Lewis and Clark St. Park, ND

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Lewis and Clark State Park in 21 miles from Williston which is the nearest town of any size, large or small. About five miles from the state park turnoff we run into more road construction. Cripes. We wait in line about 10 minutes, the pilot car arrives with a caravan of west bound traffic, then leads us eastbound on North Dakota Highway 1804. The naming of the highway reflects the first year of Lewis and Clark’s travels through the area. ND 1804 and ND 1806 constitute a portion of the Lewis and Clark Trail that runs through North Dakota along the Missouri and Lake Sakakawea.

Excerpt from North Dakota State Parks: Lewis and Clark State Park is situated on one of the upper bays of Lake Sakakawea. The park features miles of shoreline with picturesque views of towering buttes and rolling hills that provide a rugged backdrop for the park.

Modern boating facilities, including a marina with slip rentals and boat ramps are major attractions. Anglers will find excellent fishing for walleye, sauger and northern pike.

Lewis and Clark State Park is home to the largest native mixed- grass prairie of any North Dakota State Park. Visitors can become acquainted with the natural communities associated with the park by hiking the self-guided nature trail.

Mixed Prairie Grass

Visitors can also enjoy the swimming area and a day-use beach located on the east shore of the campground near the camping cabins. Kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards and snowshoes are available for rent.

Lake Sakakawea

The waters of Lake Sakakawea (named after the Native American woman Sakakawea of Lewis and Clark fame), were impounded in 1953 by the Garrison Dam. It’s the largest man-made lake located entirely within the state of North Dakota, second largest in the US by area after Lake Oahe. The creation of the lake forced the displacement of the members of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Members of the tribe received essentially no compensation for their displacement.

Snow shoes? Gosh, I hope not this time of year! We check in at the combined office/store and unhook the Subaru. Jil says I’ll meet you at the camp site. OK! She takes off- I don’t have the site number written down- she has the paperwork, but I have a map of the campground which doesn’t have our site markd. The campground is on a hill passed the marina. I arrive and I don’t see Jil nor the car. I go into one loop and suddenly site number 12, our site number, jumps into my head…… ah the memory of an elephant!

Site 12- All sites are adequately sized

I am on a loop road and realize site 12 is not on this loop. I see signage for another loop but site 12 isn’t indicated on that one either. As I drive back to square one all the signs face the wrong direction so I can’t determine which loop is the correct one. Heading back into the campground, I see a very small sign hidden under the branches of a tree which indicates site 12 is that-away. Jil is standing right next to the sign. The road which leads to site 12 is the only one that’s not paved- can’t see the sign for the tree and the gravel road looks like a service road- which turns out it is……… sheesh.

Looking down the Pintail Loop

The only utility we have is electricity so we’ll monitor our water usage. The fresh water tank is full and the waste tanks are completely empty. Perfect!…… But the power supply is 30 amp, not 50 so we can’t use both A/C’s simultaneously, nor one air combined with microwave use. We’ll get by I suppose.

Full Hookup Section

The park is pretty nice. We spend some time exploring a lakeside gravel road, stopping and letting Ollie play wave tag in the lake. He likes to attack and eat the waves as they slop onto shore. The park also has a small kiosk devoted to the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The campground is very quiet today, Saturday. A lot of folks come here to go boating and fishing so many are doing that. It’s in the 90’s today so I imagine many folks are doing as we- staying inside where its cooler, reading, conversing and watching TV or perusing the internet, if they have those options. Ollie doesn’t love heat so he’s relaxing on the cool tile floor of the RV.

Tomorrow is “Hoover Day” as a campground host friend used to call Sunday. It’s the day, he said, as if a huge vacuum sucks all the campers out of the park, once again leaving it peaceful and serene. Tomorrow is the day we travel to the International Peace Garden. The Hoover gonna get us too!

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