07 November 2010

7 November - Lewis and Clark think they see the Pacific

Today in 1805, Captain William Clark of the Corps of Discovery wrote in his journal from their camp at Pillar Rock on the Columbia River (just east of Grays Bay, Washington): "Great joy in camp we are in View of the Ocian, this great Pacific Octean which we been so long anxious to See. and the roreing or noise made by the waves brakeing on the rockey Shores (as I suppose) may be heard distictly."

Whether of not they could actually see or hear the Pacific Ocean is in doubt - they were probably looking at the Columbia River Estuary.  In any case, 8 days (six of them spent holed up under extremely miserable conditions) and 20 miles later, Patrick Gass wrote: "...when the weather became more calm, and we loaded and set out from our disagreeable camp; went about 3 miles, when we came to the mouth of the river, where it empties into a handsome bay.  Here we halted on a sand beach, formed a comfortable camp, and remained in full view of the ocean, at this time more raging than pacific."

They had traveled over 4,100 miles from the east coast of the United States.

Two excellent sites are PBS "Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery" and "Discovering Lewis and Clark", where you can find Captain Clark's slightly snarky account of the making of Charboneau's "White Pudding".

I'm sure the White Pudding tasted really good to really hungry men.  I'll pass.

LewisandClarkTrail.com has a good article relating how much meat was needed by the Corps, and a list of the various meats they did eat - deer and bison, of course, but horses and dogs were also on the menu.   By the time they reached the Pacific, they were tired of "pounded salmon".  Well, I'm not tired of it yet, so in honor of Lewis and Clark's Wishful Thinking that they had finally seen the End of the Road, I shall have grilled salmon.  And maybe something light from the Lewis and Clark Vineyard.