Ironic, as it is actually Mackenzie who holds the distinction of leading the first recorded crossing of North America, not Lewis and Clark. In 1793, Mackenzie made a second attempt to cross the continent, over an extremely rugged section of modern-day British Columbia. He reached the Pacific north of Vancouver, and in so doing, beat Lewis and Clark by a dozen years. Mackenzie’s published memoir of the trip inspired Thomas Jefferson to send Lewis and Clark at all, and they carried a copy of the best-selling book in their canoe.
~ Brian Castner
If you are not following Atlas Obscura you are seriously missing out. I had an idea much like it, about 20 years ago and I never followed through. Meanwhile they have done it WAY better than I think I could have. Every day they post a couple of obscure things about our world.
This particular item is SOOOOO MUCH FUN! I thought (ie, I was told, in primary school and high school) that Lewis & Clark were these great adventurers who set out across the …. NOT. They took a copy of this other guy’s book with them.
Meanwhile, Internet for the win! As you read the story — seriously. go! — it talks about a “bend in the river” where they misjudged how much it was redirecting them. (Complicated by no maps, bad magnetic north issues in that area, etc) And TODAY you can go to this Google map link and you can see it’s like… “Yay! We’re going west on this river and we’re going to reach the Pacific ocean by going below Alaska…” *sad trombone* and the river makes this VICIOUS hard-right turn and “booooo! We’re going to the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean….”