LEWIS AND CLARK
Foggy Morning on the Missouri River,1804
Hazards on the Missouri River were many. Fog was not an
occurrence, thus, forcing the members of the Corps of Discovery to
forward, easy as she goes. Many times I have found myself on the river
as the fog moves in and envelops me with a heavy layer of opaque gray.
If the fog is thick enough, the result can be highly disorienting. One
may become paralyzed with fear, thus, causing the traveler to guess at
his direction, position on the river, and feel the knot in his stomach
start to tighten at the thought of coming to rest on or under a
obstruction. The mean Missouri River was bad enough when you could see
the snags, shifting sandbars, rocks, floating rafts of trees, and
currents. However, when the veil of gray mist descended over them, a
was the only navigational aid they possessed.
The Captains have chosen the power of the oars as the optimum
source for this part of the river. With men on the bow as lookouts and
manning their long spar poles, the helmsman steers and waits for
from his forward crew. The silence of the river on this foggy morning
through the virgin wilderness of the West must have been overwhelming
today’s standards of noise from which we cannot escape. Oars on the
a groan or two from the crew under the strain, and an occasional order
shouted to give guidance, would have been the only sounds to pierce the
veil of the river.