Wednesday, June 30, 2010
June 26-27 Pierre, South Dakota
June 28 Fort Lincoln, Mandan, North Dakota,
Fort Mandan: The Expedition's first winter
June 29 Theodore Roosevelt National Park, N.D.
The photo of Lewis & Clark is at Fort Mandan,N.D., a reproduction because the original no longer exists. The Fort was built a few miles from Mandan and Hidatsa villages who were friendly and provided corn in exchange for axes that were made in the Fort by the blacksmith. Because of extensive Indian trading, one of those axes arrived in the Columbia River Gorge area before Lewis & Clark got there the following spring! There is a great interpretive center near Washburn, N.D. where I tried on a buffalo skin 'coat'. It was so heavy it was difficult to walk around in it. Also there was a cradle board with a doll baby that I tried to lift but it was very heavy. This would have been how Sacajawea carried Pomp (Jean Baptist Charbonneau) around on her back; she had to be a strong woman.
The photo of the keel boat is a reproduction of the main vessel that carried the Expedition's tons of goods upriver to Fort Mandan and then returned downstream in 1805 to carry the nature specimens and journals and notes up to that time to President Jefferson. This reproduction is on the waterfront in Bismarck, N.D.
Just the work of traveling even with all the improved technology that I have 200 years later, takes a toll. I find that everything must have a place and be returned to that place and be clean and in repair. Much of the Expedition's time must have been spent on this. Also, the journaling which was to take place every evening, was another job on the Trail. I find that sitting down and getting settled to write seems practically impossible with every day changing, sometimes arriving late at a camp site thinking more of food & sleep.
The past two nights I've spent in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The area is beautiful and environmenally pristine. The Park takes pride in it's thriving eco systems and clean air and clear skies. It is a little like Eden staying here. Driving along, buffalo come walking down the road toward me--and take little interest. Buffalo can run 35 mph and turn faster than a horse, so we tourists are cautioned to take it easy around the bison.
Pres. T. Roosevelt came out here as a Harvard graduate, city-bred, asthmatic, skinny and weak. He took to cowboy life, and became a changed man in about 3 years. He claimed that the Dakota Badlands brought him vitality & health. He was an avid reader and writer; always had a book with him. He was great conservationist; he is credited with saving 5 National Parks and many National Forests.