In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark

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Published on: Oct. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

west, near the river's headwaters. Perhaps they moved to escape the hoards of "Musquetos & Small Ticks" that tormented the Corps' members here.

While camped at the Osage, Lewis and Clark saw several traders descending the river with a load of furs that hinted of the bounty of these lands. They also captured a wood rat along this stretch. It was the first of many western animal species first described by the expedition.

You can climb to the top of "Clark's Hill," which overlooks Smoky Waters Conservation Area, and still see both the Osage and Missouri rivers from Clark's vantage point.

In the vicinity of Jefferson City and the Carl R. Noren River Access, the keelboat lost its mast to a tree limb. Despite these difficulties, one member of the expedition described this area as "a Butifull peas of Land as I ever saw."

For the next three days, the Corps of Discovery passed through the Manitou Bluffs region. Public lands in this area include Marion Bottoms, Plowboy Bend, Eagle Bluffs, Overton Bottoms, Diana Bend and Franklin Island conservation areas.

Near Marion, Clark's servant, York, "Swam to the sand bar to geather greens for our Dinner and returned with a suffcient quantity wild Creases or Teng grass." Yellow cress, a native mustard seen commonly today, was an important addition to the crew 's diet. They mostly ate wild game.

Because of the vast changes in the river course since then, their camp on the night of June 5, 1804, is now in the middle of the current Marion Bottoms Conservation Area. At Eagle Bluffs, the river flowed beneath the bluffs along the present course of Perche Creek. Here Clark described a "pierced rock" in the bluff that one can access from the Katy Trail. The party next camped near Lewis and Clark Spring, also accessible from the Katy Trail, between Huntsdale and Rocheport.

On June 7, near present-day Rocheport, Clark described pictographs on the towering bluffs that gave rise to the local name, Manitou Bluffs.

Manitou Bluffs to the Kansas River

As Lewis and Clark left the mouth of Moniteau Creek near Rocheport, they began seeing major changes in the landscape. Now in a transition to the Great Plains, they saw their first sign of buffalo at salt licks along Petite Saline Creek. Vast prairies extended to the west. By the time the group reached the mouth of the Grand

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