"Why on earth would anyone want to paddle up the Missouri River?"
    That's the question I've been asked most since I began organizing
       this expedition.  The reasons I chose to follow, as closely as possible,
          the original route of Lewis and Clark are several.  First, as a historian, 
              I wanted to get a sense of the challenges the Corps of Discovery
                faced when they embarked on their historic expedition in May of
                1804.  Second, while many have retraced the route going 
                downstream, few have taken the upstream voyage.  My hope is to
                join those few, and perhaps gain my fifteen minutes of fame....  
               Third, I was intrigued by the personal challenge.  Did I, as a 
               50-year-old man, have the strength and stamina to complete such
               an expedition?  Call it one of those male mid-life crisis phenomena.

             The sources of my inspiration were Stephen Ambrose's biography
            of Lewis, "Undaunted Courage", and Ken Burns' documentary, which
           sought to recreate the original expedition.  Both of these works were
          historical in perspective.  My aim is to focus on comparative history :
          what are the historical and ecological changes that have taken place
           since 1804 - 1805, and how do we explain them?  Most of these 
            changes are obvious : the land has largely become farm and ranch
             land; towns, villages and cities have grown; and the river has been
              dammed and channeled.  Except in the more remote regions of
                Montana  and Idaho, I expect to see a vastly different country 
                from what Lewis and Clark encountered."

Richard Bennett
April 8th, 2000
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