Archive for the ‘expedition’ Tag

01-24-2015 Journal–Lewis & Clark (Cont’d)   Leave a comment

With the crappy weather continuing to keep me housebound I settled into my chair last night to rejoin the Lewis and Clark Expedition as they traveled through the wilds of the Louisiana Purchase (based on their journals).  As you may not be aware they began their journey on May 14, 1804 and as of July 3, 1804 they arrived in the vicinity of Cow Island (now Montana)and made camp. 





Cow island is located in an area called the Missouri Breaks and at that time it was a rather desolate area. In later years it became known as Cow Landing because it was one of a few places to easily ford the Missouri River. The area had been named by groups of nomadic fur traders and was the first time that Clark climbing a nearby ridge saw the Rocky Mountains in the far distance.

During the Nez Perce Indian War in 1877 the Nez Perce forded the Missouri at Cow Island, and it became the site of the Battle of Cow Island. After six days of fighting, and with Nez Perce men, women and children suffering and dying from wounds and exposure to freezing weather, Chief Joseph surrendered to the U.S. Army commanders.

From the journals of Clark:

"Our hunters had killed two of the Bighorned Animals since I had left them. we also passed another creek [Cow Creek] a few miles below Turtle Creek on the Stard. 30 yds in width which also had running water bed rocky. (we called it Windsor Cr.) late this evening we passed a very bad rapid which reached quite across the river, [NB: water deep channel narrow gravel &c. on each side] the party had considerable difficulty in ascending it although they doubled their crews and used both the rope and the pole. While they were passing this rapid a female Elk and its fawn swam down through the waves which ran very high, hence the name of Elk rapids which they instantly gave this place, these are the most considerable rapids which we have yet seen on the Missouri and in short the only place where there has appeared to be a sudden descent."

Checking current maps places them in the vicinity of The Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge near the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument east of Great Falls, Montana. It’s taken the expedition almost two months to travel from St. Louis to this point.

I’ll be back with them later tonight and I’m looking forward to their first contact with the local Indian tribes and their entry into the Rocky Mountains.

. . . To Be Continued . . .

01-12-2015 Journal–L&C and My Superbowl Tree!   Leave a comment


Before I get any further into this post I thought I’d give those of you interested in history my Lewis & Clark expedition update. The journal of their travels begins on May 14, 1804, the day they left the Mississippi River, a day or two after they arrived back in St. Louis. They left from a river camp near Dubois and proceeded up the Missouri River under full sail. The party consisted of one ship and two perogues (their spelling for canoes). Those first few weeks were rainy with the river running higher than normal. They suffered difficulties with sand bars and a broken mast when it struck an overhanging tree but they found game plentiful and plenty of fresh water.


Their group harvested dozens deer and three bears along the way and any meat not eaten was dried and made into a jerky for later use. They’ve met a few French traders roaming along the river and have only seen fresh Indian sign but no actual Indians as yet

On June 6 commander Clark reports himself as suffering from a high fever and severe headaches and here’s his actual quote on the general health of the expedition:

”The party is much aflicted with Boils and Several have the Decissentary, which I contribute to the water.” (This is his spelling not mine.)

On June 13 they made camp near the Carlton River near a beautiful open prairie and that’s where I left them last night. Using modern day maps it’s still difficult for me to determine their exact location due to the confusion in names and descriptions.  An educated guess would be that they’ve traveled between thirty and forty miles up river from St. Louis.

One last quote can better explain how discipline was carried out back in the good old days.  Any current and former sailors will cringe when they read this:

[Clark, June 29, 1804] Camp mouth of the Kanseis June 29th 1804. Ordered a Court martial will Set this day at 11 oClock, to Consist of five members, for the trial of John Collins and Hugh Hall, Confined on Charges exhibited against them by Sergeant Floyd, agreeable to the articles of War. Detail for the Court Sergt Nat. Pryor presd. mbs: 2 John Colter 3 John Newmon 4 Pat. Gass 1 J. B. Thompson John Potts to act as judge advocate. The Court Convened agreeable to order and proceeded to the trial of the Prisoners Viz John Collins Charged "with getting drunk on his post this morning out of whiskey put under his Charge as a Sentinal and for Suffering Hugh Hall to draw whiskey out of the Said Barrel intended for the party" To this Charge the prisoner plead not guilty. The Court after mature deliveration on the evidence abduced &c. are of oppinion that the prisoner is Guilty of the Charge exibited against him, and do therefore Sentence him to recive one hundred Lashes on his bear Back.

* * *

Back to the present and this lovely Maine winter we’re enjoying.  The temperature continues to hover in the single digits and I’m still freezing my ass off.  I’m hoping for a little relief sometime soon but who knows maybe I’m just kidding myself.


Go Steelers Go Pat’s’

Yesterday was football day in this house and as the games were being played my better-half and I decorated our new Super Bowl tree (formerly our X-mas tree).  If you remember we decided to keep the tree up for the entire year and to celebrate as many holidays as possible. As you can see by the photo the tree contains a lot of Steeler paraphernalia even though  they were soundly defeated last week.  After the Pat’s victory last night over the Ravens  they’ll soon be properly honored on our tree as well.

Our next tree will be celebrating Valentine’s Day.

01-10-2015 Journal–Lewis & Clark & Me!   2 comments


The deep freeze continues here in Maine.  I just knew that we’d pay dearly for that two weeks of warm temperatures and sunshine we had earlier.  Every thing always seems to balance out whether we like it or not.  This will certainly be the winter for reading and other indoor activities for us.  I’m fortunate enough to be one of those people driven to read everything I can get my hands on and Winter is the prefect time for me.

Recently I downloaded a number of books, essays, and journal transcripts for my Kindle.  It’s amazing to me just how many of the classics are now free to anyone to download at their leisure.  Last fall I finished reading the autobiography of Ben Franklin and then a book of notes and observations he wrote about his life.  It brings his experience to a new level of understanding without my being influenced by people who insist on rewriting history. The old adage of getting information "straight from the horses mouth" has never been truer.  That was one of the reasons I first read the Federalist Papers many years ago.

I’ve always been a history buff and I thought I had a good handle on many of the things that took place as this country grew and developed.  As usual I was somewhat incorrect.  Learning about the history of this country in school depends totally on who supplies the school with text books.  Unfortunately it’s human nature when writing to subconsciously slant what your describing in such a way as to reflect your ideals and opinions.  Many current text books spend more time apologizing for our country than actually explaining things in the context of the time.  It’s terribly unjust to take incidents out of context and then to feed that misinformation to our children claiming it to be the absolute truth. That’s my main reason for always attempting to go directly to the source for much of my information.


This week I began a journey of discovery that made the United States what it is today, at least geographically.  I began reading the daily logs and journals of the entire journey of the Lewis and Clark expedition as it moved westward exploring the Louisiana Purchase.  It was a grand thing they accomplished but reading the daily entries reveals a whole other side to the story.  Their need to hunt for food, bartering with locals, and maintaining discipline within their ranks is gritty and at times difficult to read. 

I’m only a few months into their journey as they traveled by boat west up the Missouri River.  The spelling and writing of the time is difficult and cumbersome.  They used many slang terms and abbreviations making the reading a bit of a chore. It’s worth the effort because the use of the original language seems to take me back to their time. I look forward to learning exactly how difficult and treacherous the expedition really was which in turn will give me a new appreciation for their efforts and accomplishments. The "devil is in the details" as with everything else and I have a driving need to learn those true details.

Being well informed is the responsibility of all citizens.  It must include a true knowledge of our history unaffected by liberal academics attempting to rewrite history as they see fit.  We all want the truth and believe me,  we can handle the truth.