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Lewis & Clark Intrepretive Center


After our "Sextants to Satellites" expedition in Salmon, we wanted to see more about the Lewis and Clark expedition and thought that the interpretive center in Great Falls would be a good place to go. It was well worth the effort, as the exhibits are excellent, and provide a very informative and complete view into what Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery accomplished.

Great Falls is also the site of the 18 mile "Portage" around the five falls. The falls have been reduced to a trickle by the dams and the drought, so when viewing them you must use your powers of imagination to a great extent. All in all, the visit is worth while, even if you can't see it as Lewis and Clark did.

The picture is what the Great Falls looks like today. With the dams holding back the water, it is hard to imagine what they looked like to the Corps of Discovery.

Black Eagle Falls Rainbow Falls

Left: Black Eagle Falls, the farthest upstream that had to be portaged.
Right: Rainbow Falls

Great Falls Giant Springs

Left: The Great Falls
Right: Giant Springs on the bank of the Missouri - Flows at a rate of 134,000 GPM and was observed by L&C.

Ulm Pishkun


A "Pishkun" is a buffalo jump. The local indians used to harvest buffalo by running them off a high cliff. Those buffalo that "jumped" were killed and then used by the indians for food and shelter. The indians could not exist without the buffalo, as they used the hide for clothing and shelter and the meat as food. In fact almost the entire buffalo was used to provide many of the necessities of life for the indians.

The picture is the Ulm Pishkun just south of Great Falls. It is a State Park with an exhibit that explains the Pishkun and many of the associated activities of the indians and their dependency on the buffalo.

Top of the Ulm Pishkun Looking down to the Vistors Center

Left: This is the top of the pishkun where the buffalo were forced to jump.
Right: Looking back down to the Visitors Center. The reverse of the picture above.

Buffalo drive

Custer at the Little Bighorn


We camped in Hardin and visited the site of the Little Bighorn Battlefield. This is where Custer fought the Lakota and Cheyenne in the Battle of the Little Bighorn (aka "Custer's Last Stand"). This site is a US National Monument and is very well done and also very popular, judging by the number of visitors. There are ongoing talks that give a rather good understanding of the whys and hows of the battle.

The entire battlefield has been excavated and documented by several teams of archeologists. You can roam around the several miles of the site and find tablets showing what happened to who and how it related to the overall battle. This exhibit is very informative as to what actually happened and why Custer's attack on the indians resulted in a counter attack that wiped out his entire force.

The picture to the right is of a painting called "Call of the Bugle" and shows Custer and his men at their "Last Stand" in the area near the top of the ridge shown in the picture to the left below.

The bodies of over 220 participants of the battle are buried around the monument seen at the top of the hill.

Site of final battle Markers of where individuals were found

Left: Site of the final battle depicted in the painting above.
Right: Markers showing where individuals were found. The Black faced marker is Custer's.

The fallen indians are also marked Sculpture at indian memorial

Left: A marker that shows the location of one of the indians killed in the battle.
Right: There is a beautifully done memorial to the indians at the site that contains this sculpture.

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