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Louis, Missouri, in search of the legendary "Northwest Passage" to the sea. Visionaries had long believed that the North American continent could be crossed on a ladder of rivers stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark hoped to find a short, easy portage that would connect the Missouri River, which drains the eastern half of the continent, with the Columbia, flowing west to the Pacific.
They carried maps indicating that the two river systems were separated by a "ridge of hills" at the Continental Divide, no more than 20 miles wide and passable in half a day. Instead, they found a daunting range of mountains that took weeks to cross.
By the time they arrived at the ocean, Lewis and Clark knew that the Northwest Passage did not exist. Even if it had been possible to carry a canoe from the headwaters of the Missouri in present-day Montana and slide it into the nearest tributary of the Columbia, western rivers were not the slow, smooth waterways of the East.
On the upper Missouri and on the Columbia, the explorers faced rapids and cataracts that were bigger, swifter, and more dangerous than anything they had ever experienced. If they had failed in their primary mission, Lewis and Clark had still achieved many of the objectives laid out for them by President Thomas Jefferson when he planned the expedition in They had found the sources of the Missouri and the major tributaries of the Columbia, followed the Columbia to the sea, collected detailed information about the plants, animals, geography, and inhabitants of the region, and laid the groundwork for American expansion to the coast.
Station Camp Landing at the highest spot they could find on the northern Washington side of the Columbia River estuary, they established what they called "Station Camp.
The location of the actual campsite is a matter of conjecture, since the shoreline has shifted by several hundred feet since Lewis and Clark passed through. The camp was situated near what the captains thought was an abandoned Indian village, inhabited only by "flees" as Clark put it.
In fact, it was a summer fishing village, temporarily vacated while the occupants moved to winter quarters. The explorers did not understand the biseasonal settlement pattern of the local Native Americans.
This was not the first time this particular village had been observed by white men visiting the area. Thirteen years earlier, in MayCaptain Robert Gray had drawn a map of the mouth of the Columbia that included the village. Lieutenant William Broughton of the George Vancouver expedition also noted the village when he explored the Columbia in October Lewis and Clark counted 36 houses there inabout the same number that James G.
Swan saw when he drew sketches of "Chenook" village in The Corps spent 10 days at Station Camp -- their longest encampment in what is now Washington state -- exploring, hunting, and visiting with the Chinook and Clatsop Indians who came to inspect and trade with the newcomers.
Lewis carved his name in a tree at the northernmost extremity of the cape. Clark and several of the other men added their names to the same tree later, along with the notation that they had come "by land from the U. This was a California condor, a carrion bird with a wingspan of more than nine feet compared to five feet for the bald eagle.
Condors, now an endangered species, were common on the shores of the Columbia until the mid-nineteenth century. A Visit from the Chinooks Both Lewis and Clark were in camp on November 20, when two of the most important chiefs of the Chinook came to visit:A D V E R T I S E M E N T.
_____ The Author of this work, and of the discoveries which it relates, leaves it to his readers to decide whether he excels most as a navigator or a writer, and whether he amuses as much as he instructs. BibMe Free Bibliography & Citation Maker - MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard.
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When the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed a continent in to , they started out in U.S. Army uniforms. Lewis and Clark’s Irreplaceable Sergeant John Ordway.
Maria Szasz. As the bicentennial of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s journey across the American West approaches, interest in their exploration seems as fresh and vigorous as if the men had just returned to St. Louis last fall. Clarke's Bookshop (established in ) is situated in Cape Town, South Africa and carries both new and second hand books on Southern Africa.