Lewis Minus Clark Expedition

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Missoula ,Missoula Area

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Historical Markers/Interpretive SignLewis and Clark Expedition
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General info

On their return trip from the Pacific Coast, the Corps of Discovery split into two parties at Travelers Rest (just south of Missoula, Montana) on July 1, 1806. Clark proceeded south down the route they had come in 1805 along the Bitterroot River. Lewis went north along the Blackfoot River. Their plan was to rendezvous at the Missouri River in late August.

Lewis traveled through this area accompanied by nine mounted soldiers, 17 horses, and his Newfoundland dog, Seaman. On July 5, 1806, they camped near here at the confluence of the Big Blackfoot River and a creek. Lewis named that creek Seaman’s Creek after his dog. Today Seaman Creek is called Monture Creek, named after George Monture, an early day U.S. Army scout. Lewis described this part of the valley as “prarie of the knobs” because of the mounds along the trail, some of which can still be seen today. The trail was called “COKALAHJSHKJT” or “The River of the Road to the Buffalo” as it was known to the Nez Perce.

The “knobs” that Lewis described were caused by glaciers dumping rocks along their edges and down icy holes and cracks within the glacier. The glaciers that left these knobs began to melt and slowly retreat to the north some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.

From here they “Proceeded On” to the east, past Lincoln, up Alice Creek, and across the Continental Divide. The place they crossed the Continental Divide is known today as “Lewis and Clark Pass,” even though Clark was never here!

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