by Julie Marie Wade
This story begins with salt—three and a half bushels of it—excellent, fine, strong, & white¹. That’s what the explorers wrote in their log, leaving Seaside on February 20, 1806.
These men had traveled from Missouri, army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark. It was the first United States expedition to venture all the way west, across the Continental Divide and down into the Columbia River basin. But then the explorers met winter in the Pacific Northwest and found themselves dripping (some things never change), rain riding every gust of wind, the dim light heavy as a helmet on their heads, and the elk meat at risk of spoiling.