Wendover Campground

Wendover Campground is situated on stretch of land along the Wild and Scenic Lochsa River off the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All American Road (US Highway 12) at mile post 158.2. With 27 campsites all positioned within a mature, moss covered pine forest and centered around a small stream, this campground offers a serene spot for camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking, nature viewing and most importantly, relaxing. — Forest Service

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Lochsa Lodge

Unloading the truck at the Lochsa Lodge. The Lochsa Lodge is a “resort” just on the western side of the Idaho/Montana border. This location is also the site where Lewis and Clark camped during their expedition.

I spent a couple of days here, and will definitely return.

“Clark recorded that on the night of September 14, 1805, the Corps “Encamped opposit a Small Island at the mouth of a branch on the right side of the river which is at this place 80 yards wide, Swift and Stoney.” That river’s Indian name, which the journalists evidently never heard, is Lochsa, meaning swift water. The “branch”–a small stream–no longer flows; its bed was obliterated during the expansion of the ranger station. The men put their 40 horses on the island for the night, probably to discourage them from wandering away in search of food. The Corps bypassed this campsite by several miles on their return trip in June of 1806.

Powell Ranger Station of the Clearwater National Forest, which was built here about 1910, was named for the trapper and homesteader Charley Powell, who lived nearby at the time.” –lewis-clark.org

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Black Eagle Falls

The last of the falls that Lewis and Clark had to get around on the Missouri river. This photo was taken from the side of the road that runs parallel to the Missouri in Great Falls.

A writer from the Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine toured the falls of the Missouri in the autumn of 1887 and reported: “The appearance of the Black Eagle Fall suggests its future use. Some day it will drive saws, spindles, and mill-stones.”4 Indeed, plans for harnessing the fall’s potential were already under way. The first dam, completed in 1891, provided both direct mechanical power and a limited amount of electricity for local use.

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Bald Eagles

Not the best photo I’ve taken. This will have to do for today’s upload.

2 Bald Eagles flying over the great falls of the Missouri in Great Falls, Montana.

The autofocus on my camera does not work as well as it does on the traditional DSLR.

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Great Falls Storm

This is a photo of the storm on the walk back to the truck from Crooked Falls. I was luckily able to make it back before the storm passed through. Lewis and Clark faced similar storms during almost this exact time of year in their portage of the great Falls.

“Despite their splendor the Great Falls presented much danger and hardship for the explorers. In one afternoon Lewis’s path converged with a bear, a mountain cat or wolverine and three buffalo bulls; to Lewis it seemed that “all the beasts of the neighbourhood had made a league to distroy me, or that some fortune was disposed to amuse herself at my expence” (140). Many members of the expedition were ill, including Sacagawea who had been suffering for more than a week from an unknown sickness. Clark, Charbonneau, Sacagawea and her baby nearly drowned in a violent storm of torrential rain and huge hailstones. Grizzly bears, rattlesnakes and mosquitoes were a constant worry, even to the dog, Seaman, who Clark noted was “in a constant state of alarm with these bear and keeps barking all night” (151) –nps.gov

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Crooked Falls

At about ten o’clock on the morning of June 14, 1805, Captain Lewis took his gun and his espontoon and set out on a short walk up the north side of the river (at right in this photo), to see how far the rapids extended above the “grand Fall.” With the Hidatsas’ assurance of a half-day portage still in mind, he fully expected he would be back at camp by noon.

After passing one continued rapid and three small cascades of about four or five feet each[,] at the distance of about five miles I arrived at a fall of about 19 feet; the river is here about 400 yds wide. this pitch which I called the crooked falls occupys about three fourths of the width of the river, commencing on the south side, extends obliquly upwards about 150 yds.[,] then forming an accute angle extends downwards nearly to the commencement of four small Islands lying near the N. shore; among these Islands and between them and the lower extremity of the perpendicular pitch being a distance of 100 yards or upwards, the water glides down the side of a sloping rock with a volocity almost equal to that of it’s perpendicular decent.
For a time, later in the nineteenth century, it seemed to some viewers that “horseshoe fall,” would be more descriptive, but Lewis’s name has prevailed. The islands and sloping rock Lewis noted have been obliterated by the in-fill on the north bank, which covers three large pipes that carry water from an intake above Rainbow Fall to a powerhouse a short distance below Crooked Falls.

By Jim Wark
Of all the falls of the Missouri, this one remains the nearest to the way it looked to Lewis and Clark.

Just above these falls, the captain continued, “the river makes a suddon bend to the right or Northwardly. I should have returned from hence but hearing a tremendious roaring above me I continued my rout across the point of a hill a fiew hundred yards further.” — lewisandclark.org

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Great Falls Storm

There were some ominous looking clouds to the south on the hike down to Crooked Falls. This would have been the area where Lewis and Clark made their portage around the falls.

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Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls was first discovered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Rainbow Falls and downstream Crooked Falls are the only two waterfalls on the Missouri-Mississippi river system to remain in an almost-natural condition. Black Eagle Falls and Great Falls are half- occupied by their dams’ powerhouses, and Colter Falls is submerged. The waterfall received its name from the frequent presence of rainbows in its spray before the dams were built.

Meriwether Lewis was known to comment on the falls:

. . . hearing a tremendious roaring above me I continued. . . a few hundred yards further and was again presented by one of the most bea[utiful]objects in nature, a cascade of about fifty feet perpendicular stre[t]ching at [right angles] across the river from side to side to the distance of at least a quarter of a mile. here the river pitches over a shelving rock, with an edge as regular and streight as if formed by art, without a nich[e] or br[eak] in it; the water descends in one even and uninterrupted sheet . . .

The waterfall was named “Beautiful Cascade” and later “Handsom[e] Falls” by Lewis, but was given its present name by Thomas B. Roberts, a railroad engineer, in 1872. — From Wikipedia

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