On this day in 1805, Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and William Clark (1770-1838) became the first American citizens to have crossed the continent to view Oregon's Pacific Ocean.
"Great joy... in view of the ocean," said Clark about discovering the Northwest Passage.
The expedition was the visionary spark of Thomas Jefferson following the Louisiana Purchase. The President commissioned the two explorers to travel from St. Louis, Missouri through the heart of the uncharted country. They were to find the source of the Missouri River, cross the Rockies, then follow the largest river west to the Pacific Ocean.
Their journey featured dramatic landscape and virgin wilderness of poetic beauty. Lewis called the Missouri "the largest river which runs towards the rising sun."
The 32-member Corps of Discovery spent nearly three years traveling 8,000 miles, mapping rivers, mountains, and prairies. The duo's detailed daily journals and Clark's remarkable map of the area inspired others to follow their courageous trail.
"Wherever we go in the wilderness, we find more than we seek," observed naturalist and writer John Muir.
Wherever you are, enjoy the view!