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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Lolo in Missoula County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Lewis and Clark on Lolo Creek

“verry bad passing...”

 
 
Lewis and Clark on Lolo Creek Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 10, 2018
1. Lewis and Clark on Lolo Creek Marker
Inscription. West bound, the trip up Lolo Creek was the start of a remarkably arduous and life-threatening part of the expedition's journey. Eastbound, the passage down Lolo Creek represented victory over one of the most formidable barriers to cross-country travel they had encountered.

Heading West: September 11-22, 1805

When Meriwether Lewis reached the Continental Divide south of the Bitterroot Valley on August 12, 1805, he expected to see a plain descending toward the Pacific Ocean; instead, the dream of a Northwest Passage was shattered when he saw
"immence ranges of high mountains still to the West of us."
The captains enlisted the services of a Shoshone guide they called Old Toby, who told them of a rugged Indian road through the mountains leading to the west. They decided to give it a try.
Lewis and Clark had planned to be at the Pacific by this time, so they must have felt a growing sense of urgency when they saw the snow-covered mountains. The Corps of Discovery stopped for a few days just east of here at a place Lewis named Traveler's Rest, where they prepared for the difficult journey ahead. The expedition was about to face the last and most intense test of their abilities before reaching the Pacific.
The expedition left Traveler's Rest on September 11,
Lewis and Clark on Lolo Creek Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 10, 2018
2. Lewis and Clark on Lolo Creek Marker
1805, following a trail along the ridges above the brush-choked creek bottom. Clark's journal entry on September 22, 1805, described the road as
"verry bad passing over hills & thro' Steep hollows."
Several of the expedition's horses were injured when they rolled down steep hillsides. Snow fell, almost obliterating the trail and turning what had been a difficult journey into a nightmare. By the time they emerged from the mountains on September, 22, 1805, members of the expedition were plagued by diarrhea, skin rashes, lethargy, and other symptoms of malnutrition. They found themselves in the home of the Nez Perce, who generously assisted the expedition with their journey west.

Returning East: June 24-30, 1806

After wintering at Fort Clatsop near the Oregon Coast, the expedition came back across the Bitterroots, arriving at Traveler's Rest on June 30, 1806. The captains had decided earlier to split the group into two parties to explore more of the Louisiana Territory on their way home. Leaving Traveler's Rest on July 3, 1806, Captain Lewis lead nine mounted soldiers, seventeen horses, and his Newfoundland dog, Seaman north to the Clark Fork and up the Bitterroot River. Clark led the rest of the party south down the Bitterroot Valley. They promised to meet in a month at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers.


 
Erected by U.S. Forest Service.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition marker series.
 
Location. 46° 44.766′ N, 114° 10.35′ W. Marker is near Lolo, Montana, in Missoula County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 12, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 13442 U.S. Highway 12, Lolo MT 59847, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fort Fizzle (a few steps from this marker); Outwitted and Outflanked (within shouting distance of this marker); Pauses and Parleys (within shouting distance of this marker); Taking Cover... (within shouting distance of this marker); The "Soldiers' Corral" (within shouting distance of this marker); The Nez Perce Sikum (approx. 2.6 miles away); A Crossroads of Culture (approx. 4 miles away); Following Formation (approx. 4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lolo.
 
More about this marker. This marker is located at the Fort Fizzle Historic Site.
 
Also see . . .  Lolo Trail: Lewis and Clark Expedition -- National Park Service. Losing a bit of the energy that had carried him thus far, Clark noted, "I have been wet and as cold in every part as I ever was in my life, indeed I was at one time fearfull my feet would freeze in the thin Mockirsons which I wore" (DeVoto 1997, 240). (Submitted on September 10, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Categories. ExplorationRoads & Vehicles
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 10, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 10, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 40 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 10, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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