September 1 – October 10, 1805
Down the Lolo Trail
As with other great explorers throughout history, there has always been a need to go where only myths and legends exist. When Napoleon Bonaparte refused the offer to purchase New Orleans, and countered with the opportunity for the United States to purchase the entire French claim, it was an offer too great for James Madison to refuse. The offer was taken back to the President and approved by Congress with a vote of twenty-four to seven. The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the United States, which was quickly becoming overcrowded. But since this region had yet to be explored no one knew what exactly they had gotten ...view middle of the document...
On September 1st, the Corps of Discovery departed, on what Clark described as a nice day. They had rain around noon and the ground was broken (rock) which flowed together with the river. Finding food was getting difficult, they were only able to hunt one deer, and they purchased four salmon from the Natives. During this part of their travels they came upon many forks in the river, and often had to cut their own roads through the wilderness. The terrain was steep and rocky, making travel very difficult for men and horses alike. More than once did a horse take a tumble down a hill.
Around September 4th, it is noted that the temperature was starting to drop. Ice was frozen to their packs, they had to delay their departure on occasion to allow the sun to thaw them. It is around this time that they made acquaintance of some of the Flat Head tribe. They enjoyed hospitality, exchanged gifts, sat together under robes and smoking the peace pipe. They purchased horses to replace some of their exhausted ones. Communications proved difficult to say the least. Tribes to not speak the same dialect. It took time to translate through layers of languages. Their travel during this part was difficult. They faced deep crevices along with sharp peaks. This also make hunting and foraging for food nearly impossible. More than once they had to make the decision to butcher a horse or a dog, just to survive. On occasion the men resorted to eating bear oil and candles. Many of the men were starting to suffer from dysentery. I think at this point I would have wanted to give up, as dysentery does not sound fun at all. It was decided to send Lewis out with a hunting party to find more level ground, in hopes that wild game would be more bountiful.
Around mid-September, the Corps encountered snow. Often falling in great amounts overnight which delayed their departure the following morning. The explorers were definitely tired, cold, hungry and wet. If the dysentery hadn’t discouraged me by this point, cold, wet feet would have. It is noteworthy to mention that part of their task was to identify and catalog different types of flora and fauna, along their route. Some of the things they documented were referenced to prior discovery, while some were new and never seen by members of the Corps. They noted huckleberries, alder berries, black berries and choke cherries to name a few. Elaborate and very detailed descriptions of wildlife were a necessity. We as college students have trouble remembering homework assignments and schedules.
September 20th it is noted that they came upon a group of Natives called, Cho Pun-nish or pierced nose. Today we call...