First

Posted by Ken Campbell June 10, 2008 0 Comment 636 views

I have been rereading the account of the Press Party Expedition once again. Written by historian Robert Wood, it remains the most complete account of what some have snidely called the “ultimate boys campout.”

Wood doesn’t paint the expedition with quite the same sarcastic brush, but it is hard to argue the point. For all the grit and manly vim the expedition members had flowing through their veins, they didn’t really cover much territory. They took six months to go forty-nine miles. From the Elwha to the Quinault, they essentially staggered through the valleys; they climbed no mountains and their entire route could be hiked today in a long weekend. Granted, the trails are much better now – I realize that – but even with that, the expedition took a long time for something that wasn’t even a government job.

That’s the funny thing about being the “first” at something. That’s why we remember the names of the Press Party members. They weren’t the best, or the fastest, or the most efficient, and they really didn’t cover much territory. But it was new territory, untrammeled ground, and they were there first.

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