Where Two Rivers Become One

Posted on Thursday, September 29th, 2011 in Stories


-Standing at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers

Michael stands at the crossroads of America. Behind him is the confluence of two of its greatest rivers, the actual spot where the 2,541-mile Missouri River flows into the 2,320-mile Mississippi River just north of St. Louis. This is the place from which the Lewis & Clark Expedition left in 1804 to explore the West and to which they returned in 1806.

The water in the Missouri flows from its headwaters in Montana through the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico. This combined waterway is the world’s third longest with the Nile and Amazon ranking first and second respectively. The surrounding wetlands are part of the Mississippi River flyway, making it a great place to see waterfowl, including bald eagles and raptors.

In 1721, French explorer, Father Pierre Francois de Charlevoix, wrote of these two mighty rivers, “I believe this is the finest confluence in the world. The two rivers are much the same breadth, each about half a league: but the Missouri is by for the most rapid, and seems to enter the Mississippi like a conqueror, through which it carries its white waters to the opposite shore without mixing them, afterwards, it gives its color to the Mississippi which it never loses again but carries quite down to the sea.”