Did you know that the original Louisiana Purchase extended north into what are now the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada? When the French ceded its colony in Canada to the British, the boundary between the Hudson Bay territory and Louisiana wasn’t specified. There had seemed no need since there was little settlement in the area.
Of course, it wasn’t long before an agreement was reached to set the 49th parallel as the border between our two nations so this area was not long under the control of either Napoleon or the United States.
The confusion about borders certainly helps us see the kind of vast, uncharted area that Lewis and Clark faced when they began their famous expedition in May of 1804. Even now, driving through areas of present-day Montana can be a lonely road with acres of grazing cattle and few houses to be seen. Of course, there are cities like Great Falls there as well, that played a large role in their travels.
EJ loves maps and discovering where they will take us so living near enough to the Lewis and Clark Trail, we have made several road trips along it. Even in the winter he happily gets out of the nice warm vehicle to read the road side information signs.
We managed to visit a number of Lewis and Clark centers and points of interest on our drive to Florida a couple of years ago. I was amazed at how many of these spots there are but, unfortunately, they are not always easy to find. Yes, there is road signage but I have yet to find a good map laying them out. Perhaps I haven’t looked in the right spots yet.
Being able to visit these spots in person has helped make the Corps of Discovery feel real to EJ. On a recent visit to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center in Great Falls, MT, we were able to learn more about the personal side of the project. We learned about Sacajawea and even had a chance to try on a cradleboard like the one she carried her infant son on during the journey. There was another exhibit that explained how discussions had to be translated between a number of people since there was no one available who understood all the languages in the group. Quite a lot of work and organization it seemed.
We still have much to learn about the amazingly important (and interesting) period in the history of the United States and will continue to visit these and many more sites as we study this expedition. Admission to a number of the sites has been included in our America the Beautiful U.S. Parks pass but others are under the responsibility of local volunteer organizations so it’s always best to check ahead.
Kimberley Linkletter – After a 20-plus year career in politics and government, my life took a turn and I became a homeschooling gramma to our energetic and adventurous grandson EJ. There is nothing we like better than loading up our car and hitting the road to see what we can see. As my girls have always said, “Mom says everywhere is on the way to somewhere,” so we love to take detours along our route. You find some of the best places that way!
We keep busy reviewing homeschool products, visiting small town (and not so small town) diners and cafes, museums, National Parks, hotels, and campgrounds. EJ and I (Miss Kimmy to my friends) love to share our adventures with you here on Vintage Blue Suitcase.