June 30, 2012

6/28/12 - Lewis & Clark NHP

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is located where Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and the Corps of Discovery spent the soggy winter of 1805-06.  Capt. Clark wrote that during the 106 days the Lewis and Clark Expedition wintered at Fort Clatsop in 1806 it rained all but 12 days and they saw the sun 6 times!!! 

(Welcome to the Pacific Northwest, guys!)

The original fort decayed in the wet climate but they built a replica of it so you can see how they lived.  Clark drew a floor plan of it on the cover of his journal, so it's pretty accurate.  Actually, this is the second replica fort.  They built one in 1955 that lasted for 50 years, then someone didn't completely douse a fire after a demonstration and it burned down.  (Oops!) 

I'll bet they installed a fire detection system this time around...

An interpreter gave an interesting talk about the medicines they used.  I thought it would be lots of herbal medicines they learned from Sacajawea and friends, but they took a lot with them.  They were big on blood-letting in the early 19th century, laudanum (that's opium, folks!), and lots of purging (both ends).  One way archaeologists can identify their campsites is by checking out their latrines which are loaded with mercury.  In spite of it all, most of them came back home.
They built a salt works in what is now Seaside, and there's a reconstructed site there.  (This was before it became a cute little resort town, I suppose.)  They made enough salt for the trip home.
Click on the link to see more pictures:     Lewis and Clark NHP

(PS. We discovered a great place to eat in Astoria!  It's called "The Bowpicker", and it's in an old converted fishing boat. The only thing they sell is fish and chips--but not just ordinary fish.  They use albacore tuna, and it's absolutely the best fish and chips we've ever eaten!)

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