Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Adventure Across The Unknown West
I have been studying about Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and I want to share with you some of the things I have learned about them and their expedition. Thomas Jefferson got approval from Congress for the expedition. He called the group of people doing the expedition the “Corps of Discovery.” Their job was to explore out west where no maps had been made for those areas yet. Meriwether Lewis was Thomas Jefferson’s secretary when Jefferson made him the captain of the Corps.
Lewis and Clark’s journey started in 1804 in St Louis Missouri, and they traveled towards the Pacific Ocean. At the end of their journey, they set up Fort Clatsop in November 1806, on the south bank of the Columbia River right on the coast of the Pacific, in what is now the state of Oregon. Maybe one day when we visit my grandma in Washington state, we can take a drive and go visit Fort Clatsop, since it is close to the Oregon/Washington border.
Early in the expedition, some of the people on the team with Lewis and Clark thought that the group had gotten off track. Lewis and some scouts went to see if they could find the falls, which would prove that they were still on the right track. They had to go around the falls because it was too dangerous to cross. Some on the expedition still thought they wouldn’t make it, but they did.
Lewis and Clark had several people with them on their journey. One of them was Sacajawea, who was a Shoshone Indian. Sacajawea helped to guide them on their way out west. She was only 16 years old at that time, and was pregnant on the journey. Her brother was a Shoshone Chief. Her baby was born on February 2, 1805 which was in the middle of the expedition. She carried the baby on her back for the rest of the journey.
One day during their journey, Lewis went hunting. He shot a buffalo, and then he sensed that he should turn around. When he turned around he saw a grizzly bear about 30 paces away. Then he scampered off to the nearest tree, but then he realized that grizzlies can break down trees, so he ran to the river. At the river he found a spear-axe in the water. He was able to scare the bear away with it. He decided that he would never leave his gun unloaded again.
I am still researching more about this incredible expedition. If you want to learn more on your own, one good web site is http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/trailmap/index.html
At this site you can even use an interactive trail map of the expedition to see what happened at each place on the map. You can also read Lewis and Clark’s, and some of the other Corp’s members, journals.