Currently in Great Falls MT (Low 49 Passing Storms High 68)
During their winter at Fort Mandan during the winter of 1804-1805 the Mandan Indians told Lewis and Clark they would travel on what is now called the Missouri River for a ways and then come upon “great falls”. Here is the Great Falls before the Ryan Dam was built and at high water time, this is from the internet. This is close to the falls as they appeared to Lewis and Clark.
Realizing that they had to portage around the falls William Clark was sent ahead to scout the best passage. What he found was four more falls, along with the Giant Springs that we blogged about yesterday, making the trip even longer. It turned out to be an 18 and 1/4 mile portage around the falls. We toured the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and they had this diorama depicting part of the journey to portage the big canoes around the falls.
The Interpretive Center is neat and deserves a visit. You walk a timeline of their journey westward. There are a lot of different films and talks throughout the day. You could spend an entire day here. We even heard the folklore about the Welsh Indians, how explorers from Wales predated Columbus and intermingled with the Indians. For our journey it is back to the falls. Here is what Great Falls and Ryan Dam looked like to us during low water.
The viewing for the dam/falls is on a island and you cross this bridge which can sway.