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Lewis and Clark: The Forgotten Trail

In recognition of the Lewis and Clark bicentennial we decided to explore a small section of the little-known overland shortcut taken by the Corps of Discovery on their return trip known as The Forgotten Trail. From Walla Walla, scenic Highway 12 traces the trail through several historic towns and sites where Lewis and Clark camped.

Lewis and Clark Trail State Park: The first stop was at a marker commemorating the best known travelers to camp here. You can click on the sign to read the text.

Waitsburg — This is a tiny comfortable looking community just minutes off the highway. Its two block downtown is lined with mostly restored 19th century buildings. The local library (Weller) was closed but it sure looked like an inviting place to read a book. An old bank building now houses the city hall. The civil servants were friendly, and proudly showed us the preserved interior including the original safe and bank teller’s cage. They explained that Waitsburg is the only city in the state which still operates under the terms of its Territorial Charter. Upon leaving, they gave us a plastic bag and informed us that it was against Washington State law to drive without a trash bag in your car. We were shocked to learn that we were potential felons … driving willy-nilly down the highway … throwing our fast food wrappers and empty beer cans into the back of the crewcab. Aahhh ... the gypsy life!

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