Sunday, September 21, 2008

Part 5: In the Wake of Discovery: Through the Dakotas.
Sept 1, 1804"proceeded on pass the bluffs compsd of a yellowish red, & brownish white clay which ia as hard as chalk this bluff is 170 or 180 feet high." Wm Clark (White Bear Cliffs)
Sept 5, 1804"Set out early the wind blew hard from the south, Goats, turleys seen today, passed a large Island opsd this Island near the head the Poncarars River coms into the Missourie from the west this river is about 30 yards wide." Wm Clark (Ponca River near Vernal S.D.)
Sept 7, 1804"Discovered a village of small animals that burrow in the grown killed one and coaught one a live by poreing a great quantity of water in his hole we attempted to dig to the beds of one of those animals, after diging 6 feet, found by running a pole down that we were not half way to his lodge...;" Wm Clark (Near Greenwood S.D.)
Sept 8, 1804"Came to on the lower point of an island in the midle of the river called Boat Island and incamped,jurked the meat killed to day consisting of 2 buffalow, one large buck elk, one small, 4 deer 3 turkeys & a squirel..." Wm Clark (Near Fort Randall Dam)
Sept 11th, 1804"here the man who left us with the horse 22days ago (George Shannon) and has been a head ever since joined us nearly Starved to Death, he had been 12 days without any thing to eate but Grapes & one Rabit, which he Killed by shooting a piece of hard Stick in place of a ball." Wm Clark
Sept 13, 1804"Camped on the S. Side under a Bluff. The bluff on the S. S. not so much impregnated with mineral as on the L.S" Wm Clark

Photo: Me atop Spirit Mound S.D.

Photo: Stan Hanson paddling his Kruger Canoe. Thanks Stan for your help!

Tuesday: May 18TH. I'm camped across from where Lewis and Clark camped on Sept. 6, 1804. The river is totally fogged in at the moment. This past Friday I finally departed from Gavins Point Dam having waited s few extra days for my food package to arrive at the Post Office. This day marked the official 200th anniversary departure of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in Wood River, Illinois! I camped with my friend Stan Hanson along the shore of Lewis and Clark Lake which is the water that is backed up behind the dam. It is a very large lake comprising of 90 miles of shoreline with a water surface of over 31,000 acres. Stan had with him another Kruger Canoe similar to the one I was paddling and we managed to get out for a short jaunt on the lake one day as well as make minor repairs to my boat. Stan is my new super-hero for the generous help and support over the last few days! Stan and I drove up to Spirit Mound north of Yankton to visit this out of the way L&C site. The expedition walked their from the river and checked the mound out. They were told by the local Indians that the mound was haunted by evil spirits.

I departed under sunny but windy conditions along the north shore of the lake. I managed to paddle the length of the lake by evening. The north shore was lined with beautiful tall yellowish and white cliffs that dropped straight down to the waters edge. There is a constant evidence of erosion as big piles and slabs of rocks rest at the waters edge under each cliff, a sure reminder never to camp under one. As I approached the small town of Springfield I began to feel the current of the river once again as I inched through the many channels and sand bars. Saturday proved to be the most difficult day of my journey.The river basin being several miles wide with many dead end channels and large sandbars slowed my progress drastically. I felt as if I was paddling through a giant maze trying to find my way out. I arrived at the tine village of Running Water at dusk after covering only 9 miles.

Sunday brought high winds, rain, hail, and a lightning storm like no other. I stayed camped here all day and watched the changing weather. The blackish green clouds that fastly approached at dusk brought extremely high winds which I thought were near tornado strength. With lightning shattering the sky with a constant display of fire, I was glad not to be on the water. I departed Running Water Monday morning under windy and cloudy conditions. The navigation was very challenging once again in deciding which channel to take to avoid sand bars. Once I reached the Niobrara River where it emptiesinto the Missouri I tried to paddle up its silt laden water to a nearby State Park to fill my water jugs, but after dragging my boat over far too many sand bars I opted to turn around and continue up the Missouri.

Just above the Niobrara the Missouri becomes very clear. The waters appear more greenish without all the fine silt being added by any smaller rivers. The remaining portion of the day led me by beautiful high yellowish bluffs described in the Lewis and Clark Journals. The wind calmed down by noon causing the water to be like glass. The only ripples that were found were caused by my boat as it broke the surface of the waterline forming a tiny wake in the wide river.I have found little trash of any kind in the river since leaving the dam. The river seems to be less used and abused the further I get from any city. Instead of plastic bottles and Styrofoam cups along the shore,I now see sandy beaches lined with bleached driftwood from the many cottonwood trees. It was in this area that Lewis and Clark saw their first antelope which they called a "goat". Vast herds roamed the rolling hills but are now replaced with an occasional cow from a nearby farm.

Photo: On Lewis and Clark Reservoir upstream from Yankton SD.

Photo: After the storm!

Photo: Near Running Water SD, a small island provided a nice camp.
May 21-24, 2004
South Scalp Creek Bay: I've lost count as to the number of ticks I've removed from my clothing and tent, but at last count it was near 70. No matter where I camp this time of year the ticks seem to be there too. I have to check my skin often to make sure I have not been bitten. So far so good! Today I am wind bound on Lake Francis Case. The river which is held back by the dam at Fort Randall creates a lake over 100 miles long with over 540 miles of shoreline. Whitecaps crash into the beach with a constant beat from the north trying to inch closer to my boat which is tied securely down on the beach.I made a brief stop on Wednesday to Chiropractor Jay Fitzgerald in Wagner S.D. The owners of a local restaurant (Abbeys) in Pickston were kind enough to help shuttle me around the area and tothe chiropractor 15 miles away. My chiropractor Dr. Marlin Braun in Livingston, Montana had contacted others along the Lewis and Clark trail to see who would be willing to help me out with an adjustment. My hip was once again out of place but quickly put back in my Dr. Jay and I was all set to begin paddling on the big lake. (Thanks again all!)

I am camped in the vicinity where Corp. Of Discovery member George Shannon reunited with the rest of the expedition members having been lost for over two weeks and surviving on very little food in a land of plenty. He was able to shoot only one rabbit using a hard piece of stick in place of a lead ball which he did not have. Today the hillsides are still sparse in vegetation and lacking the herds of buffalo and antelope of two hundred years ago but replaced with an occasional cow. I will attempt to depart here once the water settles down but it could be several days. I will take every advantage to paddle when it is calm and always stop when the waves and wind build.

The stove I use to cook my meals is a one burner Coleman Exponent which burns white gas. I also have a backup MSR one burner in case the Coleman fails. They both are powerful stoves and can boil a quart of water in just a few minutes. They are both very compact and fit within my cooking pots and then placed inside a rubberized dry bag. I have 3 fuel bottles which last about 6-7 weeks before I need to seek out fuel in some various stores along the way. I typically fire up the stove when I reach camp each evening and then set up my tent while the food is cooking. All my meals are 1-pot meals all high calories. I rotate between rice, pasta, and beans for the main part and always add vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, squash, carrots, onions, corn, and peas which I dehydrated on a food dehydrator prior to the trip. I add various dehydrated sauces and or soup mixes to add flavor and bulk.I typically eat about two quarts of food each evening. Other foods I have with me for breakfast and snacks are whole grain cereals, raisins, dates, prunes, assorted nuts, turkey and buffalo jerky, sardines, energy bars from Betty Lou's Inc., dried apples and various fruit roll-ups. I do have access to store and restaurants along the way.

This is not a remote wilderness as it was in the days of Lewis and Clark. There are over 100 towns and cities along the route some with populations well over a million people such as Kansas City and Portland. The members of the Corp of Discovery relied on hunting and fishing as well as gathering of native food shown to them by Indian Nations along the way. Each member consumed over 9 lbs. of meat per day on average. They divided their camps into "messes" which were smaller units of men (about 8-9) each with a cook. Each mess had their own particular area to cook and prepare food as well as there own fire to cook it all. They did not have stoves, water filters, lighters, or a wide selection of food as I do two hundred years later. Since there is so much humidity and moisture in and around the water I have to make sure my dried foods do not become moldy which can be a problem. I have not had any so far but it could happen. I carry two weeks of food with me at a time. I purchase the rest in store and I receive a shipment from home every two weeks which I pick up at a local post office.

Photo: Finally a calm day! Near Pickstown SD.

Lake Fransis Case above Pickstown dam.

Photo: The water is wide and gets very windy.

Ben, Marv, and Vern feed me well. Thanks!

May 25-27, 2004
UPDATE: Chamberlain SD, Tuesday: The weather can either destroy your spirits (and tent) or it makes you appreciate the warmth of home and a cozy fire in the fireplace. South Dakota has experienced more rain than usual this past week and I had the pleasure to paddle in most of it. I personally can't imagine what Lewis and Clark had to deal with since they did not have the quality clothing and gear that we have today. Yesterday I limped into Chamberlain, S.D having paddled 20 miles from below the White River. The winds were out of the east, west, northwest, and north. There was a constant shift in the wind, at times forming whitecaps on the wide river. I stayed fairly close to shore, often no more than 30 feet which allowed me to paddle to shore in case of a sudden squall. I have been storm bound about every other day the past 10 days. This past weekend I had the pleasure to meet and camp with Dr. Marv Braun and Dr. Ben Stukel at Snake Creek, S.D.After paddling a long eight hours I arrived at camp where they treated me to steaks, potatoes, and beans! I was in heaven. It wasn't more than an hour later when an incredible storm blew though with tornado winds and rain. I found out the next day several places were hit with softball size hail and funnel clouds were spotted! I thought for sure several of the motor homes were going to get blown over from the intense winds. Thanks to Dr. Braun from Gregory, S.D. he brought along his portable chiropractors table to give me a much need adjustment. The toll of long hours and repetitive motion can reallycause your back and hip to get out of alignment. After each adjustment I have had on this trip, I have felt relief almost instantly.
(Thanks Dr. Braun, Stukel and Vern for the great feast. I was glad to see that your camper trailer did not get blown over by the tornado winds that ripped through the area. I had heard stories about all your otherwindy storm experiences.

Photo: Hot springs. Could this been the cause of the L&C story about volcanos that they mentioned in their journals when passing through here?

The hills to the north are as green as the fields of Ireland due to the increased amount of rain in the area. As I paddle more northward and westerly, the trees are becoming fewer. It was in this area that the youngest member of the Lewis and Clark party rejoined the expedition after having been lost for almost two weeks. George Shannon survived on very little andnearly starved to death when the expedition found him. It was also in these hills that the party had been informed of a "volcano". None were discovered, but I managed to encounter a tiny hot spring bubbling out of the hillside. It reminded me of some of the thermal features found in Yellowstone. Could this be where the "rumor" of a volcano started I wondered as I explored the hillsides?North of Snake Creek I found a sheltered bay where several people were fishing despite the weather conditions.

Ed Bartling along with Stan Ostgren was patiently waiting for a bite on their fish hook when I paddled to shore. They were camped for the weekend along with their families and were kind enough to invite me up to their camp for a cookout, which I gladly accepted. Ed is a former center for the football team in Vermillion, S.D. and now is a farmer nearby. In his youth, Ed claims he found a human skull on an old island in the river that was probably from a Native American. Ed says that the Army Corp. of Engineers drained the lake (damned river) years again exposing a lot of the old islands thatLewis and Clark mentioned in their journals. Looking at the hillsides I can easily imagine the Sioux burying their dead in many sacred places along the river. With all the rain the lake levels should come up which will help the farmers from the drought they are experiencing.Monday I paddled all day in the wind and rain. At one point I had to retreat to shore and let the wind and rain die down. I was totally wet but not from rain. Paddling a kayak into the strong wind, can cause one to perspire a great deal.

I was in sight of Chamberlain for about 3 hours before I was able to pull into shore at American Creek Campground. The sun broke out from under the dark clouds as I exited my boat for the evening.Even though I have days that totally discourage me and beat me down, I try to maintain a clear vision of what my goal is. I live for the moment and try not to think about the "big picture" or I would be overwhelmed. One day at a time and one paddle stoke at a time is my motto. I have lost many days due to weather and will attempt to make up mileage as the weeks unfold. To do this I will need to paddle a few extra miles each day and take advantage of paddling when the water is calm and that means paddling late evenings and early mornings.I am hoping to make it to Pierre, S.D. by Friday to pick up my "food drop" at the post office. If I don't, unfortunately I will have to wait till the following Tuesday to get it since there is a holiday this weekend. This will put me behind even further

Photo: Tyler Hammel and family of Chamberlain SD. Thanks for dinner and the chiro adjustment!

Sept 15, 1804Set out early passed the mouth of White River. Cap. Lewis and my self went up this river a short distance and crossed...;"Wm Clark

Sept 16,1804""...we sent three hunters out who soon added eight deer and two Buffalo to our stock of provisions: the Buffalo were so pour that we took only the tongues skins and marrow bones..." M. Lewis

Sept 17,1804"...found the country in every direction for about three miles intersected with deep revenes and steep irregular hills of 100 to 200 feet high; at the tops of these hills the country breakes off as usual into a fine leveal plain extending as far as the eye can reach." M Lewis (Near Chamberlain S.D.)

Update- Wednesdays evening near Big Bend. I reached Big Bend Dam and Lake Sharpe by mid afternoon on Wednesday. My portage around took nearly three hours using my wheeled portage cart. This collapsible cart is placed under the center of my boat and all my gear is then placed in the boat over the wheels to insure a proper balance. I then pull the cart like a child's wagon up and over the dam and down the road to the boat ramp. This usually turns a few heads in the process.The last night in Chamberlain, I was invited to dinner with Dr. Tyler Hammel and family at a nearby restaurant. Tyler is a local chiropractor who offered his help with yet another back adjustment during the day. That evening his wife Jenna and children Alex, Benji, and Madyson treated me to a nice dinner. Itwas nice not to have to put my stove together, prepare, cook dinner, and clean up. Their three children were the nicest and most polite kids I think I have ever met. It was a pleasant evening talking with them about school, and lifein Chamberlain. In the lobby of the hotel where we ate was a huge Marlin fish that Tyler caught and had it mounted. It was too large to be displayed at his home or office so he was fortunate enough to have it displayed in the lobby. Thanks Dr. Hammel and family for the wonderful hospitality while passing through! The people I've met along the way have been extremely helpful, nice, and generous towards me. I really appreciate the kindness of all those along the trail.

Photo: Using portage cart to haul my gear and boat around a dam.

I will pass through the "Big Bend" of the Missouri tomorrow. It is here that the river makes a giant 25 mile loop almost doubling back on its self. The distance across at the narrowest part is just over a mile. The scenery is now sparse of any trees. It was in this area the Lewis and Clark encountered their first Antelope and Magpie and also vast herds of buffalo. The buffalo supplied the men with needed food in which they dried.Now only the spirit of the buffalo roams the hills while the distant rumble of thunder reminds me of the sound of large herds of these animals.I hope to make it to Pierre, S.D. by friday and on towards the huge body of water called Oahe.

Photo: Big Bend of the Missouri. Looking out across the water. River makes a giant 25-mile loop doubling back on itself.

Sept, 25, 1804"A fair morning the wind from the S.E. all well, raised a flag staff & made a orning or shade on a sand bar in the mouth of the Teton River, for thepurpose of speeking with the Indians..." Wm Clark

Sept 29, 1804"Saw great numbers of elk at the mouth of a small creek Called No Timber C- as no timber appeared to be on it. Above the mouth of this creek the Panies had a village 5 years ago, no remains but the mound which surround the town." Wm Clark

Sept 30, 1804,"Sand bars are so noumerous, that it it impossible to describe them & think it unnesessary to mention them." Wm Clark

There are many ways to carry or portage a boat and gear around a dam. I don't suggest doing it the way I did it at Oahe Dam on Saturday, but it sure gets you there in a hurry as well as gets your heart beating faster. I arrived at the east boat ramp below the dam in the afternoon after re-supplying and doing laundry in Ft. Pierre just 6-miles downstream. I had heard that Oahe had a steep grade and was a long three miles over to the upstream boat ramp. I assembled my portage cart and placed my boat and gear inside and headed down the road. The road is fairly flat until the last 1/2 mile, which is very steep, especially pulling a 60-pound boat and at least 200 pounds of gear inside it. The strain on my muscles was intense as I tried to keep everything going in a forward motion. If I stopped, everything would begin to roll backwards down the road. At the point when I thought I may get a hernia, a man pulled up next to me in his truck and told me to jump on the back platform he had built to hold coolers. As I sat down and held the strap connected to my belongings with all my might I had visions of disaster. As he drove the remaining 1/2 mile to the boat ramp at a rate of speed higher than I would have liked, I prayed that the wheels on the cart would hold up to the high speed. I envisioned 300 pounds of camping equipment, cameras, food and boat cartwheeling down the road ending my Lewis and Clark journey. Well, I survived and arrived safe thanking the man for his assistance as he tried to talk me out of paddling on the lake. I told him I had already traveled over 1000 miles and that his shuttle ride was more dangerous than anything I had so far encountered.

Photo: Rainbow after the storm.

Photo: Tatanka-Buffalo. This heard is from the same ones used in the movie Dances with Wolves.

I intended on paddling a few miles but the sun was already setting in the west so I set up camp near the boat ramp glad that I survived my speedy ride. Lake Oahe is a huge body of water extending almost all the way to Bismark, N.D. The lake is over 220 miles long with a total shoreline of over 2 thousand miles! It's a mecca for fishermen and pleasure boaters but is also very isolated with only a couple of towns along its entire length. I was hoping to make it to Bismark by June 8th but have been sitting at camp for three days socked in with high winds and huge waves. As I type the wind is finally dieing down.

My arrival to Ft. Pierre on Friday evening was aided by an all day wind at my back pushing me along with every paddle stroke. Plenty of sandbars and submerged forest of trees standing erect like sun bleached totem poles without faces provided plenty of navigational challenges. These trees were once islands and bottomland forest when Lewis and Clark passed through. Now they are the ghostly reminder of the days before the dams flooded the river. Imagine trying to weave in and out of these trees trying not to encounter any that may be hidden inches below the surface of the water. I camped near the mouth of what Lewis and Clark called the Teton River (Now called the Bad R.) The Corp. Of Discovery met here in Council with the Teton Sioux. The Sioux were very aggressive and attempted to steal from the party a well as impede their progress. Constant watch was kept with little sleep among the members of the expedition. A large engraved stone now marks the camp and meeting place with the Sioux.

I have reached a point where I have lost all track of time and days. My goals are daily goals. I am trying not to think about the end of the journey but only to a fixed location on my map about 30 miles away each day. I try to pick the route, which will give the most protection from the relentless winds. The wind usually wins out at least a day or two each week, creating huge waves, which can be dangerous for my small craft. Everyone I've talked to says Lake Oahe will force me tent bound at least a few days. Well I've had my "few" days and the weather forecast is not sounding the greatest for the rest of the week. All's well other that the mental game with the weather and knowing I am slowly getting behind with my schedule.

I want to dedicate this week's part of the journey to Martin Plamondon who died this past week. Martin had compiled a 3- volume set of maps drawn by William Clark and over laid them with modern topographic maps. I have a set with me which shows all the Lewis and Clark camps and several of Martins maps are posted on my web site. I am glad Martin got to see his hard work come to print. Thanks Martin, I appreciate your hard work. You will be missed.

Photos above are after a tornado passed over my camp. The local news the following day reported several funnels clouds spotted in the area. I'm glad I didn't realize how bad it could have been.

Oct 8, 1804"passed the mouth of a river called by the Ricares We tar hoo on the L.S. this river is 120 yards, discharging but a small quantity..." Wm Clark (Grand River at Highway bridge 72 at Mobridge S.D)

Oct 9, 1804"much astonsihed at my black servent, who did not lose the opportunity of displaying his powers strength &c &c this nation never saw a black man before" Wm Clark

The human skull sat partially covered in the drying mud, eyes gazing towards the south. I wondered if this may have been a great warrior or chief as I stood looking out over the large expanse of water. Declining lake levels have exposed the skull probably washing away the rest of the bones and covering them with layers of sand and mud.
I was having a challenging day weaving in and out of the thousands of massive trees also exposed due to the drop in the water when I decided to climb a small knoll. I was hoping for a better view of the river ahead and for an easier path through maze of twisted tree trunks. As I was walking along the sand I glanced down to what first appeared to be a round rock. I then saw the eye sockets and knew what it was. The area is a fitting place for a burial site. Here the land juts out giving one a good view in many directions. The weathered skull had the appearance of a head injury due to the large fracture above the eye. Maybe he was a warrior killed in battle to save his family, or maybe a woman thrown from here horse out on the plains.The water levels of the lake are the lowest they have ever been since the construction of the dam. For the past 50 years the higher water has been slowly washing away the lowlands which are now being exposed as the water levels drop. I'm sure there are many other sacred burial sites now visible due to this fact. I paid my respects and left a small pile of nuts and dried fruit and paddled on.

Lake Oahe has been the most emotionally challenging body of water I have ever been on. I have been on the lake for over a week now. Yesterday I sat 5 miles from Mobridge,S.D. and watched 40 mph winds create havoc to the water. Too hot to lay in a tent and no trees offering any shade, I managed to lay in the shadow of and old fallen down cottonwood resting high above the water, its shade barely covering my body. As I type this I am only about 5 miles from the North Dakota border! It seems like it has taken me forever to get this far. I had hoped to post more updates than the few I do send, but they have been as challenging as the river. I often paddle from sun up to sun down and sometimes don't even eat dinner until 10pm. I had hoped I would not be running at such an intense pace but unfortunately I am. I probably will only be sending one update a week for awhile. My battery power is low and I have not had enough sun to use my solar panels on storm bound days. I hate to give up a sunny day recharging and not making headway, but I may have to do that.Outside the mosquitoes are begging for me to come outside. Lewis and Clark mentioned they were having mosquitoes problems as late as October when they passed through here.

Photo: Human skull found along the receeding waters of Lake Oahe. Most likely that of an Indian and there were probably more in the area.
Lake Oahe sounds Hawaiian but it's sure far from paradise. I had been wind bound for a total of 9 days on that body of water. Last week it rained about 3 inches in 1/2 and hour causing the area to flash flood and created massive erosion to the beaches. The rain was coming down so hard that the ground was unable to absorb it fast enough and it rose higher and higher up the sides of my tent wall. It began to undermine the area under my tent as I could tell by the wavy action on my tent floor sort of like being in a rubber raft. I knew I had to take quick action before the water and mud began pouring through the zippers of the tent. I tossed on my rain jacket and grabbed a cook pot from my dinner I had eaten a few hours ago. I frantically began digging trenches around the tent and towards the angled shoreline of the beach in hopes the water would funnel away from the tent. It was actually quit funny at the time. My rain jacket failed to keep me dry and I was standing over ankle deep in mud and water while lightning exploded like fireworks all around me. Several of the jolts sounded like shotgun blast of which I could feel. For a moment I had visions of childhood, playing in the mud puddles near my home in Michigan. After a complete series of trenches were dug around the tent I climbed back in mud and all. I kicked off my muddy sandals and tossed them in the corner along with my soaked rain jacket. I then placed a plastic tarp under my sleeping bag to keep off the water and mud that was inside the tent. I soon began to worry about my boat, which was tied up on shore about 200 feet away. I feared she ended up washed out into the river from the torrent of water pouring down the hillsides. I didn't want to risk going near the water at the time with all the lighting strikes even through I had just spent 20 minutes outside holding a metal pot near a tent comprised mainly of aluminum poles.After the deluge ended, I walked down towards shore shining my light ahead of me. The flowing water and made my route unrecognizable. I shined the light in the area where I thought the boat was but no luck. After a few more steps I could see a glimpse of white and knew she was still tied quip and secure.The rain cover in which I put over the cockpit each night was totally caved inward, keeping several gallons of water from entering my boat.

In the morning I filtered this rainwater for drinking thus saving me from having to use the silt laden river water. By morning there was sunshine in the sky so I pulled everything out to dry. I sponged out as much of the dirt and mud from the tent floor as I could and let the rest dry. By noon I was paddling across the river towards the North Dakota border having been storm bound for 3 days at that particular location. I barely made it across the border when the high winds and waves forced me to shore once again. I was glad to be out of South Dakota but had hoped to make it to Ft. Yates to restock my dwindling food supply.

Photo: Cooking dinner using my boat as a wind break.

I had originally planned to be on the lake only 7 days and it was over 15 days before I finally was off it. I finally walked to Ft. Yates. This is the resting place of Sitting Bull and site of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. I said walk because that's my latest challenge. There basically is not enough water to navigate since the Army Corp is not releasing much water from the above dam. The water was not more than ankle deep in sections as I pulled my boat across the many sandbars that stretched as far as I could see. It will only get worse as the Army Corp continues to let all the water go to the lower river and not hold any in reserve. Talking with several people in town, they had to ration their drinking water, as they could not retrieve enough from the river. They were bringing in truckloads of water to distribute among the population of Native Americans.

Photo: Ft. Yates and low water of the Missouri Reservoir.

I am really surprised the Army Corp has not posted warning signs for navigation in these areas. They have become extremely dangerous for two main reasons. It is hard to get off the river if you happen to need to camp or must flee to avoid sudden squalls and wind. There are literally thousands and thousands of trees that are now exposed that were once under water. These trees block off you exit from the water in many areas causing you to maintain your position out in the main channel. At times you may find a small opening among the trees in which to squeeze your boat but you must be careful not to get hung up on ones that are still submerged. If this should happen, it is very difficult to free your boat since you cannot get out of the boat due to the amount of mud and quicksand. In addition to not being able to get off the water from the main channel is that you could also be trapped inside a bay when the water levels from the dam are dropped each day. One day I watched the bay I was camped in slowly get cut off due to more and more trees and stumps being exposed as the waters dropped.

I awoke at 4:30 am one morning and fled the bay while the water was calm. I had to search through the maze of tangled mess to find an opening big enough for my boat. I called the N.D Fish and Game in Mackenzie County to find out the condition of the river on Lake Sakakawea and was told it was worse than Oahe where the Missouri empties into the reservoir for almost 100 miles. Huge deltas and sandbars have formed creating a serious problem. The ranger also told me it was the same on Ft. Peck Reservoir as well. If one was able to find a channel after hours of searching you would later have a serious dilemma trying to get off the water each night to camp since dry land is sometimes 1/4 to maybe 1/2 mile away. Everything between the water and dry land is mud, clay, and quicksand.

I talked to fellow paddlers Bruce and Kathy from St. Johns, Michigan who started in Helena and are on their way to St. Louis. They were able to find transportation around the Williston area and bypassed the upper portions of Lake Sakakawea due to these problems. This is one decision I hoped I would never have to make. I feel I am letting a lot of people down by having to avoid parts of the Lewis and Clark trail. This has been bothering me of several days. I have so far lost 30 days due to weather, waiting for food shipments, or other logistics that the sequential order of my journey will have to be altered. Since this has been a childhood dream to follow the Lewis and Clark trailI am still committed to reaching the Pacific. Unfortunately it's not going to happen in the order as Lewis and Clark.

Days and days of wind, waves, rain, heat and mud are the same conditions Lewis and Clark experienced two hundred years ago. Unfortunately their journals don't detail their emotions and mental frustrations, as did most writing of that time period. But I am sure they too reached a breaking point now and then and wondered what on earth they were doing. I'm sure they too screamed and cursed at the sky when the heavens opened up and poured down rain and hail. I'm sure they too despised the relentless winds blowing the tops off whitecaps and buckling their tents. But like myself, I also know that every evening when the sun sets over the western horizon they too longed to see what lay beyond. I made it to Washburn today under heavy winds. This is the area that Lewis and Clark wintered over with the Mandan Indians during a bitter cold 1804/05. I hope to visit the site of their winter encampment tomorrow. It is actually suppose to freeze here tonight which is a change of pace. The current is pushing against me at about 7 mph through a beautiful wooded countryside.

Photo: Fellow Kruger Canoe owners Bruce and Kathy depart downstream to St. Louis from Three Forks, Montana. I camped with them one night.

The circular indentations that littered the ground are slowly fading away as the years go by. These indentations were once the foundations to the largest settlement of Native Americans. Their homes comprised of circular sod huts in which a small opening at the top allowed the smoke from the camp fires within to exit. I had the opportunity to visit the location and home of Sacagawea, her Husband Charbonneau, and the Hidatsa, Mandan and Arikara nations. Etched out along the banks of the Knife River and just upstream from the Missouri is the remains of this large tribe of Native Americans. This was also the wintering area for Lewis and Clark during the cold winter of 1804. Local Stanton, N.D. residents Cindy and KaDee Berger were kind enough to drive me 20 miles out to this village and give me the grand tour of the nearby farming communities. It was interesting to hear the Park Service Ranger talk about life along the Knife River and within the circular sod houses. These houses were large enough for even the horses of each family to be inside. In the center was a stone fire pit in which they cooked and kept warm during cold nights along the plains.

It was here that Lewis and Clark hired Charbonneau and Sacagawea to join them on the long journey to the Pacific. It was also here that Sacagawea gave birth to Jean Pompey whom she carried on her back all the way to the ocean and returned again in 1806 with Lewis and Clark. Charbonneau and Sacagawea were both influential in the success of the expedition. She would later help to obtain horses from here people in the mountains for the long journey over the mountains.I also visited the reconstructed Fort Mandan near the original site of where Lewis and Clark spent the winter. This small fort supplied the men with protections, comfort and warmth until the spring when they departed up the Missouri River. The fort was very busy with several bus tours which I was able to avoid by only minutes. These large groups of people seemed in a constant hurry as they sped around the fort location and then back on the bus.I have obtained transportation around Lake Sacagawea and the upper hazards on the reservoir. I will soon be in Williston, N.D. and probably within a week of the Montana border. The people of the Washburn, N.D. have been very helpful during my visit to the area. I appreciate the hospitality given to me be these wonderful people.

Photo: Knife River- Site of the Mandan Village where L&C obtained Sacagawea and Charbonneau.

Photo: Knife River village mud house. The same type used by the Mandans when the expedition passed through and wintered nearby.

Photos: The reconstructed Ft. Mandan which the Corp of Discovery built to stay in during the winter of 1804/05. Located near the original site.

Oct 25, 1804"Several Indians came to see us this evening, amongst others the son of the late Great Chief of the Mandins (mourning for his father), this man has his two little fingers off: on inquireing the cause, was told it was customary for this nation to show their greaf by some testimony of pain, and that it was not uncommon for them to take off 2 smaller fingers of the hand and sometimes more with other marks of savage effection." Wm Clark

Nov 4, 2804"a fine morning we continued to cut down trees and raise our houses, a Mr. Chaubonie, interpeter for the Gros Ventre nation came to see us, and informed that the came down with several Indians froma hunting expidition up the river, to here what we had told the Indians in Council this man wished to hire as an interpiter…" Wm Clark (Site of Fort Mandan N.D.)

Nov 11, 1804"two squaws of the Rock mountains, purchased from the Indians by a frenchmen (Chaboneau) came down..." Wm Clark (First meeting with Sacagawea)

Dec 25, 1804"I was awakened before day by a discharge of 3 platoons from the party and the french, the men merrily disposed, I give them all a little Taffia and permitted 3 cannon fired, at raising our flag, some men went out to hunt & the others to dancing and continued untill 9 oclock P.M when the frolick ended." Wm Clark

Jan 6, 1805"a very cold clear day. The Themt stood at 22 below 0." Wm Clark

Feb 11, 1806"about five oclock this evening one of the wives of Charbono was delivered of a fine boy. It is worthy of remak that this was the first child which this woman had boarn". M. Lewis (Birth of Jean Baptiste Charboneau named Pompey by Clark)

Mar 9, 1805"a cloudy cold and windey morning...;" Wm Clark

March 10, 1805"a cold winday day..." Wm Clark

Mar 11, 1805"A cloudy cold windey day, some snow in the latter part of the day..." Wm Clark

April 7, 1805"Having on this day at 4 P.M. completed every arrangment necessary for our departure, we dismissed the barge and crew with orders to return without loss of time to St. Louis." M. Lewis

Photo: Evening along the Missouri near present day Washburn S.D.

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