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Readying for the Return
December 31, 1805-March 22, 1806
The members of the expedition were all keen to go home. The timing of the return journey, however, would be critical. Only when the snow melted would they be able to get back across the mountains. But if they waited too long to cross, the Missouri River would be frozen by the time they arrived and the expedition would have to endure another winter on the Plains.
By the third week in March the expedition was ready to retrace its steps. The men loaded their three dugouts, purchased a fourth from the local Indians, andunable to buy a fifthstole one from the nearest village. The journey back across a continent was about to begin.