The Charm Of Fort Clatsop

Fists Raised In Euphoria

I am an auditory learner and the literature I recall best from high school are the ones Miss Bockius read to us.  Even today, I recall the written word far better if someone reads it to me than if I read it myself.  Case and point: Undaunted Courage.  For years I had wanted to read this historical account of one of the greatest expeditions in American history, but thanks to the magic of audio books, someone else read it to me and I savored every word.  I relished in the long monotonous drives that allowed me more than a full hour uninterrupted hanging on nearly every word.  We all have a favorite story – the adventures of Lewis and Clark may be mine.

Once evening, as I cruised southward on Interstate 95, I listened intently as the Corps of Discovery crossed to the south bank of the Columbia River and arrived at Fort Clatsop, the western terminus of their voyage of discovery.  I recklessly removed my hands from the steering wheel and raised my fists in triumph and blurted out, “I’ve been there!”  Suddenly I realized I was shouting at a ridiculously loud volume given there were no other passengers in my car, and I decided I should perhaps take a break from the excitement of the expedition and return my attention to my own travels.

Hidden In My Suitcase

Half a year has passed since the vacation I dubbed “The Lewis and Clark Expedition,” when I followed a similar, while not exact, journey from St. Louis to Oregon.  But on many occasions in my various travels I have crossed paths with Meriwether and William, including the scenic drive over Lolo Pass, and along the Missouri River through eastern Nebraska.  Were it possible to travel through time, I would want to walk alongside Sacajawea, guiding the two captains and their band of explorers through the American wilderness.  Sure, I realize the going would be much tougher than in an automobile, but the prospect still makes my toes curl.

While packing for a simple weekend overnight, I reach into one of the smaller pieces of luggage and find, to my absolute splendor and delight, a silver charm that reads “Clatsop” on one side and features my two favorite travelers on the reverse.  I gasp at the amulet still attached to its small display plastic backing.  I immediately stop my packing, despite the late hour, and dig into my tool box for the needle-nosed pliers to assist me in gently attaching this silver souvenir to my charm bracelet that features shiny reminders from Savannah, Georgia, Glacier Bay, Alaska, and Hershey, Pennsylvania among others.  I secure the triangular charm, and immediately place the bracelet in my suitcase so it will accompany me on my most current outing.  In my mind, I had not lost this treasure, as I had forgotten about it entirely, and discovering it anew, tucked away in my pink travel bag, reminds me of my journey to Oregon more than half a year ago and Captains Lewis and Clark’s voyage more than two hundred years ago.  I wonder if they were as excited to see the site of Fort Clatsop as I was to find it in my luggage.

%d bloggers like this: