Linear Algebra with Applications (W. Keith Nicholson)
Algebra, Abstract Algebra, and Linear Algebra

The Essential Lewis & Clark by Meriwether Lewis

The Essential Lewis & Clark by Meriwether Lewis

Author:Meriwether Lewis
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: National Geographic Society
Published: 2018-02-06T05:00:00+00:00

It was new country to the men. These were Easterners who had never seen such mountains, many of them still covered with snow in midsummer; they had never been in a ravine this narrow with such steep cliffs on either side. The usually eloquent Lewis has yet to find the language to describe the scene.

Clark, meanwhile, was over these mountains and into the valley beyond. He was seeing Indian sign, but no Indians. He made 30 miles on July 19, in country so full of prickly pear that it was nearly impossible to walk; that evening he pulled 17 prickly pear spines out of his feet. The next day, the 20th, both Lewis and Clark noted meadow fires that were too large to be accidental; they had been seen, and the Shoshone were warning other members of the tribe that they were a possible Blackfeet raiding party. Clark left his own sign—clothes, linens, paper—to show the Indians that they were white men, not Blackfeet. Clark and his men were growing exhausted, their feet a total mess.

Lewis was struggling upriver, using the setting poles and towropes mostly. The beaver, thousands of them, had totally transformed the nature of the river; it was full of narrow channels threading around and through large islands, doubling or tripling the miles they had to pole or pull the canoes upstream, compared to the miles on foot. And this was a mountain river now. The current was swift. Getting eight heavily laden canoes upriver was exhausting work. The men were beginning to complain.

On July 21 Clark decided to camp by the river, rest his men, and wait for Lewis to come up with the party. The next day Lewis caught up with them. Sacagawea was recognizing the country now; “this is the river on which her relations live,” Lewis writes, and “the Three Forks are at no great distance.” When the captains got together that evening Clark, even with his sore feet, insisted on going ahead on foot the next day, taking different people this time: Frazer and both the Fields brothers, and then Charbonneau, who begged to go with them. It was important to Clark that he go on; he decided to go on, and Lewis forbore to contradict him. It was a moment of tension between the two men. It passed. On the 23rd, the next day, Clark walked 25 miles ahead, while Lewis continued the labor of moving upstream.

On the 24th Lewis found the words to describe the country. The mountains, he says,

seem to rise in some places like an amphitheater, one range above another as they recede from the river until the most distant and lofty have their tops clad with snow. The adjacent mountains commonly rise so high as to conceal the more distant and lofty mountains from our view. I fear every day that we shall meet with some considerable falls or obstruction in the river notwithstanding the information of the Indian woman to the contrary, who assures us that the river continues much as we see it.


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