Lewis and Clark Meet Mt. Ellis on the Missouri

In keeping with tradition, Mt. Ellis Academy students in grades 9–11 spent the first week of school in the great outdoors. This year outdoor school meant paddling 47 miles through the White Cliffs section of the wild upper Missouri River. This stretch of river has seen almost no change since Lewis and Clark were the first European Americans to pass through.

Students not only felt the historic expedition come alive with each bend in the river and corresponding page in Lewis and Clark’s journals, but they also learned about the Native American cultures that predated European exploration. Students focused on spiritual lessons during morning and evening worships.

The remoteness and beauty, combined with the physical rigors of paddling 15–20 miles each day, bonded students and faculty in much the same way as it did the Corps of Discovery 200 years ago. Anita Ojeda, veteran MEA teacher says “This was the best outdoor school we’ve ever done.”

Jaime Woodall, junior, could not have been more enthusiastic. “I loved climbing around on the rocks and learning about the geology of the different formations.” She did say she was grateful to be able to paddle downstream rather than pulling her canoe upstream like Lewis and Clark.

Featured in: October 2009