Lewis and Clark – Foggy Morning on the Missouri River, 1804


Hazards on the Missouri River were many. Fog was not an uncommon occurrence, thus, forcing the members of the Corps of Discovery to forge forward, easy as she goes. The mean Missouri River was bad enough when you could see the snags, shifting sand bars, rocks, floating rafts of trees, and excessive currents. However, when the veil of gray mist descended over them, a guess was the only navigational aid they possessed.

The Captains have chosen he power of the oars as the optimum power source for this part of the river. With men on the bow as lookouts and manning their long spar poles, the helmsman steers and waits for instruction from his forward crew. The silence of the river of this foggy morning running through the virgin wilderness of the West must have been overwhelming by today’s standards of noise from which we cannot escape. Oars on the water, a groan or two from the crew under the strain, and an occasional order shouted to give guidance, would have been the only sounds to pierce the veil of the river.

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