Historians Confirm Lewis And Clark Set Out On Expedition To Justify Purchase Of Expensive Camping Equipment

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PRINCETON, NJ—Dispelling long-held notions that the trip was conducted to map newly acquired U.S. territory in the West, Princeton University historians confirmed Thursday that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out on their legendary expedition mainly to justify the purchase of a lot of expensive camping equipment. “While many assume they sought to establish a trade route to the Pacific Northwest, recently unearthed journal entries suggest Lewis and Clark had spent a small fortune at a St. Louis outfitter in 1803 and felt foolish not getting any use out of the fancy new gear,” said Professor Burt Trehorn, adding that the items purchased included a set of hand-carved mahogany trekking poles, fine calf-leather boots, and sterling silver canteens, all of which were sold at a premium and would have been extravagant purchases outside the budget of the famed duo. “Their journey had less to do with the Louisiana Purchase than it did with the fact that they wanted to rationalize their impulsive purchases of hardtack, tallow, and salt pork, which were sitting on a shelf and going to waste. You can imagine how, if you had just blown the equivalent of $80,000 in today’s money on a keelboat you didn’t need, you too might feel stupid not taking it out on the river.” Trehorn went on to add that in 1806, after returning from their trip to the Pacific Coast, the pair finally acknowledged they did not enjoy nature or the outdoors and sold all their equipment at a steep loss to local Native Americans.