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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

Lewis, scouting ahead of the main group, reaches the Great Falls of the Missouri and marvels at the 'sublimely grand specticle.' The boats, with Clark, make 13 miles against the current camping about 7 miles SW of present Fort Benton.

about ninty or a hundred yards of this next the Lard. bluff is a smoth even sheet of water falling over a precipice of at least eighty feet, the remaining part of about 200 yards on my right formes the grandest sight I ever beheld

Meriwether Lewis

Lewis at the Great Falls

Painting of Lewis standing below the Great Falls

Painting previously located in Southern Hills Mall, Sioux City, Iowa and created by by Split Rock Studios.

a beautiful pleasant morning. we Set out at an eairly hour    a heavy diew. proceeded on.

John Ordway

Missouri River at Fort Benton

Steep black cliffs on the Missouri River

between this abrupt extremity of the ledge of rocks and the perpendicular bluff the whole body of water passes with incredible swiftness.

Meriwether Lewis

Great Falls of the Missouri River

Water racing by a cliff

in short the rocks seem to be most happily fixed to present a sheet of the whitest beaten froath for 200 yards in length and about 80 feet perpendicular.

Meriwether Lewis

Great Falls of the Missouri River

Foamy water of the Great Falls of the Missouri

from the extremity of this roling country I overlooked a most beatifull and level plain of great extent or at least 50 or sixty miles; in this there were infinitely more buffaloe than I had ever before witnessed at a view.

Meriwether Lewis

Plains along the Bootlegger Trail

Foamy water of the Great Falls of the Missouri

Goodrich had caught half a douzen very fine trout and a number of both species of the white fish. these trout are from sixteen to twenty three inches in length

Meriwether Lewis

Cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarkii

Cutthroat trout: small speckled fish

Photo created by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Saw abundance of wild or choke cherrys, the Goose berrys are now ripe & abound in the River bottoms. also a yallow current the kind I never Saw before. they are nearly as large as the goose berrys, but Sower & yallow when ripe

John Ordway

Buffalo currant, Ribes odoratum

Buffalo currant: large purple and yellow berries

Photo ©2010 by Andrew Butko. Permission via the Creative Commons 3.0 License.