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Paddling the Columbia

William Clark (Sonny Surowiec) and two expedition members on the Columbia River

In October 1805, using dugout canoes they learned to make from the Nez Perce, the expedition entered a section of the Columbia River that Clark called “gut Swelling water, boiling and whorling in every direction.”

Convinced no one could make it through, Nez Perce Indians gathered on the banks to watch the white men drown. All expedition members made it
through successfully.

Photograph by Lisa Truitt

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