Moccasins and Cactus – Ouch

In the Lewis & Clark journals you can read how members of the expedition had trouble with their moccasins.

The soles wore out and some needed to be re-soled every two days. The cause was probably a combination of things – lots of walking on hard ground, vegetation and cactus, known more scientifically as prickly pear.

The great plains of Montana can provide some challenging terrain for walking. As the Lewis & Clark expedition portaged the series of waterfalls near present-day Great Falls, they traveled up the river bank and on land for quite a ways. And, that meant some close encounters with cactus.

As a youngster I have memories of stumbling as I wandered across the prairie and my knees met up with cactus. A very kind and patient grandfather helped remove those cactus needles!

When cactus blooms it is so pretty and it’s a pleasant surprise to be out walking and see a patch of yellow blooms.

Word to the wise – watch where you are walking, especially if you have moccasins on your feet.

I asked one of the members of the Lewis & Clark Honor Guard if I could take a photo of his moccasins. Yeah, he thought the request was odd but he still posed so I could get the photo. And, it helps illustrate my story!

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