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Meriwether Lewis listed a "Keeled Boat" in his pre-exploration shopping list, yet after he ultimately gained it, he and the other journalists of the Corps of Discoincredibly simply referred to as it "the boat" (190 times) or, much less often, "the barge" (32 times). Construction of the barge in Pittsburgh verified to be a nightmare . . . .

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"So much, we have skilled even more challenge from the navigating of the Missouri, than danger from the Saveras. The challenges which oppose themselves to the navigating of this immence river, arise from the rapidity of it"s current, it"s falling banks, sandbars, and also hardwood which stays wholy, or partly hidden in it"s bed, usually dubbed by the navigators of the Missouri and Mississippi Sawyers or planters . . . ."


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The task of piloting the expedition"s watercrafts efficiently through the Missouri"s windings and also blind leads was the principal obligation of Pierre Cruzatte, a French Canadian and also Omaha Indian mixed-blood that, as a riverguy, earned the respect and also confidence of eexceptionally member of the party. The many-talented Cruzatte was additionally admired as an interpreter, a cache digger, and a fiddler.


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The two pirogues offered as supplementary cargo carriers accompanying the barge (keelboat) from the mouth of the Missouri to the Mandan villeras, one of which ended up being the command also boat on the rerotate trip from the Marias River to St. Louis.


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Altogether, the guys sculpted 15 Dugout Canoes. At Ft Mandan they hewed 6 from cottontimber logs, which they paddled, poled, and also towed up the Missouri to the Great Falls. West of the Rockies they supplied ponderosa pine logs to craft 5 new canoes. On the Yellowstone, Clark made two little dugouts a couple of miles above today"s Billings.


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A mythology of "primitive" canoes, heavy and crude, and also of primitive canoeing, has progressively taken hold in Lewis and Clark scholarship, and is below revised. This essay examines their canoeing and also their canoes.


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How carry out these big "logs" take care of the whitewater of the Clearwater River?
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The explorers assembled the iron watercraft in the beforehand summer of 1805 at the Upper Portage Camp, upstream of the Great Falls. There, on June 23, in a clearing on the banks of the Missouri, under willows protecting them from the Montana sun, Lewis and also the males put together the framework. For the following 11 days, they functioned on completing the canoe. "We dubbed her the Experiment," created Sergeant Patrick Gass.


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"We hoisted Sail," wrote Ordmeans, and also "ran verry rapid a Short time. Broke our mast." That was the fourth such mishap because they left Camp Dubois on 14 May. The party "came to" on the west side of the Niobrara. Tright here the guys made a brand-new mast from the trunk of a tall, sturdy red cedar, which apparently lasted at leastern till they got to the Mandan villages . . . .
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Indians stole all the steeds, so Sgt. Pryor and also his three privates created 2 bull boats and floated down the Yellowrock River in wishes of catching up through Clark or Lewis . . . .


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In a purely physical sense, the exploration was organized together by rope. Rope for handling the keelboat, the pirogues and the canoes. Rope to secure sails and anchors, and for towing. Rope for fastening packperiods, assembling tents, and controlling horses.


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This device was typically used for measuring the rate of a vessel at sea, yet it could likewise be supplied to meacertain the velocity of a river"s existing. It had four parts: a log-ship, or log-chip; a specially calibrated log-line; a reel to organize the log-line; and also a log-glass, or sand-glass.


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The author lists eexceptionally event in all the journals, yielding indevelopment around the expedition"s boats and also boating, particularly concerning the canoes.


Boating terms beneficial in understanding the design, building, and paddling of Dugout Canoes are here identified.

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This site is offered as a public organization by the Lewis and also Clark Trail Heritage Foundation through participation and also funding from the adhering to organizations:

Journal excerpts are from The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Gary E. Moulton, 13 vols. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983-2001).