Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Lewis and Clark passed through here in June 1805. The previous winter, the Indians had told them about a waterfall on the Missouri River, and that it would require a day's portage. But Lewis discovered that there were actually 5 waterfalls!
This is the first falls he came to that day - the Great Falls. They have since been dammed, but the original falls are preserved.
Two of the other falls have been dammed the same way, one has been buried, and one, Crooked Falls, (shown here) is in its original state.
Instead of a short portage, the 5 falls required a very difficult 18-mile portage, They built wheels and axles for the canoes, but it required 8 difficult trips across rugged hilly terrain to move all the canoes and supplies.
Great Falls has a really nice Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Inside, from the first floor to the second, is a full-size model of the portage. It was very exact, even including some prickly-pear cactus that tore through the men's moccasins.