For the students, the purpose of this visit was threefold:
- To observe the environment of the most arduous portion of the Corps of Discovery’s continental trip, the LoLo Trail
- Gain operational familiarity with two major tools of the Corps: the black powder rifle and one of the forms of navigation William Clark used, dead reckoning
- A practicum in one of the methodologies of history that was practiced by Lewis and Clark: journal keeping
This schedule of events required two days, where the students camped out overnight either at the Lochas River or at White Sands Creek (and in the tradition of the early explores, enjoyed seasonal temperatures of 100° F heat, and during the night, a rain and electrical storm and of course, the usual array of mosquitoes and gnats). On the second day, the instructors and students went up to Lochsa Historical Ranger Station to view both the sunrise and the operation of a fire lookout station. After breakfast, the field trip terminated.
On September 11, after a 2 day rest at the mouth of LoLo Creek, the Corps continued their trip westward on the LoLo Trail, through the LoLo Pass. This trail has traditionally been used by the Native American tribes who lived on the west side of the Bitterroot Range to access the buffalo hunting grounds of the eastern plains. Thus, as these Native Americans being very familiar with the trail and its environs, Lewis and Clark took seriously their advice on the lack of game along this cold, high, rocky and difficult terrain of the trail. This issue was premier on minds of both men, for all they had for provisions at the start of the trail was a form of prepackaged soup and parched corn, all to feed 30 men and an entourage of Native American guides.