Western Montana; Lewis & Clark Trail
August 24-31, 2004
Our goals on this week-long trip were to revisit some of the more important Lewis & Clark points of interest, and also to experience a variety of places new to By-Ways by Bus riders. The itinerary printed in the June Bulletin was closely followed. Riders were: Ewart Baldwin, Don Baldwin, Patricia Bitner, Mary Lee Cheadle, John Cockrell, Mary Ann Cougill, Judy Dobell, Jim & Sharon Duncan, Margaret Fea, Rachele Fiszman, Bea Fontana, Jeannette Forsman, Dora Harris, Evelyn Hile, Kathy & Stewart Hoeg, Mary Ann Holser, Marjorie Jackson, Rosella Jones, Verna Kocken, Dot Leland, John McManigal, Rosemary Mason, Cleora Mersdorf, Maude Nilsen, Joyce Norman, Barbara & Don Payne, Liz Reanier, Dorothy Sistrom, Grace Swanson, Gene Thaxton, Vera Woolley and Ray Jensen, leader.
Tuesday, August 24 —
At the Atomic Museum in Richland, Mary Holser's son-in-law Pat Anolso gave a talk about the Lewis & Clark expedition in this area; he was very knowledgeable on this subject. Overnight at the Hampton Inn in Richland. We had a group dinner at Granny’s Buffet in Kennewick.
Wednesday, August 25 —
Thursday, August 26 —
Friday, August 27 —
The Computer Museum, recently relocated, covered everything from the caveman to the 21st century. All well presented for both the nerd and the non-nerd.
After lunch in the Lindley City Park, on to the head waters of the Missouri State Park, where the Three Forks unite to form the Missouri River. For native tribes, for Sacajewea, the L&C personnel, trappers and traders, this was a most important place. At the town of Three Forks, we were invited inside the Sacajewea Hotel to enjoy the lobby and the art work, a pleasant unplanned surprise. Again to Wheat Montana for a break and to Helena for two nights.
Saturday, August 28 —
Then 20 miles north for a boat tour on the famous Gates of the Mountains, named by the explorers. We had the entire boat to ourselves with an excellent pilot-guide. In great abundance were bald eagles, hawks, mule deer, even a number of Bighorn Rocky Mountain sheep.
We lunched at the dock area and back to Helena for the State Museum. At the Capitol we had a close-up view of the huge painting by Chas. Russell, “Lewis & Clark Meet the Indians at Ross Hole”. At 4:00 p.m. to the downtown where Bruce & Sue Newell met us and led six of us on a hike up Mt. St. Helena; great views from the vast city park. Most of our group shopped, browsed, found the Chocolate Shoppe, checked out the restaurants, etc. Driver Gary Tolle had scouted this section of town for us, and even distributed maps of all the important places. Gary provided shuttle service for us as we were scattered all over town. We are most appreciative of his services, both on and off the bus.
Sunday, August 29 —
On to the Museum of Fort Missoula, established in 1877 as a military fort during the time Chief Joseph was active. During World War II it was an internment camp for Italian POWs and, sadly, also for Japanese-Americans.
We ended a full day with a walk through the Rose Garden with its several war memorials and drove by the campus of the University of Montana where an adjacent hillside still shows evidence of the ripple marks from the Missoula floods. Ewart pointed these out, as well as many other facets of geology each day.
Monday, August 30 —
Up to the Visitor Center at Lolo Pass, a facility dedicated last year by the daughters of Stephen Ambrose. We also drove to Packer Meadows, even today an inviting, pleasant campsite for people and animals.
Next we enjoyed the short hike at DeVoto Cedar Grove along the scenic Lochsa River. We lunched at the Wilderness Gateway Campground, and then to the nearby historic Ranger Station — an interesting place that survived the 1934 forest fire but is still a primitive place without electricity even now.
Our final stop was the Canoe Camp on the Clearwater. Phil Johnston displayed some of the L&C weaponry and his partner, John Fisher, had a display of the medicines and medical implements used by the captains. Both these experts gave us insights and told us about the importance here. Dugout canoes were fashioned to complete the downstream journey to the mouth of the Columbia. Overnight at the Holiday Inn Express in Lewiston. All riders pronounced it excellent.
Tuesday, August 31 —
Kudos to . . .
the following individuals, who are recognized for their contributions to the success of this trip.
—RAY JENSEN (Trip Leader)