THE DATE WAS SEPTEMBER 23, 1806
It was on this date that Lewis and Clark returned to St. Louis after their incredible journey up the Missouri River and all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back. The journey lasted some 28 months and covered 8,000 miles.
The two explorers spent more than a month in what is now Great Falls having to slowly work their way around the waterfalls of the Missouri River. Crews had to push, drag and carry equipment on land and around five waterfalls. Clark wrote in his diary about what is known today as Rainbow Damn by calling it, "Beautiful Cascade."
In their diaries both talked about encounters with grizzly bears with most of those being in what is today, Montana. They even reported running into a grizzly as far east as central present day South Dakota. Lewis called the grizzly, "a most tremendous looking animal." He said they killed one grizzly and it took ten shots to bring the bear down.
It was President Thomas Jefferson that approved the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Both Lewis and Clark received 16,000 acres of land and about $3,000. Those working on the expedition were given 320 acres each. The federal cost of the expedition totaled $38,000.
Their guide through the northwest was Sacagawea of the Shoshone Tribe. She was pregnant at the time and gave birth to a son during the trip. She later died in December of 1812 of putrid fever. Clark later cared for her son.
So, how much meat did they consume on the 8,000 mile trip? According to Clark's diary they would consume four deer a day or an elk and a deer or one buffalo in a 24-hour period for the 45 members of the crew. Clark said this amounted to about nine pounds of meat a day for each.
The Lewis and Clark exhibition helped strengthen America's claim to the west thanks to Sacagawea and several tribes that helped guide them on their journey. They also inspired countless other explorers and pioneers.
And if you have not already been to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center near Giant Springs State Park in Great Falls, you should do it.