big a process this was. Fortunately, the Interpretive Center, located very close to the Giant Springs area, offers a wonderful way to explore this.

Here is a picture of one of the five falls before dams were built and tamed them. This one happens to be Great Falls, which is close to 100' high. Naturally, the terrain around these falls is quite rugged and I would hate to hike around them, much less carry everything we owned!

Orinda really enjoyed the many exhibits and descriptions of how Lewis and Clark traveled up river and of the Native Americans that they interacted with. By the time they arrived at this part of the Missouri, they were using large dugout canoes for travel.

A keelboats had been the main method of travel to this point, but obviously could not navigate the falls. So, the keepboat was sent back to St. Louis and the dugout canoes took over.

These canoes were BIG! This is a full scale re-creation of one of the dugouts and how they were moved around the falls. The Expedition first had to build large, wooden wheels and then move these heavy canoes cross country -- with no roads! This made me tired just looking at it.

Here, Orinda gives an idea of the large size of these canoes. This Center is very well worth a visit and is about the best Lewis and Clark center we have visited.


squawmama said...

Good Morning...I just knew you would love that center... We did and spent a long time there. Was the Indian Guide there in the auditorium giving lectures about the way of life for the Indians? We enjoyed him a lot! Have Fun my new friends...

Travel Safe

Margie M. said...

As usual, I enjoyed your latest post and the photos. Great work. Exploring Montana in depth is on our bucket list. You made me want to be there right now. Thanks!