National Geographic : 1953 Jun
Lewis regarded Clark, four years his senior, as his equal in all respects. Lewis carried out most of the scientific observa tions, while Clark served as the party's map maker and was the more skilled waterman. Before leav ing the East, Lewis spent three intensive months schooling himself in var ious sciences, mastering celestial navigation, and planning the details of the trip. Fall Nearly Ends Lewis's Career Lewis's roaming in stincts nearly brought dis aster the second day out of St. Charles. He slipped while climbing along the edge of a 300 foot cliff on the south side of the river. Luckily, he caught himself 20 feet down. At the foot of the cliff, near present-day St. Al bans, the rest of the party stopped in a cave called the Tavern. They stud ied the names of voyagers who sought shelter there, looked in wonder at In dian images painted on the walls, and measured the huge chamber. This important Lewis and Clark landmark was lost for decades behind a river-built bank until Dr. Ralph P. Bieber, of Wash ington University in St. Louis, recently rediscov ered it. "How do you know this is the Tavern of the Lewis and Clark Expedition?" I asked Dr. Bieber as we stood on the floor of the cavern. Dr. Bieber whipped out a tape measure. The cave stretched 120 feet wide, 40 feet deep, and 20 high -the exact dimensions re ported in the journals. A few miles upriver Lewis and Clark passed Young Pathfinders Explore French-settled St. Charles High-chimneyed brick homes give the Missouri town an Old World look. Though built flush with the sidewalk, they have gardens in the rear. Of hundreds of present-day Missouri River towns, St. Charles was the only one in existence when Lewis and Clark trekked west.