Parque Natural Mexiquillo


Badlands National Park

It was a great day to visit. Puffy white clouds dragging dark shadows across the land. Water began carving these jagged hills out of a flat flood plain just 500,000 years ago.

Cycles of wet - dry, swelling - shrinking created popcorn soil

Pronghorns came this way.

Prairie Dog town goes on for miles.


The Sunset

We enjoyed a pleasant cruise on the Missouri today.

Tight fit


Pierre South Dakota

Overlooking the Missouri River at lovely Griffin Park. Electrical with a dump/fresh water station for $16. Free dry camping in parking lot to the West. 44.357521, -100.342078

Great day for a paddle.

Site of Sioux village at confluence of the  Missouri and Bad Rivers

 Lewis and Clark 

The Corps of Discovery struggled up this stretch of the Missouri from September 24 - 29, 1804. Here encountered the Teton Sioux. Thy called themselves Lakota, or "dwellers of the prairie", but French traders were using the name learned from the Chippewa, "Sioux," which meant enemy. The captains greeted three chiefs, Black Buffalo, Partisan, and Buffalo Medicine. After the ceremonial pipe and the giving of medals and other presents, Black Buffalo wanted more presents before he would allow the Corps of Discovery to pass up river. After a stand off of frontiersmen armed with long rifles, small cannon and two swiveling blunderbusses against the  Indians' bow and arrows, Black Buffalo backed down and the Sioux became generous hosts.  Journal entry


Ashfall Fossil Beds

I took a side trip to view these amazing fossil beds. I have read about them for years and now I finally get to see them. Twelve million years ago a menagerie of animals were drinking at the local water hole when the ash began to fall. The birds and turtles died first, followed by the mid size animals and finally the large rhinoceroses. The ash had been ejected into the atmosphere by the Yellowstone Hotspot.

How it may have looked 12 million years ago

The yellow flag marks the site of the first baby rhinoceros fossil spotted eroding out of a creek bank in 1971. The red flags mark the perimeter of the productive dig site. In the foreground are unproductive test trenches.

Large land turtles like this, some weighing 500 pounds or more, are common fossils in Nebraska. Most are not as complete as this one.

In 2009 a new 18,000 square foot barn replaced a smaller barn to protect the fossils from weather and scavengers. 

It is estimated that it will take 15 to 20 to excavate to the far end of the barn.

The Barrel-Bodied Rhinos are the most abundant large animal exposed during this dig. They may have formed large herds with dominate males commanding harems. 

The long, slender legs of this three-toed horse show that it was a fast runner. The large functional "side hooves" (on on each side of the main hoof) suggest that it was a good dodger as well and perhaps was better at dealing with soft, treacherous grind than the single-toed horses.

The bizarre "horned rodent's" huge claws and small eye sockets suggest that they spent most of their time digging underground burrows and eating plant roots. This evolutionary line died out 5 million years ago

These are only a few of the many interesting animals being recovered here. There are camels, elephants, "bear dog", many bird species and a 200 lb beaver

A wonderful day


Lewis & Clark State Park

The Corps of Discovery camped here August 9, 1804. 

"The fog being thick detained us until half pasd. 7 oClockat at which time we Set out and proceeded on under a Gentle Breeze from the SE  I walked on Shore, Saw an Elk, crossed a Istmust of 3.4 of a mile to the river & returned to the boat   camped on the Larboard Side above a Beaver Den. Musqutors verry troubleson."

Keel  Boat replica with outboard motor hidden in the cabin

Fish Camp

A few miles south of present day Sioux City the Corps of Discovery made camp from August 13th to the 19th. Clark called it 'Fish camp because they caught over 1,100 fish.
August 16th
"Capt Lewis took 12 men & went to the Pond & Crek between Camp and the old Village and Cought upwards of 800 fine fish, 79 Pike, [WC: resembling Trout 8 fish resembg Salmon Trout] [7] 8 Salmon, 1 Rock, 1 flat Back, 127 Buffalow & red horse 4 Bass & 490 Catt. with many Small Silver fish [WC: & Scrimp]"

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

The Sioux City center is outstanding. Wonderful dioramas brimming over with information.

President Jefferson's animation greets the visitors

Trade goods

Peace medals were given to local chiefs. 

Private Moses Reed deserted taking with him a rifle, powder and shot. On August 17, 1804 three chiefs and six warriors of the Otoe/Missouria tribe arrived at camp with Reed. Private Reed pleaded guilty to deserting. He also admitted to stealing a rifle and ammunition. He asked for leniency. 

Though he could have been sentenced to death, the captains sentenced him to run the gauntlet four times. He had to walk between two lines of soldiers who were armed with whips and other weapons. The soldiers hit him as he walked by them.  Clark's Journal

Captains Lewis & Clark, and
Sergeant John Ordway sit in judgment.

Charles Floyd died on this section of river. It happened on August 20th 1804. He was the only man lost on the Corps of Discovery's excursion west into the unknown. 
Clark diagnosed the condition which led to Floyd's demise as bilious colic, though modern doctors believe Floyd's death was more likely to have been caused by a ruptured appendix.  Clark's Jounal

Lewis & Clark animatrons speak at floyd's buria

Lewis briefly trained under Philadelphia's Dr. Benjamin Rush, the pre-eminent physician of his day.
The medicine chest contained essential instruments, including a "clyster" syringe for enemas; a bullet probe for extracting a lead ball; a saw for amputations (never used); and an extractor for pulling teeth.
Cutting a vein and allowing the patient's blood to drain into a bowl often was a doctor's first remedy, whether a patient had a fever or broken bone.

Clark's medical kit


Brownville to Omaha

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Nebraska City, NE is a beautiful structure that has very little information on the Corps of Discovery. Most exhibits are geared toward children.

This keel boat was donated to the center after being used in a film about Lewis and Clark

The Corps of Discovery passed here July 19th or 20th. Clark's Journal

First Council

On August 3, 1804 near this spot the Corps of Discovery met with the chiefs and members of the Oto and Missouri Tribes. Once the group gathered, Meriwether Lewis talked for a long time about president Thomas Jefferson's hopes for peace and trading partnerships with the tribes. The chiefs also delivered speeches. All of which need translation. A demonstration followed in which Lewis fired an air gun that he said "astonished the natives." Lewis and Clark presented gifts, including medals, cloths, gunpowder, whiskey and face paint. Before the Indians left they smoked he peace pipe and shared food and whiskey with the American visitors.

The expedition spent almost two months in 1804 pulling its three boats up the Missouri River segment the now forms the eastern boundary of Nebraska. On their return downstream two years later they canoed the same stretch of river in on week.


Travel Day

The Corps of Discovery passed this way July 7th 1804.  Journal entry.

Today was a leisurely 68 mile drive up river from St. Joseph, MO to Brownville, NE. The Corps of Discovery struggled for eight days covering this section of the Missouri back in July of 1804.

"In the first bend to the left (location of present day Big Lake State Park) is Situated a Butifull & extensive plain, cover'd with Grass resembling Timothy except the Seed which resembles Flax Seed, this plain also abounds in Grapes of different Kinds Some nearly ripe"
William Clark, July 12, 1804

Big Lake MO

On its way upriver the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped two nights, July 11-12, on a sand island a short distance south of here

The next morning, July 13, the boats worked their way around a bend that is today's Big Lake. Now isolated from the river, it is the largest oxbow lake in Missouri. 

Brownville NE