I once took part in the Lewis and Clark expedition in the West.
The reenactment of this historical event took place in June of l984, but our portage around the Great Falls had us cross countryside that looked and felt the same wilderness as it was in June of 1805. No people or buildings at all, just open land.
I had come to Great Falls in January to take a new position at the Red Cross chapter and was asked post haste to be a member of the planning committee
Captains Meriwether Lewis and William C. Clark, portrayed by Richard Martin and Ronald Paulick told me, “We need two women to portray members of the original party. We think one of them should be you.”
Every week three committees met under their sergeant to make preparations, to learn from experts as much as possible about the Expedition and its members, to get a feel for countryside we would be crossing in our portage around the Great Falls with three loaded canoes build with trees from the forests nearby.
In our outfits made of two deer and one elk skin, the party members looked as if we had stepped out of history.
The Captains wrote me a letter prior to departure. In it they said: “As you portray Pvt. Joseph Whitehouse during these next few weeks. We hope you will pour into your role the strength of your own character in which we have the utmost confidence. There will be many rigors ahead< and both physical and mental challenges for you. But there will be opportunities for you to meet and exceed these challenges. And with success you will benefit greatly in unaccountable ways.”
(More about the challenges of that journey and how the remembrance of it brings to mind the ones which might be expected on the journey I soon begin. In the next blog, more about the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the lessons it taught.)