My Corp Discovery: 1805

Kristen Boyd, guest writer

We have been traveling for what feels like an eternity. I came into this exploration thinking it would be nothing but discovery and adventure, but now I’m just sick. Sick of the same old trees, the same old mountains, the same old people. . . Or maybe I’m just sea sick. Sea sick from being stuck on the same old boat floating down the same old river.
My name is Lillian Rea Kelly, but everyone just calls me Lilly. I ran away with the Corp of Discovery when I turned 18 because I was tired of working the same job day in and day out just to put food on the table for my drunk of a father who most days couldn’t even get up from his chair in the living room of our tiny town house. But that’s all behind me now because I’m not going back to that. I used to dream of a life of adventure and all I wanted to do was leave. But now that dream is a reality. I left and I am now on the biggest adventure of my life.
I really can’t complain though. Since I’ve joined the expedition the crew has been so good to me and I’ve learned and seen so much. I remember the day we found this small dog looking creature while we were on the prairie. All the men were working together to get it out of its den in the ground so they could send it back for observation. That day was full of laughter and entertainment. Then there was the day when we met Toussaint Charbonneau and his wife Sacagawea, and I was no longer the only girl on the voyage. They became extremely helpful to the group as they were able to interpret for us when we came in contact with Indians along our route. We had gone so far and it seemed as if we would reach the ocean any day now. But little did I know, we still had almost a year to go.
* * *
“Lili! I need you now!” Sacagawea yelled from her tent as we were just finishing setting up camp and I was beginning to fix supper. I ran to her knowing exactly why she was so frantic. When we first met Sacagawea and her husband in November, she had been about six months pregnant and it was now February. You do the math. I knew the baby would arrive any day now but I didn’t know what on earth I was supposed to do once it came time. Well now it was time and I’ll spare you the details but I will let you know that Jean Baptiste had to be the cutest baby I had ever seen (Timeline).
After Jean was born we didn’t get much sleep because now we had a crying baby to sing us to sleep at night.
* * *
“Right over this rise and we should reach the mouth of the Columbia” Lewis shouted over his shoulder as we went around yet another mountain in hopes of finding the legendary Columbia River. This river would be the last leg of our trip before we reached the Pacific. We were so close and I could almost hear the waves crashing against the shore. Moaning I complained, “I can’t wait to see something new and big.” But as we rounded the bend there was no Columbia. I had been looking forward to some new scenery but of course, we weren’t even close.
* * *
August closed out. September passed by. October rolled around and we still had not gotten to the Columbia. It was the sixteenth now and, like all the others, was just another lazy day. Everyone was becoming disappointed and began asking questions. Have we taken a wrong turn? Are we ever going to reach our destination? And then, up in the distance, we saw it. The mouth of the Columbia River. We were all so excited that we almost tipped the boats as we stood up to look at what we could only hope wasn’t a dirty trick our tired minds were playing. This was our ticket; our direct route to the ocean. And so we continued. We continued floating. But now we had renewed confidence and pride in what we were doing. No longer we were discouraged because we knew we were well on our way to what we had been working and sacrificing so much for.
* * *
Just two days later Clark was telling us about an old British sea captain who had written about Mount Hood and about how he “marveled at its captivating beauty” (The). We were all excited to see this glorious mountain and learn why this was such an iconic landmark. Just as he finished telling us about its magnificence I looked out to the horizon and saw what I knew right away was the legendary mountain. “There it is!” I exclaimed as everyone jumped from my sudden excitement “Mt. Hood.” Standing alone in a sea of smaller mountains that looked to be bowing at its feet. If a sea captain could have seen it from his boat we had to be getting close to the ocean!
* * *
November 15, 1805. A day I will never forget. As we sailed down the Columbia it began to widen and the water steadily began to get rougher and rougher. We could feel it. The cool breeze that started to pick up. The mist coming off the surface that was being swept up by the wind started to taste a little more salty. I couldn’t contain my excitement. This is what we had waited so long for. This is the adventure I had been wanting to find and experience. Then we saw it. The waves crashing against the misty beach. We found a spot at the mouth of the river to pull out the boats and set up a camp as it was already cold and winter was going to be rough. I remember the overwhelming relief I felt when I heard Clark say, “Ocean in view! O! The joy!”(Ocean). That was when I knew I wasn’t the only one being flooded by these emotions I did not know how to explain. We took our time setting up camp and securing the boats as none of us knew what to do now that we were here. One year, six months, and one day after leaving St. Louis, Missouri we had finally made it (Lewis). This is what I had come for. To get away from my past that had been doing nothing but holding me back and keeping me where I did not want to be. It taught me to take a risk and trust your gut. I made so many new friends and memories that would last me for a lifetime.
We walked to the rocky beach and looked out over the body of water that had brought our journey to an end. The water that we had searched long and hard for was now standing at the end of our road preventing us from going any further. Comforting yet terrifying, this was the most amazing sight I have ever and will ever behold. The power I felt coming from the scenery was overwhelming and all I could think about was the mighty of the One who had made it and His might and strength that had brought us all the way across that vast landscape. We had been the first group of people to cross the country in search of the other side. We had reached what had never been reached by crossing land. Never before had I felt that my life had so much meaning. And never would I forget about my corp discovery.
Works Cited
“Lewis and Clark Expedition reaches the Pacific Ocean on November 15, 1805.” Historylink, 6 March, 2003, Web. 30 Jan. 2018.
“Timeline.” Lewisclark, 2018, Web. 30 Jan. 2018.
“Ocean in View.” Lewis-Clark, 15 January. Web. 2 Feb. 2018.
“The Magic of Mt. Hood.” pdxhistory, 25 October 2016, Web. 12 Feb. 2018.
“10 Little Known Facts About the Lewis and Clark Expedition.” History, 26 Oct. 2015, http:// expedition. Web. 1 Feb. 2018.
“Journals.” Lewisclark, 2018, Web. 1 Feb. 2018.
“Map.” nps, Web. 1 Feb. 2018.
“Mt. Hood.” gettyimages, 2018, sort=mostpopular&mediatype=photography&phrase=mt%20hood. Web. 1 Feb. 2018.