Having lived in two cities now that are along the banks of the Mississippi River, I have come to appreciate the story of Lewis and Clark.  Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set off in 1804 to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory and see if the Missouri River connected with the Columbia River and created a passage to the Pacific Ocean.

One of the premier books on the topic is Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose.  It is aptly named, for a heroic amount of courageousness is what was required to make this journey.  “As the keelboat turned her bow into the stream, Lewis and his party cut themselves off from civilization.  There would be no more incoming letters, no orders, no commissions, no fresh supplies, no reinforcements, nothing reaching them, until they returned.”*  Would you have turned?

But what was most surprising to me is that the best intelligence Lewis and Clark had led them to believe that their entire trip would be via water.  Thus they packed accordingly, with boats able to ferry much more than one could carry on land.  Not only did much of their trip end up being via horseback, but they encountered the Rocky Mountains as a surprise!  Can you imagine having to traverse over mountains that you did not know existed when you were expecting to travel exclusively via boat?

We can learn from Lewis and Clark about ingenuity, perseverance, flexibility and faith.   They started a journey, and stayed with it, even though they had every reason to give up and turn back.  Had they known the obstacles and hardships ahead, they may not have even set out, but think of the glorious feeling to reach the banks of the Pacific and see that majestic spread in front of you. 

The going may be rough.  There may be unexpected mountains on your path.  It may take two years to complete your quest.  You may feel cut off from everyone else.  But in the end, if the cause is great enough, so is the will to achieve it.

— beth triplett

* p. 139

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: