2020 Corp Of Discovery - Montana to Oregon

Road Scholar 22207


Embark on an adventure of learning and discovery as you follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, exploring Great Falls, Hell’s Canyon and historic Middle Village and Station Camp. This is a combination land and cruise (7 nights) trip. It is noticeably different from the L&C St. Louis to Portland trip which is all land.

At a Glance: Charged with the task of finding a water route across North America, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out on their historic 18-month expedition in 1804. Pick up their westward route near the Continental Divide, where in the fall of 1805, their Corps of Discovery traveled along the Snake and Columbia Rivers. On land and by riverboat, voyage from Montana through Idaho to Washington and Oregon, learning about important expedition sites. Enriching lectures with an onboard historian provide an in-depth perspective of this monumental expedition.

On Your Feet: Optional walks up to 1.5 miles; uneven or slippery terrain. Elevation up to 5,500 feet.

Best of all, you'll ...
* Voyage into Hells Canyon, North America’s deepest river gorge.
* Explore Middle Village and Station Camp, where Lewis and Clark stayed for 10 days before departing for an overland trek to the Pacific.
* Follow the infamous Portage Route, where the Corps of Discovery experienced a month-long trial to determine the best route around the Great Falls.


Day 1 - Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Great Falls, MT
Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m. Program Check-in: come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your up-to-date schedule reflecting any last-minute changes.

In our private meeting space at the hotel, enjoy a plated three-course meal. Orientation: The Group Leader will review the up-to-date schedule, and answer questions.

This is a Road Scholar Adventures Afloat program. In addition to lectures and field trips exclusively for our Road Scholar group, you are invited to take advantage of activities and events aboard ship that are separate from the Road Scholar program.

Throughout the program, we will be accompanied by a Study Leader who will present educational content. During the land portion, all transportation will be provided via motorcoach unless specified otherwise. All routes, field trips, and excursions are subject to change as weather and river conditions may affect the itinerary. River conditions could affect the progress of the ship, making it run late and sometimes miss ports because it is not safe to dock. Hotel: Best Western Heritage Inn (2 nights)

Day 2 - C.M. Russell Museum, Portage Overlook, Lewis & Clark Lecture
Activity note: We will be getting on/off our motorcoach numerous times each day. There will be a hikes up to one mile almost daily during the motorcoach portion of the program. While on the American Empress (Abominable Peasant), some land transportation will be provided via Hop On/Hop Off buses operated by the ship.

Setting out from the hotel via motorcoach with our study leader, we will explore several locations important to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, including Decision Point Park, Fort Benton and Ryan Dam. We'll then head to the C.M. Russell Museum. This is where the Old West lives on- in one of America’s finest museums of American Western art. It is also home of the most complete collection of Charles Marion Russell's artwork and memorabilia in the world. Known as the "Cowboy Artist", Russell's artwork is part entertainment, part history lesson. In a fascinating presentation, learn about the life of this cowboy, outdoorsman, writer, philosopher, environmentalist, conservationist, artist and passionate Plains Indians advocate. Following the presentation you'll be free to explore the museum on your own.

Lunch is served at the Au Wah Cous Room at the C.M. Russell Museum. After lunch we'll visit the Portage Overlook and then follow the infamous Portage Route, where the Corps of Discovery experienced a grueling, month-long trial to determine the best route around the falls, which became a serious underestimation on their part. After the tour we'll depart for the hotel.

After dinner, we will begin our lecture series on Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, the Lewis and Clark Expedition departed the western border of the United States – what was then the Mississippi River – in May 1804 for the Pacific Northwest, sighting the Pacific Ocean on November 7, 1805. Throughout the journey, they established relations with more than two dozen groups of Native Americans, mapped their route, and established legal claim to the Pacific Northwest.

Day 3 - Giant Springs, Buffalo Jump, Lewis & Clark Center, Helena, MT
Activity note: Total driving time is approximately 2.5 hours. Checking out of the hotel, we will board the motorcoach for Rainbow Falls Overlook, followed by a stop at Giant Springs. It was here in 1805 that Lewis and Clark “discovered” one of the largest freshwater springs in the country - flowing at a rate of 156 million gallons of water per day!

We will enjoy a catered lunch. After lunch we'll stop at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park - the largest bison cliff jump in North America. Learn how native people used buffalo jumps for hunting. For centuries, native peoples would stampede buffalo off of the mile-long cliff with tribe members waiting below to finish the kills. In some areas at the base of the cliff, there are up to 18 feet of compacted buffalo skeletons. Afterward, we'll head to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center to explore and learn more about the Corps of Discovery’s journey west. After exploring the Interpretive Center, we will board the motorcoach and head on to Helena to our next hotel.

After dinner at the hotel, we will have a lecture about the history of the area, and the local tribes' connection with Lewis and Clark. Hotel: Radisson Colonial Hotel (1 night)

Day 4 - Gates of the Mountains, Trading Post, Missoula, MT
Activity note: Total driving time is approximately 2.5 hours.

This morning we'll board the motorcoach and head to the State Capitol Building in Helena, set amid 10 acres of spacious lawns. With our Study Leader, we will explore the handsome capitol building, which was completed in 1902. Among its many beautiful paintings is C.M. Russell's magnificent historical depiction of Lewis and Clark meeting the Indians at Ross' Hole on September 5, 1805. Boarding our motorcoach, we will have a short ride to Gates of the Mountains - the name bestowed by Meriwether Lewis in July 1805 - where we will board a boat for a field trip along the Missouri River to view wooded slopes and towering walls of limestone that Lewis and Clark would still recognize today. High above are bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Keep an eye out for eagles and some 120 other species of bird life. The canyon is home to creatures such as beavers, black bears, deer, ermine, mountain lions, otters, squirrels and more (these animals may or may not be visible during our cruise).

At the Gates of the Mountains Pavilion, enjoy a sandwich with chips, etc. Following lunch we'll board our motorcoach to head west to Missoula. During the trip we'll make a stop at the Hi-Country Jerky Trading Post for a brief opportunity to stretch your legs and explore. More than just a typical trading post, it is also home to the Upper Blackfoot Valley Historical Society; there are many artifacts on display.

At the hotel, enjoy a catered, multi-course meal. Hotel: Broadway Inn (1 night)

Day 5 - Travelers Rest, Lolo Summit, Canoe Camp, Nez Perce Park / EMBARK – 7 nights
Activity note: Elevation up to 5,233 ft. Walking at the parks and visitors center. Total driving today is approximately 5 hours.

This morning we'll visit Travelers’ Rest State Park, where the expedition camped September 9-11, 1805 and June 30-July 3, 1806. Continue to learn about Lewis and Clark and how they stopped here on both portions of their trip. On the return journey the Corps of Discovery separated into two parties as to allow one group to explore Yellowstone country. In 2002, archaeologists found evidence of a latrine and central fire of a Corps camp. This is the second of the two sites with physical confirmation of the group's visit. Next, we will head to Lolo Summit and explore the Lolo Pass Visitor's Center. A National Historic Landmark, Lolo Pass was traversed by the Corps on their westward journey. Also used by the Nez Perce people, the Lolo Trail was known as “naptnišaqs” or “Nez Perce Trail” in Salish. Afterward, we'll continue to the Lochsa Lodge.

We'll enjoy a catered lunch at Lochsa Lodge featuring a choice of salad or sandwich, etc. After lunch, we will have a rest stop at Canoe Camp. This is where the expedition camped and built five canoes for their journey down the Clearwater, Snake and Columbia Rivers. It was here that the expedition finally reached navigable waters after hardships in the Bitterroot Mountains. At Nez Perce National Historical Park, we will learn about the ways of the Nez Perce people and view a sample canoe. The Nez Perce called themselves Nimi'ipuu, which means “real people” or “we the people.” Nimi'ipuu oral history records their presence in these lands since time immemorial. More than any other group in their travels, the Corps of Discovery became friendliest with the Nez Perce, who gave them assistance at their most desperate time in the expedition in the autumn of 1805. In return, Lewis and Clark promised a productive relationship with the U.S. government (promises the government never kept as it pursued a policy of Manifest Destiny). Still, in 1806 when the expedition returned, they were welcomed by the Nez Perce. Next we'll continue on to the Port of Clarkston, where we'll board our “Cattle Barge” for the next 7 nights (5th through 11th) to begin our river portion of the journey.

Each evening, we are REQUIRED to dine at a specific time in The Astoria Dining Room with 5-course plated meals.

Day 6 - Hells Canyon Jet Boat, Lewis & Clark Lecture
For breakfasts, the River Bar & Grill offers a breakfast buffet featuring a wide variety of items.

Leaving early in the morning, we will ride on a jet boat with commentary by onboard expedition staff for a full day field trip. Hells Canyon is North America's deepest river gorge at 7,993 feet. Protected as a National Recreation Area since 1975, it preserves a world of fascinating natural and cultural elements. Vertical cliffs carved by the river now hem in the rushing waters. Watch dramatic scenery unfold as we jet upriver. We'll watch for big horn sheep and hawks throughout the journey. Along the route we will view petroglyphs; reminders of the Nez Perce people that were the earliest inhabitants of the canyon. On the jet boat we'll have a snack of cookies and lemonade to tide us over until lunch back aboard the ship.

For lunches, onboard the ship, choose between a plated meal in the Astoria Dining Room or a buffet in the River Bar & Grill. Following lunch, we will have an afternoon lecture on Lewis & Clark, led by our Study Leader.

Day 7 - Sacajawea State Park, Palouse Falls
With our staff historian, we will depart the American Empress via Road Scholar exclusive motorcoach and head to Sacajawea Historical State Park and Interpretive Center. It offers fascinating exhibits with additional details on the Lewis & Clark expedition. At this location the Columbia and Snake rivers converge. You will also have some free time to experience the Confluence Project: “Here, where rivers meet and indigenous people once gathered, the Confluence Project explores the intersection of environment, cultures and a regional history that reaches back many hundreds of years.” Working with Pacific Northwest tribes, landscape artists and architects, and local civics groups, renowned artist Maya Lin has designed installations that draw from Lewis and Clark’s journey as well as the region's natural and indigenous peoples’ history. The project stretches more than 300 miles, referencing passages from the Lewis and Clark's journals at seven unique sites that each feature a different art installation by Ms. Lin. After our time at the Sacajawea Historical State Park and Interpretive Center, we will return to the ship.

After lunch we'll again board our exclusive motorcoach for an opportunity to visit and explore the Palouse River and majestic Palouse Falls. Along the way we'll take in the natural beauty and look for some of the diverse wildlife that inhabit the area.

Day 8 - Columbia River Gorge Cruising
Today we will remain on the ship cruising through the area. We will see picturesque canyon walls, mountains and fertile fields as we learn about the Corps of Discovery's trip through this area from our Study Leader and onboard expedition staff. As we continue through this area of vertical canyons and scenic views, we'll continue our study of the Corps of Discovery, with a lecture about the people of the Lewis & Clark expedition.

Day 9 - Maryhill Museum of Art, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
Known as the end of the Oregon Trail, The Dalles has long been a destination point for pioneers and adventurers alike. This morning we will have a fairly boring (repeat) visit the Maryhill Museum, whose collections are housed in a castle-like chateau situated on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. The museum offers an eclectic collection of Native arts, European paintings and the Queen of Romania's personal effects.

At the Discovery Center, enjoy a plentiful buffet. After lunch we will explore the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, whose interactive displays bring to life the volcanic upheavals and historic floods that created the Columbia River Gorge. After receiving an introduction from a Discovery Center staff member, we will tour the museum. Under the National Scenic Act in 1986, the incredible natural and cultural history of the region was protected to help preserve the magnificent landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, ancient Indian rock art and more.

Day 10 - Columbia Gorge, Bonneville Dam, Crown Point, Multnomah Falls
Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile throughout the day.

We will make port in Stevenson, on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. After breakfast, we'll board our Road Scholar exclusive motorcoach and head to the Bonneville Dam where we'll be lead on a guided tour of the dam and powerhouse. Bonneville Dam, completed in 1938, is a hydroelectric generator for the surrounding cities. Our guide will tell us about its progression and improvements over time and the exhausting building project that encountered numerous obstacles due to the unique geology of the area. Its fish ladders offer a unique way for the dam to assist spawning salmon to pass through the dam to the upstream river. This ladder has a viewing area allowing you to see the salmon passing by as they are counted. After touring Bonneville Dam we'll head back to the ship for lunch.

This afternoon we'll set off for a breathtaking drive aboard a Road Scholar exclusive motorcoach along America’s most scenic stretch of highway. Our Study Leader will offer in-depth commentary while we imagine the trials of the Corps of Discovery as they continued their journey on the river below. The Historic Columbia River Highway was built in 1913 and specially designed to complement the regions stunning landscape without interrupting it. A National Historic and Engineering Landmark, we will ride into the mountains towards Crown Point with an opportunity to stop at the Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint for spectacular views of the gorge. Continuing to Crown Point, we will hope for clear skies for a spectacular panoramic view of the river and the 13 million year old gorge. Returning to the coach, we will journey back down the highway to the American Empress.

Day 11 - Cape Disappointment, Ft. Clatsop, Maritime Museum, Free Time
Activity note: Walking up to 1-1/2 miles.

Having reached the west coast, Astoria was the Corps’ final stop before setting out for their journey back to the east. Via Road Scholar exclusive motorcoach we will visit Middle Village and Station Camp, where the Corps spent ten days in November of 1805 before departing for the overland trek to finally view the Pacific Ocean. Then, set off for Cape Disappointment, which overlooks the confluence of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean; it was here where the Corps finally reached the Pacific coastline. The cape was named for a British trader in 1788 who turned his ship around due to poor weather just north of the cape and thus, just missed the discovery of the Columbia River. We'll then head to Fort Clatsop, where the Lewis & Clark expedition spent the harsh winter of 1805-1806 after realizing no ship was coming to pick them up and take them east.

Following lunch we'll take a short walk to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Founded in 1962, the Columbia River Maritime Museum has become one of the top maritime museums in the country, with the mission of preserving the maritime heritage of the Columbia River region and the Pacific Northwest. Visitors can explore the Lightship Columbia- a National Historic Landmark. It was the final lightship to be moored at the mouth of the Columbia River. Visitors can also roam the museum’s collection of more than 30,000 items, experience what it was like to pilot a tugboat in the tugboat simulator, and hear stories of Coast Guard rescues on the Columbia River Bar. Following the museum visit, we'll board the Hop On/Hop Off bus to visit the Astoria Column and then everyone will be free to explore Astoria for the rest of the afternoon.

Enjoy a farewell dinner onboard the ship. Be sure to take some time to ready yourselves for departure in the morning.

Day 12 - Disembark, Portland, OR, Goodbye Dinner, Closing Program
Activity note: Disembarkation at 7:30 a.m. Walking tour of approximately 1-1/2 miles.

We will disembark the ship and transfer to our hotel, where we'll put our luggage in a locked storage room. We'll depart the hotel on foot and join a local expert for an exploration of Portland. Be prepared to learn some interesting and fun facts about this city formerly called Stumptown as our expert will provide commentary on the city’s history, art, architecture, bridges and other subjects. We will end the walk at "Big Pink" (the U.S. Bancorp Tower) where we'll enjoy a Lunch buffet at the Portland City Grill. After lunch you will have free time to explore Portland on your own before our final evening's dinner.

We will have our final dinner in a private meeting room at our hotel. The Group Leader will lead a closing program. Hotel: Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront

Day 13 - Portland, OR, Program Concludes
After breakfast the program concludes.

2019 Dates: May 16, June 9 & 27, July 7, 21, and 25, Aug 4, and Sep 19