UNDER THE MID-DAY SUN, Lewis and Clark's Portage at the Great Falls July, 1805
My aim was to try and capture the intense heat, the vast distances and the exhausting struggle that the Corps endured during those days of the epic portage around the Great Falls in today's Montana. The scene is looking towards the south with the Little Belt Mountains in the distance. Clark's stakes that marked the route stagger off into the distance. One of the men has paused to extract one of the prickly pear cactus thorns that were blooming in profusion as his companions put every ounce of effort into moving one of the heavily laden dugouts. I believe many of the men would have stripped to their breech cloths in the heat. We know that many were without hats at this point as they were battered in a hailstorm some days later. Leggings were a nice option to ward off the prickly pear and yucca plants. The harness the men are using to pull the boat is one that was used by the voyageurs to cordelle their craft in Upper Canada. It allows the laborer a number of ways to position it on his body to reduce the fatigue.