In the Wake of Discovery: Following the trail of Lewis and Clark solo by canoe and foot in 2004.
This long chapter in my blog is my archived journals of my 6-month solo paddle/hike trip following the trail of Lewis & Clark from St. Louis to the Pacific in 2004. This journey was a childhood dream of mine which I completed during the 200th anniversary of the original expedition of 1804-06. My intent at the time was to travel by solo canoe up the Missouri River for 2600-miles to Three Forks Montana. From there, I traded canoe paddles for hiking boots and spent about a month hiking to Orifino, Idaho on the Clearwater River. This is where the Lewis & Clark Expedition built dugout canoes for their journey to the Pacific. From Orifino I traveled down the Clearwater, Snake and Columbia Rivers to Astoria Oregon where the river meets the Pacific Ocean. The journey was a most memorable undertaking involving a lot of mental and physical challenges, disappointments, as well as wonderful experiences. A journey of this magnitude never really goes the way it was planned, and I learned it was important to be flexible in whatever was dished out to me. I was under a 6-month time limit, and this restraint caused me to have to make a few changes in my plans along the way which you will read about in this ongoing story. I've included many memorable scenes from this historic trail.
I traveled solo mainly because no one else wanted to commit to such an undertaking. I prearrainged 12-food drops in which I had a friend send me food supplies to various post offices along the route. I spent the previous winter and spring dehydrating food so that I didn't have to rely on purchasing food along the way. The Lewis & Clark Trail is not a remote trail anymore. In fact it passes along probably 100 towns, including some very large cities such as Kansas City and Portland. I encountered many people along the trail who added a lot of character to my journey. There may have only been a gap of 3 days without ever seeing another person. However I did go as much as 5 days without speaking to anyone.
I had dreamed of doing this trip back in the early 1970's when I was in the 3rd Grade. I began planning this trip about 2000 not knowing at the time that the bicentennial of the original expedition was to take place in 2004. Once I found out about this, I decided that 2004 would be the year I set aside the rest of my life and pursue a dream.
I hope you enjoy the story and photos I've enclosed here. This is a very long story about 100,000 words.
(Above photo of statue of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and Lewis's dog Seaman in St. Charles Missouri 2004. Copyright 04 Norm Miller.