"Things Lewis & Clark Thought Were The Pacific Ocean" By Sacagawea
These candid frustrations were found in a letter Sacagawea wrote to the Hidatsa tribe in early 1806.
- •The Missouri RiverWe were about a mile outside of my camp when Lewis and Clark screamed, "We're already there! Thank you, Sacagawea!" The Missouri River is a fierce and great river, but it is not the Pacific Ocean.
- •The Sacagawea RiverThey named this river after me once I explained that it was not an ocean.
- •Great FallsThis beautiful waterfall is such an impressive sight that Lewis and Clark were sure it was the Pacific Ocean. My English was worse than it is now, so it took me many nights to convince them that we had to keep going. At one point Clark sat down, and Lewis had to drag him, pleading "trust the guide!"
- •A streamThis was when I was beginning to get concerned. Lewis and Clark clearly wanted to get to the Pacific as soon as possible to tell President Jefferson. I said "no, sirs, this is not the Ocean. This is a very thin stream."
- •The night skyLewis bet Clark he could drink him under the table and the two imbibed in too much drink. At one point, Clark pointed to the sky and said, "Oh, well, there it is. Thank you, Janey." At first I tried to explain that my name was Sacagawea, not Janey, but I gave that up once I saw them attempt to dive into the sky. The next morning we continued without anyone saying a word.
- •The Finger Lakes in Upstate New YorkI didn't know what these were, so when Lewis one night said, "oh yeah. I've already seen the Pacific Ocean. There's a bunch of them in Upstate New York," I was very confused. Clark took away his bottle and gave me a gesture that I later learned meant "isn't this guy crazy?"
- •RainGranted it was a torrential outpour and very hard to see, but Lewis and Clark poked their heads out of their tent and screamed "the Pacific Ocean is falling on us." Some of the men in our company spent the rest of the night pouring out bottles of whiskey while Clark stared at me drunkenly slurring, "you should be on a coin."
- •Puddles from the rainSame as above.
- •Each otherIt had turned out that Lewis and Clark each had hidden whiskey in their saddles, and they continued to drink throughout one particularly grueling day. After another one of our horses died, Lewis turned to Clark and said, "it's been you all along, you bastard." Clark replied, "that's exactly what the Pacific Ocean would say" and the two of them wrestled for hours as they made wave sounds.
- •A tide pool next to the Pacific OceanAt this point we were close enough that I let it go.