Exploration in Nature
Lewis and Clark led the way and took part in an amazing adventure, and an expedition is exactly what it was. They dared to venture into a region unknown to them. Among the unknown was the nature surrounding the paths they were to take. Lewis and Clark, as well as everyone else on the expedition, had only ideas of the geographic areas they were braving. This is shown throughout The Lewis and Clark Expedition. The journal entries throughout this book show just how important nature was to the explorers.
What exactly were Lewis and Clark looking for? They wanted to find a northwest passage to use as a trade route from North America to the Pacific ocean. Using waterways was the only way to trade and ship good in large quantities. To get to the Pacific, another way was needed. It was believed that the Missouri River and the Columbia River came together to form a route to the East Coast. Unfortunately, not much was known about the western United States or the upper Missouri River. Lewis and Clark now had their task: to see if this waterway truly did exist.
The two explorers, along with their men, encountered many new wonders as they traveled up the Missouri. One major discovery was the difference in vegetation. Lewis describes a cherry, which are similar to the ones he has seen before yet have some different characteristics(page 40). He describes the bark as being "smooth and of a dark brown colour", and explains the fruit as "a globular berry about the size of a buck-shot of a fine scarlet red". Lewis is intrigued by the differences judging by his writing. Lewis had much knowledge about observing his surrounding, and Clark had an interest in
learning. This is why the vegetation seemed so phenomenal to them as the trudged up the Missouri.
While the plans looked interesting, the served a more useful purpose. This purpose was survival. Before the explorers reached the first village they lived off pawpaws, yellowish fruit that grew along the river (page 75). Other berries and fruits were used as staples during the duration of the trip, especially when meat was scarce due to the lack of herding animals at times.
Another thing the two explorers documented were the animals. They saw many animals they had never encountered before. Among these were the buffalo and antelope. They learned how Indians depended on the buffalo for food and other amenities, and also discovered how important these animals would become for their own survival. They also learned how different animals were more influential to Indian tribes in different regions. Plateau and...