Lewis and Clark Today Logo

On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

At Lower Portage Camp, Lewis hides the white pirogue and inventories the parts for assembling the iron boat. Sacagawea is recovering fast. At Upper Portage Camp southwest of present Great Falls, Montana, Clark's party is troubled by bears.

passed a Small Island in the middle and one close on the Lard Shore at 3 miles behind the head of which we Camped.

William Clark

Sunrise near Upper Portage Camp

Missouri River island at sunset

we Set out early and arrived at the second great Cataract a[t] about 200 yds above the last of 19 feet pitch— this is one of the grandest views in nature and by far exceeds any thing I ever Saw, the Missouri falling over a Shelveing rock for 47 feet 8 Inches with a Cascade &c of 14 feet 7 Inches above the Shoot for a &frac1/4; mile

William Clark

Crooked Falls

Rock ledge spanning the width of the river

we proceeded on up the river a little more than a mile to the largest fountain or Spring I ever Saw, and doubt if it is not the largest in America Known

William Clark

Giant Springs

Large springs below a barren hill

Photo courtesty of the Montana Historical Society, MHS 949-546.
(Some modern items have been digitally obscured).

this water boils up from under th rocks near the edge of the river and falls imediately into the river 8 feet and keeps its Colour for ½ a mile which is emencely Clear and of a bluish Cast

William Clark

Giant Springs flowing into the Missouri River

Clear water flowing over red rocks

There is a species of goosberry which grows very common about here in open situations among the rocks on the sides of the clifts. they are now ripe of a pale red colour, about the size of a common goosberry

Meriwether Lewis

Wax currant, Ribes cereum

Currant with red berry and small leaves

The waggons are completed this evening, and appear as if they would answer the purpose very well if the axetrees prove sufficiently strong.

Meriwether Lewis

Wagon wheel and axle

Painting of a wagon wheel and axle

Painting on an interpretive sign at the Portage Staging Area wayside.