Lewis and Clark at Camp Fortunate
Few points along the route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition have the significance of this site, now beneath the waters of Clark Canyon Reservoir. Noted on their maps as "Fortunate Camp", the Lewis and Clark Expedition journeyed here hoping to obtain horses from Sacagawea's people, the Lemhi Shoshoni.
Following an Indian trail in advance of the main party, Captain Lewis first reached this site on August 10, 1805. Two days later, he crossed the Continental Divide west of here, and met the Lemhi Shoshoni. Although suspicious of the white men, they returned with Lewis to meet the rest of the party, arriving back here on August 17, 1805. At the meeting, Sacajawea was reunited with brother, Chief Camehwait, whom she had not seen for five years.
Through her, Lewis and Clark negotiated for horses and a guide - critical for the expedition's journey across the mountains to the Columbia River drainage. In exchange, the Shoshoni were promised that future trade would include guns and ammunition - critical for their defense against enemy tribes.
In July 1806, Clark and his party returned here to retrieve canoes and supplies they had cached the previous year in preparation for the return trip down the Missouri River to St. Louis.
"...it was mutually advantageous to them as well as to ourselves that they should render
us such aids as they had in their power to furnish in order to haisten our voyage and of course our return home. that such were their horses to transport our baggage without which we could not subsist and that a pilot to conduct us through the mountains was also necessary if we could not decend the river by water."
— Captain M. Lewis, August 17, 1805
Where is "Fortunate Camp"?
"immediately in the level plain between the forks and about 1/2 a mile distance from them stands a high rocky mountain, the base of which is surrounded by the level plain; it has a singular appearance."
— Captain M. Lewis, August 18, 1805
Today, this "singular mountain" forms the large island you see in front of you, marked on their map between the forks. The actual site of Camp Fortunate is now under water, half-way between this island and the dam. Loot at the map for its symbol δ just before the forks to the left.
"We now found our camp just below the junction of the forks on the Lard. side in a level smooth bottom covered with fine terf of green-swoard."
Captain M. Lewis, August 17, 1805