Lewis and Clark

Discovering America III: 1806 (Return Trip)

Discovering America III: 1806 (Return Trip)
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.96

     challenging words:    downfall, forbidding, gunfire, near-tragedy, overland, subsist, troublesome, upriver, retreat, travelers, rescuers, westward, faithful, heading, hospitable, riverbanks
     content words:    Pacific Ocean, Fort Clatsop, Bitterroot Range, Chinook Indians, Walla Walla, Nez Perce, Blackfeet Indians

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Discovering America III: 1806 (Return Trip)
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     Lewis and Clark had reached their goal. The Corps ("core") of Discovery had come over four thousand miles! From the western edge of the U.S. at St. Louis, Missouri, the team of explorers had gone all the way to the Pacific Ocean. They had built Fort Clatsop as a winter shelter near what is now Astoria, Oregon.
2     For the first two years of their voyage, every day had been an adventure. They had seen new land, new plants, and new animals, and they had met many native people. But now, having reached their destination, they found there was nothing exciting to do. Besides, it seemed like it was always raining. Their food was always the same: elk meat and roots. They had had a lonely, soggy Christmas. The travelers wanted to go home.
3     On March 23, 1806, the Corps gave their winter fort to the Clatsop people for whom it was named. With their canoes pointed east, the men paddled upriver. They were heading home! But there was nearly a whole continent between them and the world they had left two years before.
4     They knew they must face a forbidding wall of mountains. The Bitterroot Range had nearly been their downfall on the westward trek. But surely it would be different this time. They would be crossing in early summer. The snow and bitter cold of the first crossing shouldn't be a problem. Now, they knew the trail. Nothing could go wrong, they reasoned. Still, the thought of the dreaded mountains haunted them.
5     Even before the voyagers got to the mountains, things went badly. The Chinook Indians were unfriendly and tried to steal what few supplies the travelers had left. The river erupted in rapids and waterfalls. The portages (por-TAHJ-us), carrying canoes and gear around the rough places in the river, became very troublesome.

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Lewis and Clark

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