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Racing Against Winter's Approach
October 01-December 20, 1804
Lewis and Clark were keen to cover as many miles as possible before the Missouri froze. Four days after the first snowfall, they reached the Mandan tribe’s villages, where they planned to spend the winter.
Without delay the expedition members began to build a fort—protection against both the bitter northern winter and attack by the Sioux. Before the end of November, when ice was already running in the river, the fort was finished. Temperatures dipped to below 0ºF (-18ºC), and guards, posted around the clock, had to be relieved every half hour.
The expedition's food supplies soon began to dwindle. To make it through the winter, the captains would have to find a supply of meat for the men.