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"Ocian in view! O! the joy" -Lewis and Clark Expedition, Nov. 8, 1805
"Ocian in view! O! the joy," wrote William Clark in his Journal,

but the next day, NOVEMBER 8, 1805, Lewis and Clark realized they were still only at Gray's Bay, 20 miles from the Pacific.

William Clark wrote:

"We found the swells or waves so high that we thought it imprudent to proceed...

The seas rolled and tossed the canoes in such a manner this evening that several of our party were sea sick."

Clark's Journal continued:

"We at length turned a point, and found ourselves in a deep bay...

We coasted round the bay, which is about four miles across... called by the Indians... Kilhowanakel...

We named it Meriwether's Bay, from the Christian name of Captain Lewis, who was, no doubt, the first white man who had surveyed it."

Pinned down by drenching, cold storms for 3 weeks, Lewis and Clark let the members of the expedition decide where to build winter camp.

They even allowed Clark's slave "York" and the woman Indian guide "Sacagawea" to vote.

A humble Christmas was celebrated in their new Fort Clatsop, near present-day Astoria, Oregon.

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The Journal of Lewis and Clark's expedition stated:

"We were awaked at daylight by a discharge of firearms, which was followed by a song from the men, as a compliment to us on the return of Christmas, which we have always been accustomed to observe as a day of rejoicing...

The remainder of the day was passed in good spirits, though there was nothing in our situation to excite much gayety. The rain confined us to the house,

and our only luxuries in honor of the season were some poor elk, so much spoiled that we ate it through sheer necessity, a few roots, and some spoiled pounded fish..."

The Journal continued:

"We...endeavored to dry our wet articles before the fire.

The fleas...have taken such possession of our clothes that we are obliged to have a regular search every day through our blankets as a necessary preliminary to sleeping at night...

Every Indian is constantly attended by multitudes of them, and no one comes into our house without leaving behind him swarms of these tormenting insects."

President Thomas Jefferson had informed Congress, February 19, 1806:

"Captain Meriwether Lewis, of the First Regiment of infantry, was appointed, with a party of men,

to explore the river Missouri from its mouth to its source, and, crossing the highlands by the shortest portage, to seek the best water communication thence to the Pacific Ocean; and Lieutenant Clarke was appointed second in command."

By Clark's estimate, their journey had taken them 4,162 miles from the mouth of the Missouri River.

Three months earlier, on August 12, 1805, Meriwether Lewis with three companions, George Drouillard, Private John Shields and Private Hugh McNeal, reached the headwaters of the Missouri.

Lewis recorded:

"The road took us to the most distant fountain of the waters of the Mighty Missouri...

Private McNeal had exultingly stood with a foot on each side of this little rivulet and thanked his God that he had lived to bestride the mighty and heretofore deemed endless Missouri...

They had now reached the hidden sources of that river, which had never yet been seen by civilized man."

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