Dear Friend of CHARIAD:
Next week, I begin retracing much of the Lewis and Clark Trail of Exploration. They were chartered by Pres. Thomas Jefferson to explore the newly acquired northern reaches of the Louisiana Purchase and try to find a waterway to the Pacific Ocean. They established the American claim on what is now the upper Mid-West, mountain west, Washington and Oregon. The maps and vast collections of plants and animals brought back by the expedition were the first scientific collection from this vast area of what would become part of the US. Much of the collection is in the Harvard Museum today.
I know that many of you are asking what this has to do with sailing. This coming weekend, we have an important three day regatta from Marblehead. I am leaving after the regatta and flying to Bismarck, North Dakota, for the start of my expedition. Even during this beautiful summer, sailing is not everything. I want to find compelling experiences like this adventure to add to my life experience.
After starting in St. Louis and going upstream on the Missouri River, Lewis and Clark spent their first winter in what is now Bismarck. That is where Sacagawea joined them and was their connection to tribes further up the trail.
My plan is to roughly follow the L&C trail west across the continental divide and down the Columbia River to the Pacific where they spent the second winter. I will have camera and log book in hand. I hope to see buffalo on the Great Plains, learn about the Plains Indians, drive across the Going to the Sun Road through Glacier National Park and go down the Columbia River Gorge.
Jefferson assumed that Lewis and Clark had died because they were not heard from for almost four years. After wintering on the coast, L & C started back upriver for a two year return journey.
I have two speaking engagements in LA and San Diego the week after by scheduled arrival on the coast. After standing bare foot in the water looking out on the Pacific at the mouth of the Columbia River, I will have to decide which way to go from there.
If you have not done so, read Stephen Ambrose’s book Undaunted Courage about the expedition. Truly amazing. Some of you have heard that I recently told a group of my friends about this trip. One of the folks in the group, a Sloan grad, asked if the Lewis and Clark Trail went all of the way to Springfield, MA. I said the trail did go to Springfield after starting near Worcester and I expected to arrive in Springfield on a donkey about Sept. 11. My friend agree that would be a great adventure. For the full story, check out Ambrose’s book.
I am not sure whether I will be able to reliably upload photos to Facebook. If we are connected on Facebook and I can post some of what I see, you will get the story in process. If not, you will have to wait until I return to hear the stories. If I ….