A remote paradise on the banks of the mighty Missouri River
From Stanton, North Dakota we headed 9 miles north and turned off onto a dirt road for another 4 miles or so. It was getting dark now but we could see in the gloom the outlines of bluffs and the shadows of cows. We finally reached our destination, the Missouri River Lodge. This place is somewhere Lewis and Clark wrote about in their journals!!! Our room was very pleasant with two large beds and a large, but dated bathroom. We settled down for the evening. One nice feature was the common sitting room with a fire place (albeit a gas fire) where we could escape from the sleeping children.
The Missouri River Lodge is a working farm that is partially arable but also has a herd of cows. The setting is wonderful with the farm set among rugged sandstone bluffs, some having been carved into steep cliffs and sharp pinnacles by the effects of the elements over many years. Jack and Emily loved the chance to explore farm and they soon fell in love with the farm cats.
The farm runs down to the Missouri River and is actually on the trail that the famous pioneer explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark took across North Dakota. Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery (a party of 33) set out from St Louis, Missouri at the turn of the 19th Century under the commission of the President Jefferson to explore the newly acquired territories through the Louisiana Contract with Napoleon. They primarily followed the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains and then across as far the Oregon coastline. The main reason for visiting this area was to find out more about Lewis and Clark – which is a topic Jack and Emily studied at school.
There are plenty of trails that take you to the top of the surrounding bluffs. These bluffs are made of sedimentary layers and are essentially comprised of compressed mud. Weathering has caused them to have steep, cliff like sides and flat tops. In the evening of our second day at the Lodge we climbed to the top of the bluffs just in time for the sun setting and enjoyed, in blissful solitude, the views across the farm down to the Missouri River. We set out to find a turf carving of a turtle, set down long ago by the local Indians, but it was somewhat difficult to make out – never mind the view was worth the climb!
All in all if you are looking to explore the history, culture and nature of the Northern Plains the Missouri River Lodge is a great place to spend some time.