Thursday, August 3, 2017


Entrance of the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center


We have reached Nebraska and have set up camp in Greenwood, a small rural town about 35 miles from Omaha. The Missouri River provides the border between Iowa and Nebraska with Omaha on one side of the river and Council Bluffs on the other.

The mouth of the Platte River enters the Missouri south of the city of Omaha.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition had been traveling for 68 days and had covered 600 miles to reach this point.
The Platte is a wide and shallow river full of sandbars. The water moves quickly through those obstructions and is said to be difficult to navigate.

The Platte River, shallow and full of sandbars enters the Missouri here.
The Missouri River 
We found a close up view of the confluence of the rivers at the Schilling Refuge near Plattesmouth, Nebraska. The differences in the river were very apparent when we paid attention to the boat traffic. Fishermen and boaters enjoying the Missouri used high performance boats with traditional inboard or outboard engines. Those cruising the Platte had air boats.
William Clark made note of the fast current and the quantity of sand pushed into the Missouri by the Platte.

“The current of this river comes with great velosity roleing its Sands into the Missouri, filling up its Bead and Compelling it to encroach on the S Shore.  We found great dificuelty in passing around the Sand at the Mouth of this River”

Once past the sandy obstruction they continued upriver for about 10 miles to the Omaha area and made camp for several days.
Walking the "Bob" is a Thing to do in Omaha.

Omaha’s Riverfront is pretty spectacular. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center and the Midwest Regional Headquarters of the National Park Service are on Riverfront Drive. Walking paths line both sides of the Missouri and the Bob Kerry walking bridge connects them.

Lewis and Clark Landing on the Omaha Riverfront commemorates their stopping point which they called White Catfish Camp. The course of the river has changed over the last 250 years through flooding, dams and flood control measures. The original site of the encampment is believed by archaeologists to be near the current Eply field.
William Clark made note of good fishing in these waters including “three very large catfish caught here, one nearly white”.

Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, 3 floors dedication to the expeditions scientific research.
The Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Nebraska City focuses its exhibits on the scientific observations and discoveries of the expedition.
There are displays of the plants, birds and animals that the Corps encountered as well as an unusual fish exhibit.
Native American students from High Schools in Montana and Nevada designed the exhibit which identifies fish from the explorers descriptions.
The exhibit also describes the methods that would have been used to catch the fish in that time period.

Meriwether Lewis noted the presence of Prairie Dogs here as well as bear, swans and white pelicans so plentiful that the river was full of their feathers for miles.

White Catfish Camp was also the base of operations for the first council that Lewis and Clark would have with Indian nations. They sent out messengers to request a meeting with Otoe and Missouri chiefs but were disappointed to learn that the tribes had left their earth lodge villages for a Summer buffalo hunt.
Lewis and Clark were not able to speak with main tribal leaders but Meriwether Lewis did meet with about 100 members of the Otoe and Missouri tribes including some lesser chiefs, telling them of the US government’s claim to the Missouri River and opening negotiations for peaceful coexistence.

“A pt of  Otteau and Missourie Nation came to Camp, among these indians 6 were Chiefs (not the principal Chiefs)  Capt Lewis and myself met with those Indians and informed them we were glad to see them...sent them some roasted meat, Pork, flour and meal, in return they sent us Water millions...every man on his guard and ready for anything”

Fred on the bluff at the Lewis and Clark Monument in Council Bluffs, Iowa
This meeting took place at Council Bluff, a high ridge overlooking the Missouri River. The exact location is not known but is thought to be at Fort Calhoun in Nebraska. We sought a similar  vantage point on the Iowa side of the river in the city of Council Bluffs. There a Lewis and Clark Monument is set on the edge of a hill with the river valley far below. The view is spectacular. We were looking over the city of Omaha but imagining what it must have been like to see nothing but prairie grasses to the horizon.

"Captain Lewis and myself walked in the prarie on the top of the bluff and observed the most butiful prospects imagionable, this prarie is covered with grass about 10 or 12 inch rich rises about 1/2 mile back something higher and is a plain as fur as can be seen"

The Lewis and Clark Monument is a stop on the Lewis and Clark Monument Trail, a 4 1/2 mile bike trail that runs through Omaha. The trail is marked by stone and mosaic art pieces that indicate points of interest.

Stone and mosaic pillars on the Lewis and Clark Monument Trail.

This mosaic on one of the large pillars depicts the expedition in the Keel boat and pirogues.

Moccasin design in the stone pillar.

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center
Lewis and Clark Landing
601 Riverfront Drive
Omaha, Nebraska

Lewis and Clark Monument
19962 Monument Rd
Council Bluffs, Iowa

Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
100 Valmont Dr
Nebraska City, Nebraska

Mouth of the Platte River
17614 Schilling Refuge Rd
Plattesmouth, Nebraska
This is a one lane rutted dirt and gravel road along the river we didn't need the 4WD but were glad of the Jeeps high clearance..

The Missouri River overlook at the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center


  1. Yet another excellent history lesson. Can't wait to make a trip to Omaha. Their Zoo is on the list for one. Home to Boys Town and the landing spot for many Italian Americans. I've got a grandfather buried there.

    Never new it had much Louis and Clark history.

  2. Omaha was great Mark. I think you and Karen will really enjoy it. We didn't get to the zoo this trip but heard that it's a great place when the temperatures are cooler. There are a lot of great restaurants in the old Market District. We ate at Gerda's. It's a German bakery and diner style restaurant with great food. Nice casual atmosphere.