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Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Narrator: They Really Weren't

Lewis and Clark et al prematurely celebrate on November 7, 1805:

Great joy in Camp we are in view of the Ocean, this great Pacific Ocean which we been so long anxious to see and the roaring or noise made by the waves braking on the rocky shores (as I suppose) may be heard distinctly.

Apparently they were actually at the eastern end of Gray’s Bay, about 20 miles from the Pacific.  As Reuben Gold Thwaites, the editor of the 1905 edition of the journals, wrote:

The ocean could not possibly be seen from this point, although during a storm the breakers might be heard. The explorers probably mistook the great bay of the river, which just below this point widens to fifteen miles, for the expanse of the ocean.

Regardless, they ended up being pinned down for a few weeks, which Clark recorded:

The most disagreeable time I have experenced confined on a tempiest coast wet, where I can neither git out to hunt, return to a better situation, or proceed on.

Nobody told me it could get so rainy in the PNW...

ntodd

November 7, 2017 | Permalink

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