Lewis and Clark Caverns  LbNA # 4719

Placed DateJul 7 2003
Location3 Forks, MT
Found By FinA Adventurers
Last Found Jun 5 2016
Hike Distance?

6/23/2008 The logbook is full. Please take a replacement with you.

Directions: From 3 Forks, drive west on Interstate 90 to route 2 (exit 287) then south for 17 miles following signs to Caverns. Entry for tour is$10. After the 2-˝ hour tour, start down hill and pull into the first picnic area on your left and the Greer Gulch Loop trail. Have that picnic you deserve and check out the trail noting the plant sign markers.

If you just want the box, drive up the hill and pull into the second picnic area on your right and the trailhead for Greer Gulch Loop. The walk is very short.

Clues: Pass by the potties on your left and cross one wood walk spanning the creek, then
the second span that starts off as a long board walk then a 3rd span over the creek. Now, just 9 paces from the last span up to 2 flattish rocks on trail right. Note the sign for “Rocky Mountain Maple” up on the right. Three paces uphill to the tree and nestled on the upper left of the tree is a rock under which is the trophy Rocky Mountain sheep This stamp is a representation of the one that Dick and Jerry Lee shot while hunting for bear and discovering the Clark and Lewis Labyrinth. Note if you get to a huge bolder on the left side of trail you have gone too far. Walk back 16 paces to the 2 rocks on your left that are embedded along the trail and go up 3 paces to the Rocky Mountain Maple and the rock just above the tree.

Following the Lewis and Clark Trail from St. Louis to Astoria Oregon you will become familiar with the tramping around the group of courageous men and one woman did in Montana. Splitting up for a time, the band of explorers named and trekked about numerous rivers and landmarks. They named the river that flowed beneath the caverns the Jefferson but they didn’t find the caverns. We submit that the caverns were rightly discovered and named after 2 early entertainers turned explorers: The Great Dick Clark and the stylish Jerry Lee Lewis and here’s how it happened.

Dick Clark was from New York scouting for new musical talent while managing Bill Cody’s Wild West Show in St. Louis. Jerry Lee was from Mississippi but had arrived in St. Louis for some advanced piano lessons with a famous instructor who happened to have a daughter just finishing grammar school. Young Jerry Lee, already a rocking dude with an eye for the gals took his lessons seriously and extended his stay to win the hand of the sweet little gal. Now fate brought our two heroes together in the
salon of a young man named Rick Nelson. These 3 good looking guys, one with long blond hair that was flung around like wind through the other with high volume but never a hair out of place and the young Rick with his rich chestnut locks just begging to be touched were first drawn together due to their hair and as they got to discussing hair cuts and products they realized they all had the same lament. They just could not find a steady source of bear grease to keep their hair in place! This was the early 1900s and the old stand bys of chicken fat and bear grease were all that was available.
While lamenting the shortage of really useful bear products Rick picked up his guitar and sang for the customers as it seemed to sooth them as Rick was known as a pretty bloody barber. So, one day the three guys started talking about music and found they had a lot in common besides their hair. Rick told Dick and Jerry Lee about a place he had heard about called Colters Hell. It was way out west, but there shur was lots of bears and elk, buffalo and moose too, plus wondrous natural attractions that many wealthy folks were beginning to visit via the new cross county train system. Rick had heard from a customer that a lodge with a saloon and. trading post was built the previous summer and that the saloon had plenty of whisky but needed some entertainment. Dick was familiar with the area due to the Wild West Show and thought he could get a booking at the lodge and Jerry Lee piped up and yelled, “I ken toss my piano in a box car , and do some summer concerts in the saloon.”. Young Rick figured he would close up his shop and go along too, He had a number of songs he could sing and if the bears were as plentiful as they heard they could get all the bear grease they could use and maybe even sell the extra. They practiced their music, with Dick filling in on drums when he wasn’t managing the Wild West show, and they bought some new 45-70 Winchester Highwalls and practiced shooting too. It was June when these 3 new friends and their entourage boarded the especially catered west bound train for Colters Hell ‘The boys were anticipating all the bears they would kill for grease and for the music they would make for the tourists at the lodge near the north entrance of Colter’s Hell, which was now renamed Yellowstone. The train chugged westbound through Montana and at that pretty section along the Jefferson River at the foot of some real tall mountains Dick saw the FIRST bear…And a big one it was.
Jerry Lee hollered to the engineer to stop the durn train and the boys grabbed their new 45-70 Winchester Highwalls and took off after the bear. Rick had just finished washing his hair and didn’t want to muss it up so he stayed with the train. Jerry Lee and Dick climbed higher and higher up the mountain trailing the bear. They saw an opening in the mountain and figured that was the bear’s den. They poked their heads into the hole very carefully and were amazed. The hole had no bottom. Several rocks were tossed into the hole and Jerry Lee and Dick could not hear them land. Gul Durn, no bear but the boys did find a huge cave. They backtracked down the mountain about half way, refreshing themselves at a little creek and found a nice grove of Rocky Mountain Maple and resting beneath that was a little herd of Rocky Mountain sheep. They shot two and drug them down the mountain back to the train. They had them cooked up for dinner for the folks now swimming and frolicking in the river. The next day Jerry and Dick took lanterns and ropes back up the mountain and explored their cave. Rick had just put a rinse on his hair and couldn’t be dragged away. Dick and Jerry Lee wondered what to call their discovery and settled on Clark and Lewis Labyrinth.

They had to make tracks now for the Yellowstone Lodge and their summer gig so they kept the cave discovery to themselves. The 3 buddies made a bundle at the lodge and found a steady source of bear grease at Yellowstone. Seems the tourist folks got to feeding bears garbage and often times the garbage was pretty ripe and killed the bears outright with nary a shot fired. Dick, Jerry Lee and Rick sold their weapons to Gene Autry. Now Rick was miffed that he never got to see the labyrinth that Dick and Jerry Lee discovered or even got his name attached to it but after he worked out his hair obsession went on to become a famous rock star in new Hollywood way out in California. All three of these young talented men went on the find the women of their dreams and fathered several children each, and their children did the same so if the names sound a tad familiar you must be thinking of the great great grand sons of our Clark and Lewis story.

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