Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Lewis and Clark expedition arrives at their destination

19 June 2017

After a year and a half journey, the expedition finally arrived within a few miles of their destination, the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River.  Unfortunately, one of their greatest tests awaited them so close to success. A huge winter storm forced them up against a rocky and unforgiving northern shore and trapped them there with little food or decent clothes for the conditions. Capt. Clark wrote of the brutally difficult conditions and wondered if they were going to survive this last trial. Finally, after six days, the weather relented, and they were able to move on to their destination at the Pacific Coast. Their time at the Dismal Nitch, which was the name Capt. Clark gave it, was over.

The Expedition arrived at the coast and decided to build a fort along the coast to pass the winter months before returning to their starting point near St Louis.  They selected a spot on the north end of what is now called the Clatsop plains approximately 5 miles southwest of what is now the city of Astoria.  It proved to be a harsh and long winter, but they faired well with no loss of life.  In the spring they headed east and divided into two groups, so they might explore more of the countryside.  The trip back to the starting point took roughly one third as long as the trip west.

As we traveled as close as possible to the route they took and saw the conditions that they must have endured, we can only wonder at the courage and dedication to the task they had.  They were truly heroic figures then and now.


Happytrails said...

If you put yourself back in time with the limitations they had, you wonder how they managed to do what they did and stay alive. We have the luxury of being in a controlled environment vehicle and for us braving out a bad storm means to just stay inside our rv or vehicle and wait it out. They had great courage and an adventurous spirit that gave them the desire to explore the raw land. What a good name "Dismal Nitch"

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

We love that area, we were fortunate to explore all over it when our son was stationed in Astoria. We miss visiting there, you've brought back some great memories with your post. :c)

Sherry said...

I was an amazing feat for sure. It definitely opened the west to the ultimate detriment of the Native Americans who helped them along the way. I can't imagine building an entire Fort to spend the winter in. But then what was their other choice? I always notice when hiking that it seems to take a less time coming back.