On the Trail of Lewis and Clark

On The Trail of Lewis and Clark Havre Area

May 14, Tuesday: Two events happened toward evening. Six men went after a bear. Two had to jump off a 20-foot cliff into the water to get away from him. He jumped in after them, but someone on shore fired and hit the bear in his brain. While butchering him, the men found that eight shots had passed through his body. Also the pirogue almost tipped over, losing some papers and medications. Sacajawea saved most of it. The hunters came in after dark. Lewis wrote: “We thought it a proper occasion to console ourselves and cheer the sperits of our men and accordingly took a drink of grog and gave each man a gill of sperits.” Traveled 16 1/2 miles and camped on the north side where they had the accident, a few miles above present Snow Creek.


May 15, Wednesday: Camped all day and tried to dry papers.

May 16, Thursday: Didn’t get started until about 4 P.M. Fired on a panther. Traveled seven miles and camped, probably on south side.

May 17, Friday: Passed Seven Blackfoot Creek just below camp. Clark saw some coal, a recently deserted Indian camp, and almost stepped on a rattlesnake. Traveled 20 1/2 miles. Camped on the south bank. Were awakened during the night by a fire, probably started from their campfire. Just got moved when a burning tree fell where they had been.

May 18, Saturday: Traveled 21 miles and camped two miles up stream from the present Devil’s Creek.

May 19, Sunday: Heavy fog, late start, Lewis’s dog was bitten by a beaver. From a hill Clark saw the Musselshell River and the Little Rockies. Traveled 20 1/4 miles. Camped near or at site which was later Long Point.

May 20, Monday: Arrived at the Musselshell River about 11 a.m. and stopped for the day to make the necessary observations. It was 110 yards wide and entered the Missouri 2,270 miles from its mouth. At this point the Missouri was 222 yards wide.

May 21, Tuesday: They traveled 20 miles and camped on north side.

May 22, Wednesday: Stormed all night and morning. Did not get started until 10 a.m. Traveled 16 1/2 miles, killed a bear and rendered lard. Camped on the north side just below the present Kannuck Creek.

May 23, Thursday: “Set out early this morning, the frost was severe last night, the ice appeared along the edge of the water, water also freized on the oars…. Just above the entrance of Teapot Creek on the stard. there is a large assemblage of the burrows of the Burrowing Squirrel.”(prairie dog)” The wild rose which is now in blume are very abundant.” Traveled 27 miles. Camped on the north side, a little below the mouth of Rock (North Mountain) Creek in Phillips County.

May 24, Friday: They passed Rock Creek and camped about three miles above the present location of the Robinson Bridge on Highway 191.

The Return
In the 1930’s the largest hydraulically tilled earth dam in the world was built on the Missouri River, backing water up for about 134 miles and forming Fort Peck Lake (see Section 10). Fifteen Lewis and Clark campsites along this section of the river are now under lake water. The lake has many bays and inlets, giving it 1,520 miles of shoreline (Elev. 2,234). It is surrounded by the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge.

On the return trip in 1806 Lewis and Clark separated on July 3. Clark would explore the Yellowstone River, Lewis would explore the Marias and retrace their route along the Missouri and pick up their cached materials. It was raining as Lewis and the 15 men who were with him entered the area that is now the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. That night, July 31, [they] “took shelter in some Indian lodges built of sticks, about 8 ms. below the entrance of North mountain creek… (Rock Creek, in Phillips County) …these lodges appeared to have been built in the course of the last winter, these lodges with the addition of some Elk skins afforded us a good shelter from the rain which continued to fall powerfully all night.”

August 1: Again they found shelter in abandoned Indian lodges and stayed 2 days to dry out.

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