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June 12, 2002

Amazing Day

CanoeAfter my presentation this morning, we toured three different sites related to the Lewis and Clark expedition. First stop was the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center were we were greeted by the director and had a lunch of sloppy joes made with buffalo meat. One of the most impressive exhibits is a recreation of one of the dugout canoes made by the explorers on the trip. The canoes were dug out of a cottonwood tree and were 30 feet long. The men made 6 of these in a 22 day period!

Then on to Fort Mandan, a recreation of the place built by the expedition as they wintered here. It was here that Lewis and Clark met Sakakawea, and were helped in surviving the weather by the Mandan people whose village was across the river.

Earth Lodge

Then onward to Sakakawea's home, the Knife River Villages, which were abandoned when the tribes were devastated by smallpox in the 1830s. They've recreated an earth lodge like the dozens that once stood here. Each one housed 10-20 people and they kept their best two horses in there as well.

riverThe village was built alongside the Knife River. We walked along trying to imagine what it was like in 1804. The weather couldn't have been better: a cool breeze, deep blue skies filled with great cumulus clouds.

A good trip in good company, and a very long day. I was asleep by 9.