Kaw point, center, with the Missouri River on the left and the Kaw River on the right. Kansas City skyline in the center. Cottonwoods in the foreground. Below, same general view treeless. Lewis and Clark camped just a quarter mile to the left in this picture on their way west and their way back east.
Went down to the river today... the junction of the Missouri and the Kaw to photograph the ice floating by. Happened upon what I at first thought was a large hawk... turned out to be a juvenile Bald Eagle.. It had just caught something, couldn't tell what, and was enjoying a leisurely early dinner.
Saturday, while Lewis and Clarking, I noticed the river level was down somewhat. Not too surprising with the drought. Bank showing on the left with the wood pile is normally under water with the tree-line being the river's edge.. Taken from Kaw Point in Kansas City, Kansas.
The Lewis and Clark Discovery Expedition came back to Kaw Point this week and set up camp. Authentic to the bone in dress, habits, tools, and boats the re-enactors started their voyage in Plattesmith, Nebraska and will return to their base in St. Charles, Missouri on October 1st. Above is a cooking kettle and flag in the camp with the KC skyline in the background. The Expedition leaves Sunday morning for Ft. Osage and after that moves on to Lexington and points east.
The two pirogues tied up on the bank of the Kaw. Their were three on the first voyage to start out. They are much larger than I thought. 42 men were part of the original expedition. These craft frequently had to be rowed or polled even though equipped with sails. And often carried overland to avoid falls or other obstacles. Next images Cole, in white garment, explains the use of the craft.
Above, the large square engine (a modern requirement) is shown... below, Cole shows how the gear was stowed below decks.
It's not to hard to imagine the scene above without the skyline.... then you have what they saw in 1804.
Showing how the Captains kept their journals....
Captain Lewis studied medicine under Dr. Rush in Washington for three weeks prior to the beginning of the voyage. That training combined with his knowledge of herbal medicine he gained from his mother was all they had in the way of care on the whole trip. The most serious medical emergency was when Captain Clark was wearing his animal skins and was accidentally shot in the buttocks by one of the crew (true). He was eventually fine but had to travel on his stomach for a while.
Above, surgical knife used for amputations. One of the crew had to have some toes removed due to frostbite... but nothing more serious in the way of limb removal. Below are some of the herbal treatments that they had. Some had modern equivalents. Peruvian Bark below was used to treat malaria... and just happens to naturally contain quinine... When Sacajawea, their soon to be Indian guide, was having difficult labor at Ft. Mandan, Capt. Lewis was called upon to aid her in some way.
He had heard from a trapper the rattle from a rattlesnake powered and put in liquid would help. He instructed she be given that and it worked. Modern analysis showed that the powder contains one of the same chemical compounds used today to induce labor.
While the Expedition was essentially military in nature it was run by the Captains in a very democratic fashion with each member of the crew getting one vote... including York, the slave, and Sacajawea...
The first instance of voting by either in what would become the United States.
Making a "tinder nest" out of hemp. Create a kind of bird nest, then, using flint and the proper steel create sparks until you get a small ember. Put the ember in the tinder nest and close with your hands. Blow on it gently until, voila, fire....
Above, copperhead skin, below, rattle snake skin. If you absolutely have to get bitten, choose the copperhead.
The Mandan Indians were very helpful to the Expedition. At Ft. Mandan the crew took on Charbonneau and his wife Sacajawea. She was allowed to go along in order to help negotiate with her original tribe the Shoshone. In fact her brother was the Chief. She started on the journey with a 4-month old baby and made the journey, with child in tow, all the way to the west coast and back to Ft. Mandan. Her daughter and son were taken to St. Louis and educated there. She died, in only her twenties, just a few years after the expedition.