Search for the Pacific: 10K

Run our very first New Adventure race! It's set over a 10K distance, and you can either run it in one go or stop and resume it over multiple sessions.

Return to the past with your time travel companion, to learn about the trials and tribulations of Lewis and Clark's epic expedition to the Pacific.


Scene summaries may contain spoilers
It's May 1804 at Camp Dubois in Illinois, over 1300km from the Atlantic. The expedition spent the winter here before heading west to try to find a water route to the Pacific.
The expedition, known as the Corps of Discovery, was made up of about 45 men, mostly soldiers, but with two Native American men hired as interpreters, and York, a black man enslaved by Lewis. It was painfully slow going, with the boats having to move upstream against the current.
Seventy days, and 1030 kilometres later, the expedition made it to the Great Plains, and encountered buffalo for the first time!
You watch a meeting between Lewis and the Teton Sioux. Lewis gives a speech which is rather condescending. The Corps of Discovery was also intended to be the forerunners of trade with the Native Americans. They gave beads and metal tools to the Native Americans as a promise of more trade to come. The Teton Sioux don't seem impressed though!
You've reached what would be modern North Dakota in the Autumn of 1804. The Corps are building Fort Mandan to stay over the winter, named after the Mandan villages nearby which were the heart of Native American trade in the summer. Lewis became friendly with Black Cat, the chief of one of the villages.
It's the depths of winter now, and Lewis and Clark are in a meeting with Toussaint Charbonneau, who has two 'wives' that he bought from the Hidastas: Sacagawea, and Otter Woman. The Hidastas had kidnapped them from the Shosone when they were about 12 years old. Lewis and Clark want to use one of the women as a translator when they meet the Shosone. Charbonneau would also accompany the expedition, and chose to bring Sacagawea, even though she had just given birth.
In early 1805, several of the expedition returned to the east to take the last letters and reports. The rest continued west on the Missouri River. It was still slow going, and Lewis and Clark often explored ahead on foot, with Sacagawea showing them how to find different edible plants to supplement the meat they hunted.
The expedition has reached what would be present-day Montana, where they encounter varied wildlife, including beavers. The beaver pelt trade would be very interested in this. They also encounter their first grizzly bear!
The expedition has reached the White Cliffs area of Montana, and is surrounded by desert and brown bluffs almost as far as the eye can see. But far out west, you can also see the Rocky Mountains, ready to throw a snowy barrier in the way.
After reaching the Great Falls of the Missouri River, Lewis realises that they will have to carry their boats and cargo over rough terrain. And the metal framed boat won't work with the hides he wants to put on it.
You've reached the Three Forks of the Missouri river, considered to be the headwaters of the Missouri-Mississippi river system. The Shosone lived around the area during summer, and Sacagawea began to recognise landmarks. Lewis wanted to make contact with the Shosone to buy horses and information about crossing the mountains.
While exploring, Lewis met with the Shosones, gave them gifts, and persuaded them to accompany him to his camp. After five years, Sacagawea was reunited with her people, including her brother Cameahwait, the chief.
The expedition travelled to Lemhi Pass, assuming they would cross the continental divide, but were confronted with another, even taller set of mountains: the Bitterroots. No non-Native had any idea how the interior of the continent looked prior to this and it would be even harder going.
It's early September 1805, and it's snowing in the Bitterroots. It's difficult terrain, and the expedition don't have access to much food for the horses, or game for themselves. It takes eleven days to cross the mountains, and they're overjoyed to reach a Nez Percé village where they're told that the Pacific is just a couple of weeks away!
The expedition set off along the Clearwater River after trading with the Nez Percé for food, and being shown how to make dug out canoes. It was not smooth sailing due to the Clearwater being a fast flowing mountain river with lots of rapids.
November 6th, 1905, and the expedition finally sees the ocean! Well, technically it's Gray's Bay, 32km inland, but the end of the journey is in sight.
After reaching the Pacific, the expedition had to make winter camp right away after storms pinned them in place for almost a week. Lewis and Clark had the entire party, including York, the man Lewis had enslaved, and Sacagawea, vote on where to set up that camp. The expedition marked a lot of firsts for the young United States of America, and marked the start of westward expansion. It was a triumph of determination and the spirit of exploration, and the foundation of the oppressive genocide of many Native American nations. This was only half the journey in the end. Lewis and Clark did eventually have to make it all the way back home!