Bart Smith Photography

​Walking Down a Dream

​Nez Perce Trail

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    Monument to "Old" Chief Joseph near Wallowa Lake. It is the starting point of the Nez Perce Historic Trail. Near Joseph Oregon.
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    Remembrance item on tree near "Old" Chief Joseph Monument. Wallowa Lake, Oregon.
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    Grass lands and the Wallowa Mountains, the ancestral summer home of Chief Josephs Nez Perce Band. Northeast Oregon.
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    Old barn with Wallowa Mountains in distance. Northeast Oregon.
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    Distant Wallowa Mountains from Zumwalt Road. Northeast OR.
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    Bluebird building nest. Wallowa National Forest Oregon.
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    Telephoto view of Hells Canyon from near Buckhorn Springs. Wallowa National Forest Oregon.
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    Water bead collected in Lupine. Wallowa National Forest oregon.
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    Caves like many in the region which served as food storage for the Nez Perce, along the Nez Perce Trail following Forest Road 4680, Wallowa National Forest Oregon.
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    Lone horse crossing Joseph Creek. Southeast Washington.
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    Joseph Creek Valley, the ancestral wintering grounds of Chief Joseph's Nez Perce Band.
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    Petroglyphs along the Snake River known as Buffalo Eddy Petroglyphs.
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    Petroglyphs along the Snake River known as Buffalo Eddy Petroglyphs.
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    Camp along the Snake River near the town of Asotin, Washington. The wintering grounds of Chief Looking Glass.
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    Near the town of Culdesac idaho I stopped for a long lunch and spent an hour or so photographing plants, leaves lichens and such with my macro lens.
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    Balsomroot above Chief Lawyer Valley, Nez Perce Reservation Idaho.
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    Balsomroot above Chief Lawyer Valley, Nez Perce Reservation Idaho.
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    Tolo Lake, in early June of 1877 five non-treaty Nez Perce Bands gathered here to discuss how to move forward.
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    Prairie Smoke along Camas Prairie near Tolo Lake idaho.
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    Convoluted ridges of Salmon River Valley above White Bird idaho.
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    Mount Idaho Cemetery contains several tombstones from settlers killed by the Nez Perce in June 1877.
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    Myself on Camas Prairie along Old Sites Stage Road north of Grangeville Idaho on my 2011 Nez Perce Trail trek.
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    Fog clearing from Camas Prairie above the South Fork of the Clearwater River, Idaho.
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    Foggy morning along Camas Prairie above the South Fork of the Clearwater River, Idaho.
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    Fallen blooms on rock. Above Lochsa River Idaho.
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    Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly. Along Lochsa River Idaho. Lapwai means land of many butterfly in Nez Perce.
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    Lochsa River Idaho.
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    Moose disregarding the signs. Bitterroot Mtns Idaho.
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    Sign designation on trail section of The Nez Perce Trail east of Lolo Pass, Montana.
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    Elk bone still-life along the Nez Perce Trail east of Lolo Pass, Montana.
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    Fort Owen. Many local settlers stayed here for protection during July 1877 in fear of the Nez Perce who were passing by on their flight from the U.S. Army. Near Stevensville in the Bitterroot Valley Montana.
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    Medicine Tree. Native Americans of many tribes viewed this tree with reverence. It was customary to leave a token of thanks. The tree has since died but people still leave tokens on the remaining trunk of the tree. Beside HW 93 south of Darby Montana.
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    Medicine Tree. Native Americans of many tribes viewed this tree with reverence. It was customary to leave a token of thanks. The tree has since died but people still leave tokens on the remaining trunk of the tree. Beside HW 93 south of Darby Montana.
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    Camas was a staple of the Nez Perce diet. Every summer they collected huge quantities of Camas and ground the root bulb into a paste which could be baked and stored through long winters. This field of Camas is a few miles east of Joseph Pass Montana.
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    Big Hole National Battlefield. Nez Perce National Historic Park. Montana.
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    Big Hole National Battlefield. Nez Perce National Historic Park. Montana.
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    Swallows over Swamp Creek along Big Hole near Wisdom Montana.
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    Moon in broken window. Jackson, Montana.
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    Fourth of July firework over Jackson Montana.
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    Cattle grazing along Big Hole Montana.
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    Hawk, Horse Prairie Montana.
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    Hawk over Studebaker wagon, Horse Prairie Montana.
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    Hood Gulch Creek. West of Bannock Pass Idaho.
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    Bannack Ghost Town. Settlers from miles around on hearing that the Nez Perce were in the area and hostile travelled to Bannack for protection swelling the population of the town for a number of weeks. Bannack State Monument Montana.
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    Bannack Ghost Town. Settlers from miles around on hearing that the Nez Perce were in the area and hostile travelled to Bannack for protection swelling the population of the town for a number of weeks. Bannack State Monument Montana.
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    Bannack Ghost Town. Settlers from miles around on hearing that the Nez Perce were in the area and hostile travelled to Bannack for protection swelling the population of the town for a number of weeks. Bannack State Monument Montana.
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    Lemhi Valley in evening light. A few miles south of Leadore Idaho.
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    Sun shimmer patterns in Birch Creek, Lemhi Valley just south of Birch Creek Memorial. Idaho
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    Night sky looking up through my tent from my sleeping bag, Lemhi Valley, Idaho
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    Powerful lightening storm from my tent in Lemhi Valley, Idaho.
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    Early morning lightening storm, Lemhi Valley Idaho.
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    Flat desolate stretch east of Dubois Idaho along the Nez Perce Trail.
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    Birds on Idmon cemetery fence Idaho.
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    Sculptures at Camas Meadows Battlefield. Idaho. The Nez Perce repelled an attack by General Howard's Cavalry on August 18 1877. East of Kilgore idaho.
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    Crows on fence near West Yellowstone
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    Bull Elk in Madison River, yellowstone National Park Wyoming
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    Sun setting over Norris Geyser Basin. Yellowstone was established as a National Park in 1872. When the Nez Perce travelled though in 1877 they held a number of tourists hostage. Yellowstone N.P. Wyoming
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    Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
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    Whimsical dead wood. Yellowstone N.P. Wyoming.
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    Landscape west of Tower Junction, Yellowstone N.P. Wyoming.
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    Lone Buffalo from along Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
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    Lone Buffalo near Northeast Entrance. Yellowstone N.P. Wyoming.
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    Another namesake of Chief Joseph
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    Sunlight Creek Gorge near Clarks Fork Canyon from Chief Joseph Highway, Wyoming.
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    View down Sunlight Creek towards the Clark River Gorge which is where the Nez Perce made a daring escape from Colonel Sturgis's 7th Cavalry.
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    Sculpture to the Nez Perce at Dead Indian Pass along HW 296, Wyoming.
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    Magpie flying over eroded badlands along Clark Fork River Valley. Wyoming.
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    Photo of Chief Joseph taken from Kiosk at the Eastern entrance of Chief Joseph Highway. Wyoming.
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    September moonrise along Clark Fork River Valley, Wyoming.
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    Early morning sun ray along Buffalo Trail Road. Montana.
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    Harvested Hay north of Broadview, Montana.
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    "Road to the Sun". North of Broadview Montana.
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    Long abandoned ranch, Montana.
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    Camp (with permission) at an abandoned ranch, Montana.
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    Creative warning near Musselshell River west of Lavina Montana.
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    Myself at the Chief Joseph Monument along HW 12 in Rygate Montana.
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    Rothiemay Road heading north under Montana Skies.
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    Local rancher and companion, Golden Valley Montana.
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    Empty home in Golden Valley, Montana.
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    Chipmunk with a mouthful. This fellow was sounding the forest alarm with much aplomb. Alerting his/her fellow dwellers that a stranger was entering the region while clutching a decent sized pine cone, just gotta say, I was impressed. Snowy Mountains, Montana.
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    Petrified wood in dried mud, beside Upper Carter Pond east of Lewistown. Montana. Self portrait #49.
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    Christina, Montana along the Nez Perce Trail.
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    Dragonfly on barbed wire. East of Winifred Montana.
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    Birds on transmission wire east of Winifred Montana.
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    Another long day on the trail. Missouri Breaks Back Country Byway along the Nez Perce Trail east of Winifred Montana.
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    Morning Shadow, Missouri Breaks Region Montana.
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    Horses, Montana.
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    Abandoned car and house, Missouri Breaks Back Country Byway.
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    Remnants of filling station in Hays Montana.
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    "Walking into the Stars" (A conceptional image). South of Three Buttes, Montana.
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    Antelope. Near Three Buttes Montana.
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    Bear Paw Mountains at Dawn, Montana. By the time the Nez Perce skirted the East side of the Bear Paw Moutains they were hungry, exhausted and slowing their pace considerably.
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    Heading towards the gap between Miles Butte and McCann Butte. It was between the two Buttes where Cheyenne Scouts working for the Army alerted Colonel Miles that they had found the trail of the Nez Perce.
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    McCann Butte at twilight, Montana.
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    Memorial at location of Chief Joseph's tent at Bear Paw National Battlefield. Montana.
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    Location where Chief Looking Glass was killed at Bear Paw National Battlefield Montana.
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    Nez Perce ceremony commemorating Battle of Bear Paw held every October 1st at Bear Paw National Battlefield. Montana.
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    Nez Perce member participating in the annual Commemoration of the Battle of Bear Paw at the Bear Paw National Battlefield. Oct 1st 2011.
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    Nez Perce Ceremonial Staff. Part of October 1st Commemorative Ceremony at Bear Paw National Battlefield.

Summary of the Trail




1986 - Nez Perce NHT

The trail memorializes the 1877 forced march of the Nez Perce people when they fled their homeland to escape the United States Army.  Tensions over land rights between white settlers and the Nez Perce nation were growing in the 1870s.  When violence erupted, many Nez Perce attempted to flee to Canada in hopes of living in peace again.  Their circuitous journey from eastern Oregon through Idaho and Montana - during which they fought and generally outwitted the pursuing Army forces - ended at the Bear Paw Mountains in Montana. Cold and decimated, they were force to surrender there.  Today, visitors to the Nez Perce NHT can reflect on this tragedy that befell the Native people while taking in a variety of impressive landscapes.  The trail connects 38 sites managed as the Nez Perce National Historic Park by the National Park Service.  The Trail, however, is administered by the Forest Service in partnership with the Nez Perce Trail Foundation.

(Scherer, Glenn, 2002, "America's National Trails: Journeys Across Land and Time", Guilford, CT: Falcon Press,
pp. 50-52, and Nez PerceTrail Foundation website,)