Lewis and Clark are two of the most famous explorers in American history. They are credited as being an integral part of the Louisiana Purchase, an event that would help to transform and shape the United States. In 1803, Meriwether Lewis began the journey from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A few months later in the middle of October, Lt. William Clark offered to join him in his journey at Camp Dubois, in an area now known as Indiana. Once the two men joined forces together, they sailed along the Ohio River heading towards the great city of Saint Louis, Missouri. In 1805, the pair continued on their travels along several rivers such as the Snake and Columbia Rivers into the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps some travel insurance would have helped them along on such a treacherous journey! Eventually, the two arrived at the mouth of the Columbia and into Astoria, Oregon, although this area had not been named at that time. In September of 1806, Lewis and Clark returned back to Saint Louis from Oregon and ended their journey.
This amazing duo kept fairly meticulous record and maps of their travels. While there is no definitive answer as to how many miles they traveled, it is estimated to be approximately 7,690 miles total. The two traveled by foot, on horseback, and by boat. Their journey was treacherous at times, but they enlisted the help of some other people along the way. Perhaps one of the most famous people who assisted Lewis and Clark was a Native American woman by the name of Sacagawea. Clark nicknamed her Janey and she made a very big impact on their success. She helped to serve as both an interpreter, and a guide who knew the land, since she was a native of the region. The group encountered many treacherous obstacles along the way. Harsh winters and heavy snow were factors that made moving through rocky, mountainous terrain quite difficult. Other problems included wild animals, insect bites, and tribes of Native Americans that did not want strangers roaming through their land.
Despite many obstacles, Lewis and Clark, along with Sacagawea and many others who sacrificed their comfort, made one of the most important discoveries of the West the United States has ever known. There were no modern forms of transportation such as airplanes or freight trains, and no extras like travel medical insurance, computers, or GPS systems. Their trek of over 7,000 miles made the United States a larger country and opened the door for a whole new portion of the nation that had never been explored by Americans before. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson declared the Lewis and Clark expedition to be one of a scientific nature. He also declared it should be completed for the purposes of new methods of commerce through discovery such as waterways, mountains, and new terrain. The two helped to develop a better understanding of the geography and the many wonderful features that make America great. They developed maps, which later served a great help to those who wished to travel west.