Five Months on the Missouri River Paddling a Dugout Canoe Three Forks, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri by Thomas J. Elpel, Illustrated by Joanna Walitalo
"The Cascade Courier ran part of your series this summer; the fifth installment was published on August 1 under the headline "Ghosts of the Tower," and it was stupendous... You did your homework. You stopped. You saw. You read. You absorbed. You reflected, as pensive as Meriwether Lewis himself must have been in 1805 when finally reaching the Rockies. You got it, its spirit as well as its significance."
Have you ever dreamed of adventure?
Thomas J. Elpel had the rare opportunity to carve a dugout canoe with Churchill Clark, the great-great-great-great grandson of Captain Clark. Together they whittled a 10,000 lb. Douglas fir log down to a 500+ lb. canoe.
Enlisting friends with additional canoes to join the adventure, Tom led a five-month "Missouri River Corps of Rediscovery" expedition, paddling the 2,341-mile Missouri River segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail fromMontana to St. Louis. It was an archetypical story of adventure -- to carve and paddle a dugout canoe like the famed explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
Instead of merely racing to the finish line, Tom and friends paddled the Missouri River as a conduit for exploring the land and meeting its inhabitants. Every campsite offered a new opportunity to hike and explore the geographical landscape and geology, identify plants, and forage for wild foods. They enjoyed a leisurely pace paddling through the heart of America while diving into Lewis and Clark history and the history of Native American tribes along the route. They were assisted by many River Angels along the way, meeting some of the nicest people on the planet.
Throughout the journey, Tom wrote a weekly column that was published in newspapers in Montana and across the Midwest. He fleshed out the story for the book, filling in additional details and whole new essays, accompanied by seven hundred stunning color photos from the adventure. The finished book is both an uplifting adventure story and a coffee table book, making an easy read and an inspiring page turner. Five Months on the Missouri River is tantalizing in its imagery, and anyone who picks up the book to look at the pictures will quickly be captivated by the story, following the expedition from the beginning until its conclusion.
Five Months on the Missouri River
Paddling a Dugout Canoe from Three Forks, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri
11"H x 8 1/2"W. 270 pages, 700+ photos, full color throughout.
ISBN: 978-1-892784-50-6. March 2020. $36.00
"Tom Elpel stepped back in time to 1804-06 and followed the Lewis & Clark Expedition's route down the Missouri river on a life changing, epic journey from Montana to St. Louis. Tom's extensive knowledge of plants and the natural world, his love of history and the river are expressed here on every page as if Lewis and Clark stepped into the 21st Century. The stunning images and narrative are breathtaking and inspiring, seen through the eyes of Elpel as he traveled aboard a beautiful dugout canoe through the heart of America."