When Lewis and Clark came through Montana in 1805, they weren’t the first people to see the territory, but they were the first to write down their impressions. Every time they came across a new animal, plant, mountain or river, they were the first humans to describe it on paper. And the contagious excitement of those encounters is the best thing about reading Stephen Ambrose’s book, Undaunted Courage: Meriweather Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West, as you travel across Missouri by car today.
For there are still places in the state where you can imagine that you’re seeing what Lewis and Clark saw—or what the American Indians who met the explorers had already seen. Here are seven scenes that stick in the mind after a recent trip there.
Geoffrey Himes, a longtime contributor to Paste, also writes about culture for The Washington Post, Smithsonian Magazine, Jazz Times, American Songwriter and other outlets. He recently won his fourth ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award.