I came across this book when I took a random road trip to Montana. I ended up stopping in at the the Lewis and Clarke National Historic Trail Interpretive Centre, and grabbed the journals on the way out. To be honest, growing up in Canada, I hadn’t heard about the exploration of Lewis and Clarke when I came across this interpretive centre, so, naturally, I needed to read up on it!
An Honest Review:
The journals are written in older English, so it takes a few pages before you realize what words mean what, and it can slow down the readability a bit, but it’s not long before you’re immersed in the story. This specific compilation mixes together both journals from Merriweather Lewis and William Clarke. The journals are so interesting, reading their detailed descriptions for new plants and animals makes you feel like you’re there exploring with them.
You also learn a lot about aboriginal bands from the Northwestern United States; such as, the Nez Perce, Chinook, and Clatsop. The relationships between western settlers and the aboriginal peoples was, and still is, incredibly fragile, but Lewis and Clarke were able to gain trust from the peoples they met, and receive crucial assistance through the Rockies. I really enjoyed reading these journals and felt a lot closer to the Rocky Mountains after finishing them. This read also heightened my sense of adventure in exploring my backyard.
What I learned:
I learned a lot while reading these journals, but my favorite thing I learned was just how menacing Grizzlies can be. There’s one part of the journals which talks about the battle with a relentless Grizzly Bear and how multiple arrows couldn’t slow it down – the only thing that could slow the aggravated bear down was a fatal gun shot to the head.
Mosquitoes are just as abundant back then as they are now. Also, they referred to them as musquetors among various other spellings (made me laugh throughout the book).
- Visit Clarke’s Tree, Washington, USA
Moulton, Gary E. ed. (2004). The Lewis and Clark Journals. Nebraska: The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska.