Lewis and Clark Hardships
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Lewis and Clark: Hardships

Summary: This article about the Lewis and Clark Expedition provides interesting facts about the hardships endured by the Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery on their great, historic journey west. These courageous men traveled thousands of miles in the unmapped wilderness and despite the many hardships, fears and hazards they encountered only one man, Sgt. Charles Floyd, lost his life on the expedition caused by a ruptured appendix. Read about the different hardships the men encountered on their momentous journey of exploration. 

Lewis and Clark: Hardships

Lewis and Clark Expedition for kids: Hardships of the long journey
Lewis and Clark and the men of the Corps of  Discovery had little idea of the different hardships they would endure on the long expedition. The outward journey and the return journey home covered over 7000 miles from May 14, 1804 to September 23, 1806. The journey took two years, four months and ten days from their departure from Camp Wood to their return to St. Louis at the end of the expedition. During a journey of this length it was inevitable that they would encounter many hardships along the way.

Lewis and Clark Hardships: List of Hardships and Fears
The list of hardships and fears were as follows:

  • Plagued by Mosquitoes

  • Small Pesky Flies

  • Threat from terrifying Grizzly Bears

  • Fighting against strong currents and shifting sandbars

  • Dangerous hazards caused by navigating rapids and obstacles in the water

  • Exhaustion from the daily grind of moving the heavy keelboat up the Missouri River that involved arduous rowing, pulling the keelboat through shallows using a rope from on shore (called cordelling) or pushing the heavy boat with long poles (poling)

  • Later in the journey it was necessary to abandon travel by water and physically carry the boats. This process, called portaging, proved to be very draining and extremely time

  • Traveling over harsh, tough terrain

  • Enduring extreme weather conditions such as intense, blistering heat, the bitter cold, blizzards, hailstorms, snow and continuous rain

  • Confrontations with hostile Native Indians such as the Teton Sioux who they had a difficult stand-off with on September 25, 1804. However, the only violent incident occured when the expedition fought with a party of Blackfeet Native Indians. The members of the Corps were not seriously injured but two of the Native Indians were killed

  • The Great Falls proved to be a difficult challenge. The men had to bypass the falls which involved carrying their canoes, supplies and equipment all by hand for over 1 month

  • The harrowing journey on the rough Lolo trail through the Bitteroot Mountains

  • In the winter months it was sometimes difficult to find food

  • As the journey progressed illnesses became an increasing problem

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Lewis and Clark Expedition: Lewis and Clark Hardships

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