HARTFORD — What could be better than exploring history on a beautiful autumn day? Exploring it with your dog.
On Saturday, Sept. 24, the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site will hold its annual Frontier Dog Walk, letting folks bring their dogs as they enjoy the scenery and learn about the site’s role in the historic Lewis and Clark expedition.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., participants may enjoy a two-mile walk to the Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower and back.
The event is free. Bring pet food or supplies to donate and you’ll receive a free tour of the Confluence Tower. Donations may be dropped off at either site.
Lewis and Clark were accompanied throughout their expedition by a Newfoundland dog named Seaman. He was the only animal to make the entire trip. He helped by hunting food and serving as a watchdog.
At 11, trainer and handler Erin Wigginton will discuss her 16 years working with dogs and what she has learned about them. Her presentation takes place in the Interpretive Center. Dogs (except for support or service dogs) usually aren’t allowed in the building, but they will be allowed in the multipurpose room for the presentation by Wigginton, owner of Helping Hounds Training.
At the Confluence Tower, Four Muddy Paws will offer an array of pet supplies. That’s also where you’ll find food and drinks — the kind made for people, not dogs.
At Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, dogs will be available for adoption from 5A’s Alton Humane Society, Metro East Humane Society, Highland Animal Shelter and Hootie’s Rescue Haven from Missouri.
Dr. Kim Lynch has graciously offered her time as the event’s emergency veterinarian and will be stationed at the Confluence Tower. She operates a mobile veterinary service and runs Hootie’s Rescue Haven in St. Clair, Mo.
Visitors can bring their own lunches and picnic at the historic site’s picnic shelters. Visitors are responsible for leaving the grounds as they were found.
The event is sponsored by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Lewis and Clark Society of America, Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower, Alton Tourism Bureau and Lewis and Clark State Historic Site.
The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, part of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, is where the expedition officially began the trek west. It is Site No. 1 on the National Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail.
The historic site is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday for free public tours. It is located along Illinois 3, a few miles north of Interstate 270.