Phil Konstantin's 2003 Vacation: Page 2003 B - Nez Perce, Lewis and Clark areas: Kamiah to Lolo Pass, Idaho



Click on any of the pictures to see a larger version of it.




This is on Highway 12, north of Kamiah.
From the Lewis & Clark journal (May 17, 1806): " The Chopunnish are among the most amiable men we have seen. Their character is placid and gentle, rarely moved to passion, yet not often enlivened by gayety."

Click here for a NPS site about this area



The entry from my book: "1839: Asa Smith was a missionary. He moved to an area in Idaho (near modern Kamiah) in order to learn the Nez Perce language. There he met Nez leader Lawyer, who helped him."

A map of some of the ancient trails and modern highways in the area.



I could not travel along this route because this one lane road was covered in mud or snow.

This is in the small community of Weippe near the Nez Perce reservation in Idaho. Kamiah is in the Clearwater River valley. Weippe isto the east in the mountains on Highway 11.

This is the entry from my book for July 15, 1877: "In the Weippe Prairie east of Weippe, Idaho, the Nez Perce held a council to decide their movements. The army was still trying to force them to move to a reservation. They wished to stay free. Looking Glass said they should go east into Montana and join the crow. Chief Joseph (Hein-mot Too-ya-la kekt) suggested they wait for the army and fight it out in their own lands. Toohoolhoolzote joined Looking Glass in suggesting they move east into Montana. The tribe decided to move."


The elevation here is approximately 3,200 feet.
The sign says: "Journeying toward the Clearwater River, six men under William Clark met the Nez Perce Indians not far from here, September 20, 1805. Clark first saw three frightened Indian boys, who hid in the grass. Finding two, he reassured them with small presents and sent them forward to the village. The Indian people, though naturally somewhat nervous in greeting the first whites to reach their land, fed Clark's men. The next day, Clark collected a horse load of roots & 3 Sammon to send back to the main expedition."
From the Lewis & Clark journal: "...and at twelve miles distance descended the last of the Rocky mountains [Bitter-root ranges] and reached the level country. A beautiful open plain, partially supplied with pine, now presented itself. He continued for five miles, when he discovered three Indian boys who, on observing the party, ran off and hid themselves in the grass. Captain Clark immediately alighted, and giving his horse and gun to one of the men, went after the boys. He soon relieved their apprehensions, and sent them forward to a village about a mile off, with presents of small pieces of ribbon."

Another marker in Weippe.

"This marker was dedicated in 1957 to commemorate the arrival of the Lewis - Clark expedition at Weippe Prairie, Idaho September 23, 1805. Also to honor the momory of Dr. I.T. Moser who pioneered here in the 1890s and to honor the memory of his daughter Josephine Moser Porter who was born here. This marker is placed as a courtesy to Alice Whitman Chapter of D.A.R Lewiston. Ida. Placed by Estella Moser"



This field full of snow (it is May 18th, 2003) is where Lewis & Clark met the Nez Perce. The Nez Perce (or the Nee-me-poo, as the call themselves) were one of the few tribes who were immediately effected by their expedition. Many tribes barely noticed their passing.


I came back to Kamiah and then took the Lolo Trail (Highway 12) through the mountains into Montana. This is along the path of Lewis & Clark, which was an old Indian trail. I mention them so often because this is going to be big news for the next few years as the bicentennial commemoration continues. Many American Indian people will not see this as a celebration, as it marked the beginning of the end of freedom for the western tribes. While Lewis & Clark may have been friendly to the people they met, their mission (as stated by President Jefferson) was to let the Indians know that they were not the owners of their own lands. The Great White Fathers in the east were their new lords.



This is back on Highway 12, east of Kamiah.

Click here to see the NPS page on this location


"During General O.O. Howard's 1887 Nez Perce campaign, Looking Glass and his band were camped up Clear Creek near here. Looking Glass told Army authorities: Leave us alone. We are living here peacefully and want no trouble. But after a July 1 military attack that destroyed his village, ruined his gardens and captured 750 Nez Perce horses, Looking Glass and his band joined other Nez Perce refugees and soon headed for Montana's buffalo plains. Howard spent three more months pursuing Joseph, White Bird, Looking Glass and their warriors after that fiasco."

The Lochsa River, which follows Highway 12 for much of its route from the Nez Perce reservation to the Lolo Pass, is used by many kayakers and rafters.


This kayaker capsized just seconds after I took this picture. He did an "Eskimo roll" and righted himself a few seconds after that.


From the Lewis & Clark journal: "At an early hour we proceeded along the right side of the Kooskooskee, over steep, rocky points of land, till at the distance of four miles we reached an old Indian fishing-place." The sign says: "On their westbound journey, Lewis and Clark crossed here, September 15, 1805, after camping four miles upstream at Powell. Their Shoshoni guide had brought them down an old trail from Lolo Pass to a Lochsa fishery he knew about. To continue west, he had to take them north up this ridge to rejoin their Lolo Trail route. Indian travel through here had to go along high ridges because Lochsa Canyon had too many cliffs and gorges to provide a good horseback route."


Whitehouse Pond - "On their westbound journey, Lewis and Clark crossed here, September 15, 1805, after camping four miles upstream at Powell. Their Shoshoni guide had brought them down an old trail from Lolo Pass to a Lochsa fishery he knew about. To continue west, he had to take them north up this ridge to rejoin their Lolo Trail route. Indian travel through here had to go along high ridges because Lochsa Canyon had too many cliffs and gorges to provide a good horseback route."

"When Lewis and Clark came up this ridge, June 29, 1806, they ran into A shower of rain, with hail, thunder and lightning, that lasted about an hour. But they got out of deep Lolo Trail snow after they reached Rocky Point (directly across from here) and descended to Crooked Fork, below this turnout. They reported that then they ascended a very steep acclivity of a mountain about two miles crossing this highway here to reach their old trail to Lolo Pass."

Lolo Trail Crossing area.


It was a bit snowy at the Lolo Pass at 5,233 feet elevation (where Highway 12 passes from Idaho to Montana). "The Lewis and Clark party crossed this pass September 13, 1805, westbound for the Pacific after a long detour from the south. From the headwaters of the Missouri, they had crossed the mountains to the Salmon. Finding that river impassable, they traded for packhorses, hired an Indian guide and came north to an Indian trail across the mountains here. Tired and ill-fed, the men had a hard struggle in early snow along the steep ridges which the trail followed for most of its 125-mile course west to the Clearwater River."

The snow is coming down as I start to drive down the pass into Montana.

The entry from my book for July 24, 1877: "The Nez Perce crossed Lolo Summit on the border between Idaho and Montana."


The first of four pictures to show a large sign just east of the Lolo Pass, in Montana.

...part two...


...part three...


...part four...

Fort Fizzle sign. The white streaks are snow. Unfortunately, the pictures I took of the surrounding landscape did not come out. It was easy to see how the Nez Perce were able to circumvent the soldiers' "fort" here.
Click here to see the NPS page on this location

More of the Fort Fizzle sign.

The entry from my book for July 27, 1877: "Captain Charles Rawn had built a barricade across the Lolo Canyon, east of Lolo Pass, to block the Nez Perce from passing through the mountains into Montana from Idaho. Rawn talked with the Nez Perce. The Indians promised to pass peacefully through the Bitter Root Valley if the army left them alone. Captain Rawn said he would let them pass only if they left their firearms with him, according to army records. Both parties agreed to meet again the next day. Rawn had five other officers, thirty soldiers, and 150 local volunteers. When the volunteers heard the Nez Perce were willing to travel through the area peacefully, they decided that was the safest thing for everyone. The volunteers slowly abandoned their positions and left."

 

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