Sacajawea, like other members of the Corps of Discovery, had never seen the Pacific Ocean. Leaving the Columbia Gorge, the group mistakenly believed they had, at last, found the western coast of North America. But they were only at the upper estuary of the Columbia River.

They reached their goal in early January, 1806. On the 6th, Lewis recorded:

Charbono and his Indian woman were also of the party; the Indian woman was very impo[r]tunate to be permitted to go, and was therefore indulged; she observed that she had traveled a long way with us to see the great waters, and that now that monstrous fish [a whale had washed ashore on the beach] was also to be seen, she thought it very hard she could not be permitted to see either [she had never yet been to the Ocean.] (Journals, page 300.)

The next day, Sacajawea saw “the great waters” for the first time. She was likely standing at Tillamook Head, about 650 feet above the sea. Heartfelt (albeit misspelled) words in Clark’s Journal record the moment:

...from this point I beheld the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in my frount [front] a boundless Ocean; ... the Seas rageing with emence [immense] wave and brakeing [breaking] with great force from the rocks of Cape Disappointment as far as I coud See to the N.W. ... the nitches and points of high land which forms this Corse [Course] for a long ways aded to the inoumerable [innumerable] rocks of emence Sise [immense size] out at a great distance from the Shore and against which the Seas brak [break] with great force gives this Coast a most romantic appearance.

Then it was time to head back to St. Louis. Along the way, Native Americans - like the Nez Perce - were of great help to Lewis, Clark and their companions. (Later, however, the United States government repaid that assistance in a cataclysmic manner.)

When the expedition returned to the Mandan village, Sacajawea and her family remained at the place where they had joined the Corps in 1805. Her husband received money, and 320 acres of land, for his efforts. Sacajawea received nothing.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5186stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Feb 07, 2017

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"THE PACIFIC OCEAN!" AwesomeStories.com. Mar 01, 2001. Apr 24, 2019.
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