Tag: Lewis and Clark

Meriwether Lewis and Mid-Life Crisis

In a desolate camp in the middle of modern day Montana, Captain Meriwether Lewis of the Corps of Discovery sat down in a thoughtful mood. The Pacific Ocean seemed a long way away through impenetrable wilderness. Lewis picked up his pen and wrote the following. Historian’s have argued what this passage is about. I don’t know. You decide.

“This day I completed my thirty first year, and conceived that I had in all human probability now existed about half the period which I am to remain in this Sublunary world. I reflected that I had as yet done but little, very little indeed, to further the hapiness of the human race, or to advance the information of the succeeding generation. I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now soarly feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended. but since they are past and cannot be recalled, I dash from me the gloomy thought and resolved in future, to redouble my exertions and at least indeavour to promote those two primary objects of human existance, by giving them the aid of that portion of talents which nature and fortune have bestoed on me; or in future, to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself.”

— Captain Meriwether Lewis, 18 August 1805

Lewis and Clark Return to St. Louis on 23 September 1806

On 23 September 1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned to St. Louis, Missouri to complete the expedition that President Thomas Jefferson had sent them on two years, four months, and nine days previously.

The expedition had reached the Pacific Ocean via an overland route through the USA’s newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. Through much trial and tribulation, but with remarkably little conflict with the native inhabitants, the expedition brought back an enormous amount of information that the USA needed to develop the new territory. The native Americans that the expedition encountered were overwhelmingly helpful or neutral to them traveling through the area and provided trade, guidance, and assistance.

In early July 1806, the expedition camped for a few days at Traveler’s Rest after crossing Lolo Pass. I stopped there on my recent trip to follow the Nez Perce War Trail. They gave me some directions to the Lolo Pass. (see image above)

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