Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck Visit Missouri

After leaving St. Louis, Missouri our first stop was St. Charles.   St. Charles is a pretty town located on the banks of the Missouri River.

On the bank of the Missouri River.

Visiting Frontier Park we explored the old train station.

Picnic area at old St. Charles train station

Isn’t this a nice place for a picnic or to sit while eating lunch.   We enjoyed beautiful warm, sunny weather–perfect late summer and early fall days.  We ducks love to be on old trains.

St. Charles train car

While looking at this train car, we found a painted rock.

Zeb and Soapy Smith with rock on train car

The back of the rock suggested that we rehide the rock and wait for someone new to find it.   We were to post all this on social media, but we did not.    We photographed it and returned it to the original location.   Maybe you will be the next to find it in Frontier Park in St. Charles, Missouri.  This train station looked inviting.   We, Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck, are between the letters U and M.

Train station, St. Charles, Missouri

St. Charles is also famous as the starting point for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In 1804, shortly after the United States completed the Louisiana Purchase, President Thomas Jefferson asked Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to travel through the Louisiana Purchase to the Pacific Ocean. Congress authorized $2,500 ($48,867 in 2016 value) for the expedition.   The purposes were to establish US presence in the area to prevent other countries from establishing colonies here.   Also to study the area’s plant and animal life and the geography.   And to establish trade with the local Native American tribes.   After reaching the Pacific Ocean, they were to return to St. Louis.   The two explorers, and their dog, Seaman, left St. Charles on May 21, 1804.

Lewis and Clark with dog Seaman

They traveled about 8,000 miles (13,000 km) by boat, by foot and by horseback.   Lewis kept a detailed journal and collected samples of plants and animals he encountered.  Along the way they met and received help from a Native American woman, Sacagawea.   October 1805 they reached the Pacific Ocean in present day Oregon.   They returned to St. Louis September 23, 1806.   Their journey was a lot more difficult than ours.   We drove a car on I-70 and stopped whenever we needed gas, wanted food and beverages and stopped at some souvenir shops.   When Soapy’s mom was very young, she and my mom, also her mom, took many road trips.   They both have fond memories of Stuckey’s.   This was a perfect stop while traveling.   They bought gasoline, ate, did a little souvenir shopping, and savored delicious pecan logs.   Now, unfortunately, we do not see Stuckey’s along the highways.   But we were looking!  Then we saw a sign for Stuckey’s.   In we went.   It wasn’t exactly a Stuckey’s, but another company may have purchased the rights to Stuckey brands.  This was our treasure today.

Stuckey’s T-shirt and some of our snacks

Hey moms, we had more pecan logs.   Somebody ate them.   Yummy!

Giant Springs State Park, Great Falls, Montana

Lewis and Clark were the first explorers to mention Giant Springs.

Giant Springs

Giant Springs

Lewis and Clark followed the Missouri River through this part of Montana.  Clark first wrote of the springs on June 18, 1805.  He said this was the largest fountain or natural springs he ever saw and that the water was very clear.

very clear water

very clear water

Lewis described the springs as a “beautiful fountain”.

Giant Springs State Park has one of the world’s largest fresh water springs and according to Guinness, the world’s shortest river.  Water from the springs emerges at 54 degrees all year.  From the springs, the water passes through a pool, over rapids, under a bridge and into the Missouri River.

Roe River.  One of the world's shortest rivers

Roe River. One of the world’s shortest rivers

From the springs to the Missouri, this shortest river, the Roe River, is 201 feet long.

Lewis and Clark reported that beaver were plentiful and within years the area had many fur trappers and fur traders.  Because of the warm springs, this was also a popular campsite for American Indians.  The springs provide lots of warm water– over 150 million gallons of water every day, which flows into the Missouri River.   That’s a lot of water!  It does not freeze, but I have become accustomed to swimming in much warmer water.  However, there are several live versions of my kind swimming here.  All the ducks love this place.

Ducks at Giant Springs

Ducks at Giant Springs

The Missouri River cuts through rock as shown in this picture with me.

Bank of Missouri River

Bank of Missouri River

On a hill above the river is a monument to Lewis and Clark.

Monument to Lewis & Clark Giant Springs State Park, Montana

Monument to Lewis & Clark
Giant Springs State Park, Montana

From this monument, the view

Giant Springs and Missouri River, Montana

Giant Springs and Missouri River, Montana

of the springs and Missouri River are breathtaking.

The city of Great Falls gave this park to the state and in 1970 Giant Springs State Park was formed.

Roe River at Giant Springs State Park, Montana

Roe River at Giant Springs State Park, Montana

It is a beautiful place.  I recommend that you come here.  Come to look, come to relax, come to hike or bike or fish, come for a picnic, but do come here.  I know you will love it as much as I do.  For more information visit www.stateparks.mt.gov