On the Trail of Sacagawea
Boyds Mills Press, 2001
ISBN 978-1563978401
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  On the Trail of Sacagawea
written by Peter Lourie

In 1804 Lewis and Clark and a small band of adventurers calling themselves the Corps of Discovery set off on a great journey into the unknown. They left the Mississippi to travel up the Missouri River and over the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. It would take Lewis and Clark more than two years and eight thousand miles of travel to complete the round-trip.

Near what is now Washburn, North Dakota, Lewis and Clark met a young Shoshone woman who would make an invaluable contribution to the expedition. Sacagawea was no more than sixteen years old when she joined the Corps of Discovery. She negotiated with native peoples, helped the expedition survive when food was scarce, and, ultimately, contributed to leading this small band of intruders through an Indian land to the “great waters,” the Pacific Ocean.

One summer, Peter Lourie and his family traveled in the footsteps of Sacagawea. Beginning at the confluence of the Missouri and Knife Rivers in North Dakota, the Louries followed Sacagawea's trail in order to see what she might have seen nearly two centruries ago and to learn what they could about Sacagawea from the native peoples who live along her trail today.

Behind the Book

Awards and Recognition

American Bookseller, "Pick of the Lists," Spring 2001 


“Acclaimed author/photographer Peter Lourie, known for his exceptional nonfiction books about regions in the world records his family's trip from the confluence of the Missouri and Knife Rivers to the Pacific Ocean—the same route Sacagawea and the Corps of Discovery took in 1804. With words and exceptionally clear and detailed photographs, his comparisons of the 20th Century land and cultures to those experienced 200 years ago by Sacagawea, as well as detailed historical information, will engage readers of all ages. Among other things, his wife, two children, and Peter slept in a teepee, crossed the Lemhi pass, panned for gold, and met with native peoples who live along the trail today. Mr. Lourie has written an important book, not only chronicling Sacagawea's invaluable contribution to the Lewis and Clark expedition, but also celebrating the love between a family learning and exploring together.” (New Favorites—Outstanding Books for Children, hipfish, March 2001)

“In this handsome book, archaeologist and researcher Lourie chronicles a trip he too with his family along the path of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, beginning where Sacagawea joined the explorers and hoping to compare what exists now with what Sacagawea might have seen. The family traveled through Native American land where historic sites remain untouched and the people practice traditional customs, fishing in the streams that the explorers fished in, swimming in the same hot springs, and eventually arriving at a reconstructed Fort Clatsop, where the river meets the ocean. Throughout, Lourie intersperses his family's adventures with the history of the Corps of Discovery in a comparison that conveys the rugged beauty and harsh terrain that the explorers must have experienced. The book is illustrated with the author's striking color photographs, as well as paintings and archival photos. An epilogue offers different theories of what became of Sacagawea.” (Booklist)

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